Thursday, 4 October 2007

Bargain bikes

Paris, and several other large cities have started to provide bicycles for getting from place to place, pick them up at one point and leave them at another. They are called Velib (vélo libre I assume). There is a deposit of 150 euros, the first 30 minutes are free and thereafter something in the order of 4 euros a half hour depending on the way you pay.

In London and now other areas in the UK OYBikes (On Yer Bike?) run a similar scheme. Again the first 30 minutes are free but the deposit is only £10. The bikes don't have quite the same style though, do they?

In Barcelona they have Bicing, with pricing similar to Vélib though without the free 30 minutes(this is testing my linguistic skills - I'm depending on very ancient Latin!). However I can tell from the pictures that the bikes lie somewhere between France and the UK in style.

It'll be interesting to see how they all fare. Personally I fear they are taking passengers from buses rather than drivers from cars, especially as both the French and UK people appear to be targeting universities.

I somehow can't see myself on one of those bright yellow and green efforts. I think the old fashioned Dutch sit-up-and-beg types would suit me more. They can get up a fair speed you know. I loved the way they swoop around the place.


  1. The first 30 min are covered by your initial annual fee of 30 euros. Then you pay 0.30 euros for each additional 30 minutes and you can use the bike up to a total of 2 hours. There are penalties if you don't comply.
    The site isn't available in English because the system has been very successful and they want to have the "locals" using it. I live in Barcelona but I catch the train to go to the city and then I do what I like best: walking! so I don't miss any sales :)

  2. Ah! Thanks mar, for your translation:)

  3. In Copenhagen you only have to pay an approx £2 deposit to ride all over the city. It's a fantastic scheme which is used by tourists and locals alike!

  4. Thank you for that Copenhagen link. From that I've discovered they have them in Helsinki too!


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