Where do you ride your bicycle? Vélib in Paris and Hubway in Boston want to know!
With over 20,000 bicycles, the Vélib public bike sharing system is well on its way to becoming as synonymous with Paris as the Eiffel Tower. No matter the time of year or the weather, it's easy to spot enthusiastic cyclists crossing the Pont St. Louis or making their way precariously around the Place de la Concorde. Whenever I see an impeccably dressed woman in a skirt and high heels or a man balancing a large musical instrument on the back of his bicycle, I always want to ask where they're headed. It seems that I'm not the only one who wants to know because the official website for the city of Paris recently posted a slide show of people who responded to the question, "Tu vas où avec ton Vélib'?" (Where do you go with your Velib?"). My favorite answer was by a couple from New York who said, "We're wandering around without a precise destination today. Maybe we'll go to the Luxembourg or the Tuileries, we'll see." Please click here to view the slideshow.
|The two women from Hubway generously agreed let me take their photo when I explained that we live in Paris. They also took the opportunity to ask me some questions about Vélibs. It's a good thing that Stephane was there to answer them!|
Interestingly enough, the public bike sharing program in Boston that is based on the Parisian one wanted to know, "Women! Why do you bike??" and "Women! Why don't you ride??" when I was at the Copley Square Market last week. Responses to "Why not" outnumbered "why" and included:
- Live too far from work/life.
- I'm scared of getting killed.
- I have a scooter and can't believe how unbelievably rude bicycling has become in the city. (I biked for 20 years.)
As a Vélib virgin, I can easily relate to the desire to remain alive. It's one of the main reasons why I haven't joined Stéphane as he cycles about Paris. My status is going to change though because I intend to start my Vélib adventure by biking through the Bois de Bolougne in the very near future. If I live to tell the tale, I'll let you know how it goes!
Velib website in English
|Sometimes it's still preferable to walk rather than ride down the narrow streets of Paris.|