On July 15, the day after Bastille Day, Parisians will wake up to discover thousands of low-cost rental bikes at hundreds of high-tech bicycle stations scattered throughout the city
By the end of the year, organizers and city officials say, there should be 20,600 bikes at 1,450 stations -- or about one station every 250 yards across the entire city.
A recent study analyzed different trips in the city "with a car, bike, taxi and walking, and the bikes were always the fastest."
The Lyon rental bikes, with their distinctive silver frame, red rear-wheel guard, handlebar basket and bell, can also be among the cheapest ways to travel, because the first half-hour is free, and most trips are shorter than that.
For most people the bikes are free - that's gotta help with Metro peak load (If Metro starts placing info signs outside stations and a big delay comes up, can you imagine how quickly will all of the bikes along that line be gone?)
95 percent of the roughly 20,000 daily bike rentals in Lyon are free because of their length.
Membership fees in Paris will be steeper than in Lyon, from $1.30 for one day to about $38 for a year.
I can blow $38 a year on tubes. The program in Lyon has been a big success..
Based on statistics from Lyon, company officials estimate that each bicycle in Paris will be used on average 12 times a day, for a total of about 250,000 trips a day, or 91 million trips a year.
In Lyon, according to deputy mayor Touraine, the city's 3,000 rental bikes have logged about 10 million miles since the program started in May 2005
I always wondered about what to do when you're done with the bike. With zipcar, you have to return it to the same spot, but with the bikes any rack will do. Which can create problems.
The main complaint voiced by riders is that at certain times in certain places -- such as mornings at local universities -- all the racks can be occupied, making it impossible to return a bike.
The scientist in me wonders if bikes congregate at the bottom of hills. What, I wonder, is the average elevation where bikes are checked out and checked in and are they different?