Easy Velib Bike Rentals in Paris
In July 2007, Paris began a public bike rental program ("Velib") that makes cruiser bikes available to anyone wanting to ride. More than 20,000 bikes and 1,450 self-service stations are spread across the city. Rental is easy and if you get your bike back into another rack (or the same) within the first 30 minutes, there's no charge!
To start, users must first take out a subscription, which provides an unlimited number of rentals. You may purchase a day, week, or year, subscription for 1, 5, or 29 Euros, respectively. Use your credit card for the subscription and subsequent billing, if any. After the first 30 minutes, costs are as follows: 1 hour - 1 Euro 90 minutes - 3 Euro 2 hours - 7 Euro 5 hours - 31 Euro 10 hours - 71 Euro 20 hours - 151 Euro
You can see how the price jumps significantly as more hours pass--this is to encourage short term commutes and the return of the bikes. These aren't Tour de France quality bikes, but still they're a great way to see The City of Lights while simultaneously getting some heart pumping exercise.
Note: Helmets are not required, but watch out for opening car doors, pedestrians stepping off curbs, and of course auto traffic--having so many cyclists in downtown Paris is a new phenomenon for the locals and they're still not used to watching out for those on two wheels!! Would be great to see major U.S. cities develop a similar program -- especially during the gasoline crisis.