VELIB Bikes to explore Paris • VELIB Bikes – the name is a contraction of velo (cycle) and liberte (freedom).  A popular bicycle rental scheme in Paris that has transformed travel in the city, by the private company JCDecaux, the second largest outdoor advertising corporation in the world, and championed by Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe, part of an attempt to “green” the capital.

A great way to explore Paris at a very affordable price. Paris has a very functional metro network, but you miss most of the sights while underground. VELIB Bikes is the best option to explore Paris at its best. Plus you get to put off all that extra calories you’ve taken into your system while enjoying some of the best cheese, bread, chocolates and wine in the world. ( hey I am talking from experience ).

Ten thousand bicycles were introduced to the city with 750 automated rental stations each with fifteen or more bikes/spaces. This number has since grown to 20,000 bicycles and 1,639 stations, roughly one station every 300 metres throughout the city centre, making Vélib’ the largest system of its kind in the world.
Each VELIB service point/station is equipped with an automatic rental terminal and stands for dozens of bicycles. Maps showing the station locations are available at all kiosks. If a user arrives with a rented bicycle at a station without open spots, the terminal grants another fifteen minutes of free rental time. The rental terminals also display information about neighbouring VELIB stations, including location, number of available bicycles and open stands. A fleet of 23 bicycle-transporting vehicles are used 24/7 to redistribute bicycles between empty and full stations.

In order to use the system, users need to take out a subscription, which allows the subscriber an unlimited number of rentals. Subscriptions can be purchased at EURO 1 per day, EUROS 5 per week or EUROS 29 per year. With a subscription bike rental is free for the first half hour of every individual trip; an unlimited number of such free trips can be made per day. A trip that lasts longer than 30 minutes incurs a charge of EURO 1 to EURO 4 for each subsequent 30-minute period. The increasing price scale is intended to keep the bikes in circulation. TIP: so my recommendation if you want your expense to come to ZERO. Jump from one bike to the other every 25 minutes. There are VELIB Statioin all over the city of Paris.

Some stations located above 60m altitude are called V+. They give to any user returning a bike coming from a non-V+ station 15 free minutes of rental : if the rental lasted more than 30 minutes, 15 minutes will be deducted to calculate the amount the user has to pay, meaning a 45 minutes trip to a V+ station is free for example ; if the rental lasted 30 minutes or less, the 15 minutes are added to a bonus V+ account, and can be used for future rentals that would exceed 30 minutes.

A credit card or Maestro debit card with PIN is required to sign up for the programme and to rent the bikes. The credit/debit card will be charged EUROS 150 if a rented bike is not returned. The credit card is required to contain an EMV-chip in most cases[

It is also being copied overseas with London, San Francisco and Singapore all intending to set up similar schemes.