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Bike Sharing / Biking / Velib / Paris Travel / Bicycling / Active Travel / → All Tags
Here in the US, the bike sharing thing is still catching on, as even spots like New York City are getting used to pedal power. However, Paris is pretty much and expert, as their bike share system—Vélib'—has been doing its thing since around 2007. Unfortunately bike sharing may have caught on too well, as the Paris system is going through a rough patch.
It’s not just bicycle theft that’s a problem, as vandalism is also to blame for the city’s dwindling pedal population. According to Le Monde there were around 9,000 bikes damaged, stolen, or uh—misplaced—just last year alone. They’re expensive to repair and replace as well, as new bikes cost around €650 per vehicle. All in all the city thinks it spent like €1 million just last year to keep things rolling.
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Brand new CitiBikes at NYC's Pier 11
Bike Sharing is not all bikini-wearing girls and hot, muscled guys pedaling along as Miami would have us believe, but it is a very attractive, eco-friendly addition to the urban infrastructure, and cities across North America are either already installing solar-powered bike rental kiosks or studying those that have.
Paris' popular Velib and London's BarclayBike are the best known programs, but would you have guessed that Minneapolis is challenging New York's claim to the largest system in the US, and that Mexico City is on track to have 6,000 bikes scattered around their neighborhoods? It's not just Europe having all the two-wheeled fun. Check out our guide to North America's cities that bike share:
Bike Sharing / Safety / Travel Safety / Boston Travel / Bicycling / Green Travel / Bike Travel / → All Tags
With the appearance of bike sharing programs all over the place there’s also the need for bike safety re-education, and the city of Boston is getting ready to go all in. The police aren’t giving tickets to riders just yet for not wearing helmets, but there is quite the push to ensure that your head stays safe.
Residents and locals alike have made the city’s Hubway bike share system a hit, but now the increase in riders has resulted in a need for increased safety. Signups for Hubway encourage riders to buy a helmet, to always wear the helmet, and there are even safety classes from which to choose. The city has also started to blanket the bike lanes with signs reminding everyone what can happened to those who choose not to wear a helmet, and the results—which are not too pretty. Some of the signs show some pretty nasty injuries, and many have the tagline “And you think a helmet is uncomfortable?”
The best way to get around Venice is by foot, but of course there are plenty of gondoliers that will tell you differently as you make your way around the city. Despite the lack of cars and roads—and the abundance of canals and waterways—there’s another way to cruise around town. Over on the Lido bicycles are everywhere, but don’t be sad if you forgot to bring yours too, because bike sharing is alive and well in Venice.
We took the vaporetto over to Venice’s longest island, and immediately stumbled onto the city’s "Bike Sharing Venezia" program after getting off the waterbus. Unfortunately we weren’t just able to swipe our credit card and pedal away, but this time it was due to some poor planning and not the lack of a chip-and-pin credit card.
Venice’s bike sharing program works much like other bike sharing systems around the globe. Swipe your access card, pick out your bike, pedal around, and then return it before too much time passes. You’re encouraged to use the bikes to get to the next stop, as it’s cheaper to do it that way and it keeps the bikes available for others looking to do the same.
It's finally happening, you guys. New York City is getting up off its butt and getting on the bike sharing bandwagon. What's that saying? "Better late than never." Yes, that saying. It very much applies in this case, as New York is way behind a slew of world cities who have had their bike sharing programs up for several years already.
The announcement of the NYC program and debut of the bikes came today, presided over by Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Thanks to a $41 million dollar cash infusion from CitiBank, the program won't rely on tax dollars, but will be named "Citi Bike." London's "Barclays Cycle Hire" is the same idea, except that's been around for nearly two years.
So enough about how late to the party the Big Apple is. Let's get down to the nitty-gritty details of using Citi Bike:
This week, a couple penguins took a few steps down the First Class aisle onboard a Delta flight and the footage went viral. Meanwhile, The Discovery Channel has installed a live Penguin Cam in the enclosure at the San Diego Zoo, keeping 24-hour watch over the waddling residents in celebration of the March 19 premiere of the new show "Frozen Planet."
