Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Velib, Je t'aime

The world looks so much better when riding a bicycle.

Today I finally hopped on one of the Velib Bicycles that are everywhere in Paris and I am as happy as a freshly baked pain au chocolat. I don't know what took me so long. I eyed them (the bikes) endlessly and kept thinking of an excursion for which the bike would be perfect to use, and at long last today was the day.

I missed my regular bike adventures in Manhattan which provided an excellent source of stress relief, yelling at clueless pedestrians and sending certain hand gestures to taxi drivers who take pleasure in nearly running over cyclists. But here in Paris, I will try to maintain my decorum and from what I can see the drivers here are slightly more relaxed then in NYC.

The introduction of these magical bikes is really the best policy that the government of Paris has put through in ages and all mayors around the world should get over here to learn more. (in fact I did see that Chicago Mayor, Richard Daley has already done so). Late summer fleets of bikes were stationed in strategic locations around the city, with the simple idea that you can take the bike and return at any other location around Paris for a small fee. You can buy a year pass online which gives you quick access to a bike with a card or you can buy a pass directly, onsite, from the machine, which has instructions in French, English and Spanish (how progressive is that), for one week or one day. 1 Euro per day. The bike comes equipped with a lock, basket, and a bell. Hello. I am in heaven.

1 comment:

Jordi said...

In Barcelona we love our Bicing!

and we miss Pilar!

Thanks for the interesting post as we see this idea catching on around Europe!