Bikes in the City of Lights

Paris launched Velib, a bike share service, over the weekend. Velib is a combination of velo and liberty and for Parisians is another public transport option. Check our posts on Bike Share, Velib in the news, on Flickr, and blogs.

“This is about revolutionizing urban culture”


NYTimes also reported on the story.

… and that makes Seattle’s Master Plan even more depressing. Photo credit malias.


oh, yeah, these things are all over the city when I was there last week! Every time I saw one I got really excited. At that point none of the racks had bikes yet, but the company is obviously serious about it. Electronic/sensor stalls for 15-30 bikes depending on location.

No cheapie/temp installs of the “kiosk” for the french, either—the whole setup is inlaid with cobbles and contrasting stonework. Just what you’d expect, nice craftsmanship by very deliberate, Gaulious-smoking, blue-jump-suited workers.

They had them in and functioning in Brussels, but weren’t getting much use. Of course, the EU wasn’t in session, so maybe the diplomats were taking a break.

That’s excellent and well timed to have you there! Did you get a good look at the bikes? Who makes them, internal gears, nice baskets?

The bikes weren’t at the racks in Paris yet—just the cool, blue-LED-lit, cobbled “stations.” In Brussels, well, I was drinking a tad too much Belgian beer to get all the details, but yes, internally geared, drum brakes, beefy baskets; One-size-fits-most, step-through frames, generator lights, and moderate sized baskets and front racks.

I think they build the bikes themselves (have them made .. I read somewhere that they went through a number of iterations and have settled on a low-maintenance, vandal resistant frame, but I can’t find the article.

One thing I wonder about: In Europe, riders are used to riding beefy city bikes. Dudes don’t seem to care they are riding a “girls” bike (step-through frame).

They are able to separate transportation from racing. I’m not sure if casual users here would feel the same way about riding a beefy, funny-looking city bike.

In Brussels the bikes have the have the branding VeloCity (name of the program) on them, and Velib’ in Paris (I think).

Cool stuff.

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