With pollution, global warming and other environmental issues
being at the forefront of most topics raised in virtually every developed country, many
cities are striving to come up with other options of transport to ease congestion and make
the people more environmentally aware.
The City of Paris is no exception, but in order to
improve this they have come up with a bicycle scheme called the Vélib' Self-Service
Bicycle Scheme, and thousands of people are now using this service every day, which is
also a great way for tourists to see the famous monuments.
This two-wheeled revolution was only started in 2007 with its aim of reducing all the
problems highlighted, plus get the population fitter as a result and this scheme has
become a resounding success.
The Vélib' self service cycles can be rented for as long as you need them, whether it is
for a quick ride from one arrondissement of Paris to the next, or if you want to rent one
for five days you have the choice and the bicycles can be picked up and dropped off as you
need at any of the hundreds of Vélib' stations across the capital.
You do have to be over the age of fourteen in order to take advantage of this service and
you would also need to set up an account. You can fill out the forms at post
offices, metro stations, and any places such as the tobac that have the Vélib' logo or
you can register at their website and once this is set up you have access to these cycles
24 hours a day, seven days a week.
If you are going to be spending a long time in Paris then you can choose an annual
subscription and once approved, your Vélib' Card will be sent to you within around
fifteen days and for a Long Term Subscriber the cost for journey will be debited from your
A Short Term subscription is also available for one day or seven days. This is able
to be purchased via the website or from any of the Vélib' Service Points and the costs
will be charged to your bank account together with your short-term subscription fee of
only around five Euros.
However, you may be pleased to know that the first 30 minutes of every journey are
completely free of charge. There are thousands of bikes that can be picked up and
dropped off at any station and you are never more than 300 metres from the next Vélib'
point and after the first half hour, the rates start at just one Euro.
There are service points with maintenance and repair stations to ensure that all the
cycles are in perfect working order and they are suitable for both men and women.
For maximum safety there is a rapid gear change system, which ensures that the bikes can
never come out of gear and the breaks are integrated into the wheels hubs. The
minute you start using your cycle, the lights will automatically come on and the back
light stays on for an additional two minutes even after you have stopped. Obviously
the saddle can be adjusted in height to suit the individual, there are reflective strips
on the wheels and there is a front basket on each bike as well.
An innovative idea that is run by the company JCDecaux, this scheme has taken Paris by
storm and what a great way to explore Paris and keep fit at the same time, especially when
you consider that the city now has well over 370km of cycling lanes.