On your bicyclette – City Bike Hire in France

Velomagg logoVelomagg in Montepellier (34 Herault, Languedoc-Roussillon) is another of the growing number of city bike hire schemes which have blossomed throughout France – and which potentially offer a different way of visiting many of France’s cities. It has also given employment to those creative people who dream up catchy logos and names for such schemes!

It all started in Paris with the Velib’ Scheme – an amalgam of Velo (cycle) and Liberte (free), which has been a tremendous success.

Vélib’ is a Self Service “bike hire” system available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Multi pick up and drop off location allows you to pick up your bike from one service point and drop off to another.

Velib Cycle Scheme in ParisYou need to subscribe, but for visitors there are 1-day and 7-day subscriptions and after the first 30 minutes you pay by the half-hour – e.g. a 90-minute hire will cost just €3 and you can pick up and drop off your bike at any of the hundreds of self-service stations across the city.VeloVelib'

The Velib’ scheme has been based on a similar scheme VeloV in Lyon (69 Rhone, Rhone-Alpes) France’s second city. The combination of these eco-friendly and fitness focussed schemes is now spreading throughout France:-
VeloCite in Mulhouse (68 Haut-Rhin, Alsace) and Besancon (25 Doubs, Franche-Comté)
Vhello in Aix-en-Provence (13 Bouches-du-Rhone, Provence)
Le Velo in Marseille (13 Bouches-du-Rhone, Provence)
Velo in Toulouse (34 Haut Garonne, Midi-Pyrenees)
Nantes (44 Loire-Atlantique, Val de Loire)
Rouen (76 Seine Maritime, Normandy)
Bordeaux (33 Gironde, Aquitaine)
Velostan in Nancy (54 Meurthe et Moselle, Lorraine)
in Orleans (45 Loiret, Centre)
Velomagg in Montpellier (34 Herault, Languedoc-Roussillon)

This is clearly a popular scheme, mainly aimed at local residents but may also offer a different way of seeing some of France’s major cities from a different perspective. However, I would recommend choosing a city with good cycle lanes and paths – you do get the impression that traffic in many of France’s cities is not very forgiving with errant cyclists – so do not try cycling around the rond-point of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris!!

Inevitably there are some urban myths developing – such as the fact that there are always plenty of bikes at the bottom of the Butte de Montmartre, but none at the top – for obvious reasons. And you can get caught out in busy locations if you cannot find an empty slot in which to return your bike!

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