Paris Travel Planner   Velib', Ofo, Lime Shared Bicycles, Paris
Paris began the shared-bike movement with Velib'. Now it has been joined by other shared-bike systems including Ofo and LimeBike. Both pedal-only and electric-assist bikes are available. Next up: shared electric scooters...


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The inexpensive shared-bicycles for public transport movement started in Paris with Velib', which offered nearly-free short rides in the city. The shared-bike movement is growing and elaborating fast, and now includes other bike systems, and even shared electric scooters.

Velib' Métropole

Velib' Métropole is Paris's new system of traditional pedal-powered and electric-assisted bikes introduced in 2018 to replace the earlier, pioneering, all-pedal-powered Velib' system.

The free or inexpensive Velib' (veh-LEEB) pedal bikes were a great success, and helped to relieve congestion on city streets and public transport. But being pedal-powered only, they were limited by hilly terrain and the physical requirements of biking. When adapted to electric-assist, the bikes' utility is greatly increased.

Pedal + Electric Bicycles

The system now includes both pedal-power-only and electric-assisted bikes.

The re-engineered 30%-electric-assisted Velib' Métropole bikes have a top speed of 25 kph (15.5 mph) and a range of 50 km (31 miles), making them practical for hilly routes and even longer distances.

The new system is being introduced not only in Paris, but also in 64 cities surrounding the capital.

Velib' Métropole is not a bicycle-rental system. Rather, it is a public-transport system meant to supplement other methods of public transport in Paris by making it easy for people to move around the city under their own power rather than by taking the Métro, city bus, taxi, or private car, or having to walk.

The goal is to keep as many bikes as possible available to as many people as possible, so they can use them for public transport, not for cruising or bicycle touring.

How to Use Them

After registering your personal and credit-card information on the Velib' website, via a Velib' smartphone app, or via the electronic kiosk at a bike station, you borrow a bicycle from any station and return it to any other station.

As an occasional user, you register and purchase a pass for 1 to 7 days. The 1-day pass, for example, costs 5, allowing:

Minutes Pedal Electric

0-30

0

1

30-60

1

2

60+

1/30min

2/30min

Thus, on a pedal-powered bike, your first ride of up to 30 minutes is free. For an electric-assisted bike, a ride of up to 30 minutes takes 1 of your 5credit. Thus, a 1-day pass allows you up to five 30-minute rides in a day, or even more pedal-only rides; or a mix of pedal-only and electric-assisted rides.

For full information, visit the Velib' Métropole website.

Ofo Bikes - the Alternative

Paris's Velib' started the shared-bike movement, but technology startups have taken the challenge. Ofo offers shared pick-up-here, leave-there bikes without a system of docking stations. Using a smartphone app similar to those used for ride-hailing systems (Uber, Lyft, etc.), you use the app to locate a bike, unlock it, ride to your destination, lock it again, then go your way. The system has bikes in Paris. More...

LimeBike

This US company offers shared bikes and electric scooters via smartphone apps. We've spotted some Lime scooters on the streets of Paris. Perhaps they will soon be common. More...

These convenient devices, already seen in private use in Paris, usually travel on sidewalks, not on roadways. The scooters, which can attain speeds of 24 kph (14.8 mph)—four times average walking speed—present special challenges on the city's very crowded sidewalks.

LimeBike electric scooters in Paris, France
LimeBike electric scooters in Paris...

CityScoot

For serious two-wheel electric-motorized travel, there's CityScoot, providing small electric motorcycles ("scooters") for short-term rental in Paris. These are not electric-assist bicycles, but real 50cc two-wheeled motor vehicles with a top speed of 45 km/h (28 mph) suitable for urban driving.

No driver's license is required if you were born before 1 January 1988.

Safety helmet and insurance are included in the rental rates. The scooters operate on the "free-floating" system: if you see one parked on the street, not in use, you can rent it on the spot using the smartphone app, and ride off. When you reach your destination within the "Blue Zone" of the company's operation (which includes all of Paris and some suburbs), just park it legally and walk away. More...


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Velib' Bikes, Paris, France

Velib' bikes await riders at a
Velib' station on a street in Paris.






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