Paris, France, may be known as the La Ville-lumière, but it has also become a city of bikes.
Paris has sprinkled self-service bicycle rental stations around town like Marseille sea salt on a chocolate truffle. Steven Erlanger writes, in the 07-13-08 NYT story A New Fashion Catches On in Paris: Cheap Bicycle Rentals, that Parisians love the ugly-beautiful, cheap and practical way of the Vélib’.
"In the first year, the city says, there have been 27.5 million trips in this city of roughly 2.1 million people, many of them for daily commutes. On average, there are 120,000 trips a day.
The Vélib’ — a contraction of vélo for bike and liberté — can also be rented for a day or for a week, with a 150 euro (about $239) deposit taken from the user’s credit card if the bike is not returned. Usage fees over 30 minutes can rise steeply: two hours costs 7 euros (about $11). But 96 percent of all rides are less than 30 minutes, because bikes can be returned to any station. "
So, raising the question, can it be done here?
Photo: Ed Alcock for The New York Times 07-13-08