Perhaps hopping on a bicycle to enter Paris in the Tour de France is not probable, but it is possible to hop on a bicycle for an alternative way to travel in Paris. Angela Doland, in an Associated Press article, presents what you need to know about a new bicycle rental program in Paris. The interesting thing about this version of transportation is that you don’t rent a bike for a day to ride around, but rent a bike to get from one point to another. Let’s say you want to go to the Louvre, but after that you want to head to a restaurant too far away to cycle to. You just drop off the bike and hop on a Metro. You don’t ever have to go get that bike again.
The bicycles are at various bike stations so if, later, you want another bike, you can get one. The draw back I see is that these are only available for people 14 and older and at least 5 feet tall. This makes this not an option for a family with kids. Because the bikes are the touring type and the seats adjust, they can fit a multitude of body types. They also come with locks, however you need to bring your own helmet. In the photograph with the article I read, people aren’t wearing helmets, so perhaps they are not required. Another thing I noticed was how cheap it is to rent a bicycle. A day pass costs roughly $1.36 except I’m a bit confused if that’s correct. Doland mentions that if you are going to keep a bicycle for more than a day, it’s cheaper to rent from a by-the-day estabishment. Maybe I’m missing something. Check out www.velib.paris.fr. for a list of the various bike stations. The site’s not in English yet.
Other cities the article lists with similar cycling programs are:
- Barcelona, Spain
- Brussels, Belgium,
- Copenhagan, Denmark
- Stockholm, Sweden
- Vienna, Austria