Paris has a 24/7 self-service bike system called Velib’ that makes renting bikes cheap (practically free) and easy. Velib’ has over 26,000 bikes and 1,800 stations throughout all of Paris so there are bikes on about every block.
Furthermore, Paris has built a lot of bike lanes (many of which are separated from traffic) so it’s a fairly bike friendly city.
How Velib Works and Subscriptions
First, you need to purchase a subscription to use the service. The subscriptions options are €1.70 per day, €8/week, €29/year (Vélib’ Classique), or €39/year (Vélib’ Passion). Subscriptions can be purchased online or at the Velib station.
Getting a bike is easy. Simply find a station, follow the prompts on the screen (they’re in English), and it will release a bike for you to ride. Once you are finished riding all you need to do is return it to any station.
The great thing about Velib’ is that the first 30 minutes of every ride is free, and you can make unlimited free 30-minute rides. After 30 minutes you’ll be charged €1. The price per 30 minutes starts to go up substantially, so be sure to return the bike before your time is up.
You need a credit/debit card that has a Chip to use the Velib’ bikes.
Check your bike before you ride it. It’s common for bikes to have flat tires or other mechanical issues.
Download the Velib app to see the location of all the stations (they’re everywhere so this probably isn’t much of an issue).
Be careful in traffic. Paris is bike friendly but the drivers can still be crazy.
Velib is designed for short rides of under 30 minutes. You can make longer rides but it ends up getting a little expensive.
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