The first time we tuned in to the cam, there were another 2,682 people also online, staring in at the 300 penguins (of 5 species) at the zoo. That's crazy, but it attests to the continued popularity of the tuxedo-d cutiepies. Oh, and the camera goes beyond just passively staring at the birds; there's underwater viewing and Q&A sessions:
You are watching Penguin Cam: live video of the "Penguin Encounter" at SeaWorld® San Diego. Stay tuned for penguin feedings throughout the day, and don't miss our live Q&A sessions every Monday from noon to 12:30 p.m. ET starting Monday, March 19.
It's Friday. Zone out here.
Bicycling / Biking / Hertz / Bike Sharing / Green Travel / Spain Travel / → All Tags
This seems crazy, but leave it to Hertz to figure out more ways to rent things that move to travelers when they just don't need cars. We're talking about electric bicycles, which have now entered Hertz's rental fleets in London andthe newestall over Spain, including Granada, Almería, Alicante, Valencia, Pontevedra, Álava and Barcelona. Even the islands of Mallorca and Formentera haven't been left out; Hertz has brought their nine different types of Swiss Flyer electric bikes off the mainland.
We'd probably most likely use these on an island; it's already on our to-do list now for Palma.
London's bright blue Barclay's bikes
As with anything involving NYC, there's good news and bad news. The good news is that the city has chosen Alta to run the program, a company that already successfully operates the bike sharing in Washington DC, Montreal, Melbourne and Boston. Further awesome news is that the bike share will be massive, with 10,000 bikes at 600 stations ranging from the Upper West Side to the gentrifying parts of Brooklyn.
Now, for the bad news: we've got to wait until summer 2012 to enjoy the first cycles, and there'll be a $100 annual membership fee involved. As with other bike sharing, you've also got to pay for the time you use with the exception of a free first half hour.
Now for the important question: what color will the bikes be? Hm hm hm?!
The preferred mode of transportation in Miami Beach is a Bentley. But if you don't want to risk getting yours rained onand don't mind getting caught in a rain shower yourselfDecoBike is the best way to zoom up and down the beach.
Sure, there's walking (narrow sidewalks, crazy people on Washington Ave., tourists on Collins and Ocean) or catching the South Beach Local bus, which costs a mere quarter. But if you want that magical combo of control, convenience and the feel of the sea breeze in your hair, you've gotta go Deco.
We first told you about this bike rental program a year ago but then, like a new hotel with the best intentions, it got delayed and only made its debut this March. We've been getting our Deco on here and there ever since, and can tell you that it totally lives up to its promise.
We can’t get enough of different cities and their bike sharing programs. London and Boston are just two of the latest towns to get their two-wheeled act together in the last couple of years, and earlier this month Toronto joined the pedal powered party.
Canada’s largest city added around 1,000 bikes thanks to a little bit of assistance from around 80 different stations in and about the downtown area. The Public Bike System Company is behind the city’s new shipment of velocipedes, but for those looking to simply score a cheap ride it’s better known as Bixi. This is the same kind of system that’s already in use in spots like Montreal and Washington, DC, so it might look kind of similar—and that’s a good thing.
No need to hit up Paris or London this summer to ride around in pay-per-ride bicycles, as another city here at home is getting ready for a two-wheel test. Boston is just about ready to unleash its public bike sharing system on the masses, so get ready for a wicked fun time.
Things are moving full speed ahead, and if all goes as planned, the new system—it's called Hubway—could begin as early as July. They’ll start with just 600 or so bikes at around 60 stations around the city, but they’re already thinking about explaining. Eventually the plan is to have like 5,000 bikes all over the greater metropolitan area including spots like Brookline and Cambridge.
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If you’ve been to Paris in the last few years, you’ve probably seen all those Vélib bicycles ready for tourists and locals alike to take them for a spin. We’ve even had the pleasure of pedaling one with a baguette in our basket, so it’s with great pleasure that we wish them well on their fourth anniversary this summer.
However, it’s pricey to keep all those seats nice and cushy, and it looks like the bike sharing program is going to cost everyone a few more euros and cents. Starting at the beginning of May—that’s like this week—prices will rise by around 70 cents. Now one-day tickets will set you back €1.70, where things were previously just €1—that’s roughly $2.50 for those of us that have credit cards based in the nifty fifty.