Sunday, 17 May 2009

Pedalling around cities with the best public bike schemes

Montreal, Barcelona, Paris - apart from being incredible cities, they also all have successful public bike schemes. Have you ever come across the mini parking lots of identical 'velib' bikes in Paris? Or people riding around in red 'Bicing' bikes in Barcelona? You can pick up bikes at a number of stations - 20,000 bikes at 1,450 stations in the case of Paris - and just pay a small fee to ride around the city. In Barcelona, the first 30 mins are even free. They encourage short trips, for getting from a to b, as an alternative to the car, bus or metro.

But it's not just practical - it's also hugely enjoyable discovering these gorgeous cities on wheels. Last year, on a trip to Paris, the velib bikes were our primary mode of transport. It made us feel like real locals and allowed us to discover hidden areas and streets we wouldn't of otherwise ventured to.

Montreal has just launched their own scheme called Bixi. It made sense for them as Montreal has twice been named the best cycling city in North America. It is really compact and there are many lakes, mountains and canals you can pedal to within close proximity.

So when will Boris grant his promise for a much-awaited London public bike scheme? Personally, I can't wait...


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