When former Paris Mayor Delanoë launched the Vélib’ bike sharing scheme in 2007, people laughed. His aim was to reduce traffic in the French capital and give the Parisians more liberty in transportation. Hence the name velib’: from the French words Vélo (bike) and Liberté (liberty). Many people thought the scheme would never work, but after a difficult start, with bikes being stolen or destroyed, it turned out to be a success. After the first five years, 138 million people had used the 23,000 rental bicycles and 31 communities on the outskirts of Paris had joined Vélib’.
(Read: the bicycles revolution in Paris five years later)
Delanoë ‘is a living liveable city legend’ says the Copenhagenize blog. And we all love Delanoë’s quote: “The fact is that cars no longer have a place in the big cities of our time”
Luckily Paris’ new mayor, socialist Anne Hidalgo, also believes firmly in the importance of bikes and other solutions to calm down traffic. She introduced P’tit Vélib’, little bikes added to the bike sharing programme for kids, she wants to double the length of bike lanes, and make more 30 km/h zones in the city.
I just went to Paris for a week, visiting my parents in law for a lovely family holiday. What did I see? Many people using Vélib’s, but also many people on their own bike. The most noticeable, though somehow quite expectable, thing is that Paris cycles chic! We knew that Parisians have style, and we are happy to see that they don’t change their style while cycling. Business man cycling in suits, ladies with high heels and hipsters with skinny jeans. That is how it should be!
To be honest, there is still a lot of car traffic in Paris. There are many places where cycle lanes suddenly stop and roundabouts where even I, as an experienced urban cyclist, didn’t dare to ride. But, thanks to a large extend to Paris’ current and former Mayor, it is going in the right direction. So keep up the good work Parisians and get on your vélo!
- Copenhagenize: http://www.copenhagenize.com/2014/02/copenhagenize-reviews-agenda-for-next.html
- International Press Service: http://www.ipsnews.net/2012/07/the-bicycle-revolution-in-paris-five-years-later/
- European Commission: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/europeangreencapital/bike-rental-scheme-for-kids/
Check out Amsterdam Cycle Chic’s top 10 of October Instagram pics.
1. Father with 1,2,3..4 kids on his cargo bike
2. Family of four ready to party!
3. Like her style: Dutch bike, green jacket and cool hair
4. Trendy photographer in Paris
5. Sunny commute by ferry and bike
6. Speedy chic cyclist turning the corner
7. Special form of dinking: Standing on the rear carrier
8. Chilly morning in the Vondelpark
9. In the Netherlands more women than men cycle
10. Cycling in the Paris’ rain with a stylish poncho
Are you already following us on Instagram? You should, if you want to learn more about Amsterdam’s cycling culture and enjoy the diversity of cyclists and bikes in Amsterdam’s streets. Every month we will post the most liked Instagram shots here on our blog.
The cycle chic team has been travelling a lot in Europa during the summer. Lately Aude and her sister were invited by their mum to go to pAris! Of course they rented a velib’ to move around. And they met many locals on a velib’ too. Here you can see a girl on high heels…
Guys chatting on Pompidou square…
Some youngsters heading for a party…
Cycling is getting more and more popular here so many people have their own 2 wheels. Look at these:
Frenchy on a race bike…
Dude on lady’s bike…
Girl on a city bike with basket…
The trio Aude-sister-mum have been cycling through the whole of pAris. They came to see the exhibition “Panorama” from Gerhard Richter on the top floor of centre Pompidou. Dedicated to modern and contemporary art, le centre Pompidou is a place you can’t miss if you are interested in art. This painting called “le vélo” is from Alain Séchas, it is part of the permanent collection of the Museum.