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Ceci n'est pas une vélo

Weekend Roundup 20090322: Stories

Posted by @teeheehee on 22nd March 2009

This will wrap up my overloaded three-part weekend roundup: stories.
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Velib Is Suffering

Posted by @teeheehee on 12th February 2009

A BBC article titled “Thefts puncture Paris bike scheme” brings bad news to the very popular Paris bicycle rental program.

Vélib bicycle

JCDecaux, the company that operates the rental program, is having trouble replacing the loss of over half of the fleet of bicycles which have disappeared and are thought to be stolen. Each bike costs 400 euros ($519) to replace, and since the inception nearly all of the original bicycles have been replaced.

Hung from lamp posts, dumped in the River Seine, torched and broken into pieces, maintaining the network is proving expensive. Some have turned up in eastern Europe and Africa, according to press reports.

Various videos have appeared on YouTube showing riders taking the bikes down the steps in Montmartre, into metro stations and being tested on BMX courses.

London, San Francisco, and Singapore are all in the process of copying the model of Vélib. If the current model is unsustainable then they will have to make some quick changes to prevent such losses. (Paris, in turn, copied the idea from Lyon which doesn’t have an much of a problem.)

Although the article hits a sore note, there was this quote which made me smile a bit:

Not all the bicycles receive rough treatment however. One velib repairman reported finding one of the bikes customised with fur covered tyres.

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