Bicycle Travel

Cycling is a terrific way to see the city—and work off the extra calories from all those rich pastries you've sampled. With an extensive system of dedicated bike lanes, cycling in Paris has never been easier. There are many bike-rental services and tours available, and Paris was a world leader in 2007 when the city launched Velib', a 24/7 self-service, bike-rental program. A new service provider began tearing up and replacing 1,200 docking stations across the city (and adding 200 more) in late 2017. After some bumps, Velib' Métropole got off the ground in 2018 with a new generation of bikes that are sleeker and lighter. And for those too tired to pedal, 30% of the new bikes have an electric option (they are aqua blue; regular bikes are light green) clocking a top speed of 25 kph (15 mph). Just as Parisians were getting used to the new system, a flood of Chinese-made "dockless" lightweight rental bikes began wreaking havoc. You order the bikes via an app on your phone and unlock them by scanning a barcode. The problem? With no dedicated parking spots, users were leaving the bikes with names like GoBee, Mobike, Obike, and Ofo literally everywhere. Many of them ended up in twisted heaps on already crowded sidewalks or at the bottom of the Seine. Extensive vandalism prompted GoBee to pull out of two other French cities in 2018, and the future for the renegade cycles in Paris seemed hardly secure. While you may occasionally see a Velib' with a deliberately punctured tire or a seat twisted off, city cyclists and visitors alike have embraced the service, copied in many cities worldwide, as a hassle-free alternative to public transportation. There are two ways to rent a Velib': sign up on the website or buy a ticket from a machine at each docking station (major credit cards accepted). First, select the amount of time you wish to rent (€5 per day, up to 3 rentals; €15 per week, unlimited rentals), then tap the code you're given on the bike's keypad to unlock it. The idea is to take short rides; the first 30 minutes are free, after that it costs €1 per 30 minutes for a regular bike, €2 for an electric bike. If you're staying in Paris for more than a week, check out the subscription options on the website.

Information

Vélib'. 01–76–49–12–34; www.velib-metropole.fr.

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