Biking in Paris

Flo on route

There’s not a better way to get around Paris and really see the town. But its not for the faint of heart!

The transportation systems in Paris are first class, with a proven metro grid, functioning bus system with on-time routes, and fast-running trains that provide easy access in and out of one of the world’s most fascinating cities. But within Paris, getting around is quick, easy and more enjoyable by bike, especially using the Velib system implemented a few years ago. For just a couple of dollars a day, one can use one of the thousands of bikes available at hundreds of locations throughout Paris. Just charge your credit card and the bike is yours for 30 minutes, which is usually quick enough to get to your next destination. Want to ride longer? The cost is just one euro every 30 minutes. But the best way to use Velib is in 30 minute increments and then there’s no extra charge. Ride, park and walk. When ready, ride again for 30 minutes and then park and walk. That way your ride is never more than $2 dollars a day.

Hundreds of stations, thousands of bikes

Paris has established special bike routes and lanes throughout the city, and bikers are accepted by the others on the road, such as bus, car and motorcycle drivers. Even pedestrians, who have the right-of-way above everyone else, seem to pause and allow bikers to pass. In Paris there is little honking of horns, although all are scrambling to get ahead and on to their destination. If you do get honked at, it could be to just give you a little warning they are behind you, or you really did screw up.

Biking as a means of transportation is more accepted in Paris than you’ll find in the Americas. Everyone bikes, from executive-suited businessmen to grandmothers. Young and old. No one wears helmets and biking while talking on a cell phone or listening to tunes seems almost commonplace. However, although the Parisians seem quite comfortable zig-zagging in and out of traffic, it may be a little much for those not used to it. When driving (or biking) in Paris you need to take the initiative, be a little aggressive, as everyone else around is. Remember, most are not tourists, taking their time to see the sights of the city. They are Parisians, trying to get from A to B as quickly as possible.

Routes are well marked

Saying hello or smiling at those you pass by strangers? Well, that’s not commonly done in Paris. “Why should I smile when I don’t know you?” is what they’d say if asked. If you screw up, an apology isn’t necessary, or at least don’t overdue it; Parisians don’t do well with apologies, either from you or themselves. Just shake your head back and forth a few times, roll your eyes back, emit an “Oh la la” and get on your way.

There, my school report done for what I did on my summer vacation.

Here’s a plan of routes to choose from: Paris-a-velo-le-bon-plan

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