Even Americans Can Ride Velib Bikes
Remember that insanely popular Paris bike rental program, Velib? When it debuted, everyone Stateside was excited about touring the town on bike--until rumors surfaced that you'd need a special credit card to rent them.
Fear no more: American cards can get the job done, says Eric Rayman in the New York Times:
The kiosks now accept American Express cards issued in the United States as well as international JCB cards, even if the cards do not contain chips.
You'll still have to charge a 150 deposit if you rent a Velib, and you'll need a subscription, which costs 1 for a day and 5 for seven days. But that's a small price to pay for the convenience of picking up and dropping off bikes as you need them.
For more on-the-ground advice, Flickr member austinevan has tons of info, including photos and a walk-through of the rental process. Follow his tips, and you'll be pedaling Paris in no time.