Sunday, December 16, 2007

Paris' Velib is chic, trendy, hip

Image of bicyclists on Velib bikesFrom PopMatters, 12.14.07:

Move Over, iPhone, the French iBike is the New Black
There’s no doubting Paris’ credentials as one of the world’s capitals of culture and style. From handbags to glad rags, from nouvelle cuisine to Nouvelle Vague, the French touch brings a sense of panache to our daily lives--when the City of Light sneezes, the world catches a Gallic shrug.

This year, as if to mark its 218th anniversary, the city of Paris launched its most audacious campaign to date. As Parisians awoke on the morning of 15th July with their retinas still questioning the worth of the previous night’s fireworks, they folded back their volets to discover a brand new dawn.

Thousands of bicycles now populated the city, offering themselves to the inhabitants like willing beasts of burden, only with a handy basket welded to the front. And so Vélib', the public bicycle hire scheme, came to Paris.

The launch of Vélib’, coupled with the proliferation of bicycle lanes, has definitely changed the face of Paris. It is difficult to say if there are fewer cars on the road, but as any motorist will tell you, there are definitely more amateur cyclists. (Read more.)
Has the debut of any bicycle improvement anywhere ever attracted as much attention as Velib' (short for vélo en libre-service or self-service bike)? From the BBC to NPR, from the Christian Science Monitor to CounterPunch, it seems no journalist can visit Paris without remarking on the city's inspiring introduction of bike sharing. The popularity of Velib' surged during Paris' recent transit strike, which challenged city residents to embrace pedaling among other mobility alternatives.

Image: Web capture.
Visit: A bicycle built for Paris sightseeing, Newsday
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips

5 comments:

ma0808 said...

My own feeling of Velib :
- Sure , most people utterly approve the notion
- Most sure , Velib really increased the use of bikes : non-velib bikes are now much more numerous.
- The Velibs are used by a lot of very different people ; saying Velib is only chic and trendy is quite an overstatement
- If you hold an annual card (only 29 € ~ 40$ ) you collect your bike directly from the stand : very very simple.
- But cabs and buses are very upset to see the number of people using bikes and the Mayor will have to do something to soften the relationship (taxis buses and bikes share the same lanes)
- But Velib stations remove parking bays in an useless and stupid way
- But we are tired , some evening , desesperately looking for free spots where to GET RID of our Velib ;The "Full Stations Syndrom" intensifies the users' complaints about the lot of persistent bugs of the system.

BUT NOWADAYS the big problem comes from vandalism ; I , personnaly , thinks it's pure "sabotage"

There is no official forum ...so try some unofficial ones for example forum-velib

Jett said...

The Atlanta Bicycle Campaign is looking at Velib and is considering what it can do along the same lines.

It's interesting to hear these experiences. I hope Atlanta can learn from this.

mark said...

Electric Bicycles and Electric Scooters

Elmo The Electric Bike and Electric Scooter Guy

This is an excellent blog for electric bicycles. There are not too many around like this. Thanks for making this such an interesting subject. Oh, by the way, Wired Magazine has a great article on hybrid cars this month. (Jan 2008 issue).

God Bless,
Elmo

Anonymous said...

Too early to decide on whether or not these services will be successful. Nice to see smiling faces on bikes and no helmets.

Is the "no helmet" option OK in using a Velib-type service? Card restrictions-requirements?

What are your thoughts on this controversial issue?

Thanks,
Jack

Sarah said...

They do the same thing in Barcelona. I was there last summer and got to witness the genius that is bike sharing. They have stations all over the city and you simply unlock the bike from the magnet that holds it to the rack by entering in your account information at a little box. I wanted to be able to use it as a tourist, but I think you have to have an account (which clearly I did not). I found this article on the program:

http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/01/the_th_intervie_28.php

Enjoy and thanks for the great blog!