Self service rental bikes

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This is cool beyond words:

Paris Rental Bike Scheme Goes Global
A growing number of cities are setting up self-service rental bike schemes. A French advertising company has hit upon the most simple scheme, one that has won over thousands of Parisians and is now being exported across the world.

Parisians have taken the “Velib”” bicycles to their hearts.
Chicago is interested, and so is Moscow. Geneva and Sydney are in negotiations, and the mayor of London has called by twice. All eyes are on Paris. But what is the big attraction? It’s a brand new model of bicycle, one that can be seen teeming through the streets by the thousands, all the same chic silver-gray, with a dolphin-like design. And they are all rented.

Paris has suddenly become the world capital of bike rentals. Nowhere else in the world has quite so many rental bikes standing at the ready: there will soon be over 20,000. And the fleet is really being put to use: commuters pedal from the Metro to the office, managers pop out in their lunch breaks to pick up groceries, tourists zigzag in every direction. More than six million rides have been clocked up in just three months — there is hardly a faster way to get through the legendary tangle of the French capital.

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Could it hit here in the states? I sure hope so.

I’d rather pedal than walk. Full stop.

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About big jonny

The man, the legend. The guy who started it all back in the Year of Our Lord Beer, 2000, with a couple of pages worth of idiotic ranting hardcoded on some random porn site that would host anything you uploaded, a book called HTML for Dummies (which was completely appropriate), a bad attitude (which hasn’t much changed), and a Dell desktop running Win95 with 64 mgs of ram and a six gig hard drive. Those were the days. Then he went to law school. Go figure. Flagstaff, Arizona, USA

11 Replies to “Self service rental bikes”

  1. In northern CO, we are calling it a “bike library”.

    We’ll see how it goes over. Americans and Europeans have a different view of ‘borrowing’. On this side of the pond we tend to part out and sell the item borrowed. Unless we paint them an obnoxious shade of yellow, like ?Portland?. Is that right?

  2. Tucson tried the “yellow” bike program. As I recall, they were all pretty much destroyed within a couple of weeks. A big part of that was that there was no public education about the program’s purpose. Pretty sad.

  3. My take on this in the good ol’ USA.

    It would be like that scene from Die Hard what-ever.

    “It’s like Christmas, you could steal city hall.”

    90% of the bikes would disappear in 10 minutes.

    Go Giants. :)

  4. a bike-servicing boat belonging to JCDecaux chugs up and down the River Seine, collecting bicycles in need of maintenance.

    Gotta be the best shop job ever…

  5. Yup. Going strong here in Germany. Some crazy ass-digital lock on it as well. You call in, give them your info, they remotely unlock it, and you’re off.

    See them all over and no one dares to steal them since they are big, clunky and would obviously be recognized.

  6. Yeah…can’t see that working here in Chicago, although Mayor Daley IS a big-time cycling advocate (Bike the Drive…annual event where they close Lake Shore Drive for a morning and people get to ride the whole length of it unmolested…non-cyclists HATE it). It’d be damn cool for sure, but I’m relatively certain all those bike would be gone in a matter of seconds.

  7. I used the Paris system in July about a week after it was introduced. That was, bar none, the best time I’d had in Paris and I saw parts of the city I just never would’ve ventured into otherwise. I’m looking forward to going back again, as I’m there several times a year. If they can keep the bikes clean and functional, it’s a program that should be replicated around the world.

  8. This isn’t anything like the “yellow bikes” programs that have failed just about everywhere. These machines can be tracked by GPS, and are not technically free. just a very small fee to unlock them with a credit card, so that your info is recorded. I’m still hesitant to think they’ll work in the US, but at least they won’t fail for the reasons the yellow bike programs failed.