It looks like Velib, the new bike rental service which started this past Sunday(July 15) is getting good feedback from both tourists and Parisians alike, according to news reports in Le Parisien (July 16) and also in the New York Times (July 16) (Katrin Bennhold A New French Revolution’s Creed: Let Them Ride Bikes)
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One of the French customers mentioned she had some difficulties when she entered her card code which came up as an error – but she was able to work through the initial snags. Another bike renter said that he thought the brakes were good while one person was concerned about the safety issues of riding in Paris traffic.
One renter mentioned a thought that had also crossed my mind. For night owls, the Velib might be a good supplement to Paris’s Noctilien bus routes – if you don’t feel like waiting for the night bus, you can just hop on a bike to get back to your side of the Seine.
Parisians appear to happy with the idea of being able to rent a bicycle rather than buy one – there’s always the risk of having your own bike stolen – and then there’s the storage issue. As one Parisian said, he can split up his trip to work between the Metro and renting a bike – which is especially nice when the weather’s good. Will the Velib system hold the same appeal when winter comes ’round? From what I’ve seen of hardy motorcyclists, a little rain never seemed to scare anyone in this town.