Bike Sharing in France – Tours, Angers, Paris

I was in the Loire region of France last week for a holiday. Unusually for me, a “proper” holiday – no international orienteering racing or mountaineering. Instead, a chance to be a real tourist, visit les châteaux and try a bit of the local grape-based drinks.

…but France is rather advanced when it comes to bike sharing systems and I came across three of them:

Tours – Velociti

A traditional free-floating scheme rather than a dock-based one – members take one of the bright yellow bikes (below) and then lock it up whereever, when they are finished. I didn’t see anyone using them, but did spot them locked up in a few places, including one outside the train station and a few in a quiet square in the town.

Angers – Velocite+

Angers has apparently had a free-floating one for a long while, called Velocite – I didn’t spot any of these. But I did spot this seemingly brand new extension – Velocite+. There is only one (very large) docking station, right outside the train station. The docking station had Every dock was taken with a bike – presumably if there is only one docking station in a scheme, this is not a problem. The fee (effectively three euros for up to five hours) means people could feasibly hire one out at lunchtime and use it several times in an afternoon, before returning it back to the single docking station, rather than make short station-to-station hops. No sign of it being used yet.

Angers has also just launched its rather innovative tram – in the historic central section it uses radio-activated sections of electric third-rail, rather than unsightly overhead wires and gantries.

Paris – Velib

On the way back home, I had a day in Paris, and what better way around than by Velib? After spending much of the day around the canal area in the north-east and Sacre-Coeur, I headed into the centre (during the evening rush hour), then around to the Louvre, Notre Dame, and back up to Gare du Nord.

I managed eight journeys in all, and even got the bonus 15-minute credit for having dropped off a bike on the hill near Sacre-Coeur.

You can see the pics from my trip in this Flickr gallery or here: