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Experience Paris at your leisure by bike with Vélib' !
The bike sharing system of Paris, also known as Vélib', is all over the city, and is best way to discover the Paris of Parisian. The number of peddling Parisians has almost doubled in the last 6 months. Launched on July 14, 2007 with 10,000 bikes and 750 stations, the velib business has grown a great deal, having 20,000 bikes and 1,400 stations by 2008.
So this is how it works.Step 1 : Subscribe
Step 2 : Choose your Vélib'
Step 3 : Borrow a Vélib'
The first 30 minutes of each trip are free of charge. Beyond the first 30 minutes, you have to pay for the service : 1€ for the first additional 30 min., 2€ for the second additional 30 min, 4€ per half hour after the third additional 30 min.
Step 4 : Return a Vélib'
The bikes are in lockers, with numbers on top. Before typing the number, choose your bike carefully, as some of them are sometimes broken. Every time you take a bike, it is for free for 30 minutes, and then you can take another bike for another 30 minutes and so on. So you basically have to keep changing your bike if you plan to use it for a long time. Be careful! If you have one and the same bike for more than 30 minutes without locking it into a station, you will be charged extra, which will end up being expensive. This is one quick, cheap, easy, and a good way to meet people too!
Stop to look out for a free slot after every 20 or 25 minutes, and not at the last minute as often, the slots are normally full by this time which will mean you look for another slot. This is not difficult though, as there is usually always one nearby (about every 4 blocks), but you don’t want any surprises! The idea is to use velib for short trips. So after 30 minutes, you get to a station, lock your bike, and you are done!
Police are always on the road, reminding the bikers to be careful and to stay safe. Unfortunately, every good thing has a downside to it, and for Velib, this includes you getting a flat tyre, and not finding a nearby station quick. This in turn means you might be stuck for long in one place, and you end up paying more for the bike as you did not return it on time. Some bikes have also ended up stolen as a result of not being locked properly.
Finally, as a cyclist, you have to take into account all the other users. To make it easier to have both cars and the bikes, the roads in Paris are made to be slightly irregular on specific streets, so that the cars slow down to the pace of a person, and of course there are signs everywhere! As a result, buses, bicycles and taxis have had to learn how to work together, as they have to share the roads. The buses even have bicycle bells to alert cyclists! Simply fun and interesting!
Visit Paris with Vélib'.
Vélib' got a blog with to live like parisian using the top tips for days out, places to visit and hidden gems : http://blog.velib.paris.fr/en/
You can shop online the "Paris by bike with Vélib'" book with 7 cycle paths accross Paris, 200 places to visit and 300 good adresses.