After taking the London city bikes for a spin, I had to give the famous Velib that kicked off the recent city bike expansion a try, in Paris.
I’d heard the terminals only take chip-and-pin credit cards, so I pre-purchased a 1-day Velib membership online (for about $2.50) before my trip. I was pleasantly surprised how well it worked— I entered the numbers from that receipt and my PIN into a terminal, and I was able to quickly/easily check out a Velib for 30 minutes from anywhere in the city.
Paris was a mix of rough cobbles, busy traffic, narrow streets… and also impressively good bike infrastructure along certain streets (separated bike paths, bike boxes, and clear markings for how bikes should cut across complex multi-way intersections, often with bike-specific traffic signals that guided bikes across on a green while cars had reds in both directions for a short period of time).
Unrelated but obligatory photo of a macaroon:
hmm in the second-to-last picture.. two different bike symbols in one crossing? wonder what’s the deal with that. maybe some activists were like, it’s not just a bike, it’s a person riding a bike! and demanded new stencils.
btw that looks like such a tasty macaroon.