In the last year rows of electronic bike racks have sprung up around Paris where you can use your Oyster like Navigo card to hire bicycles.


Judging by the numbers to be seen on the streets the scheme is extremely successful, though the logistics of it leave you wondering quite how much must be going on behind the scenes (were there truck loads of bikes being carted around while we slept?). You often see bike racks completely empty, which might be annoying enough if you’re looking to take to the wheels, but not nearly as annoying as finding a full bike rack at your destination and having to scrabble around to find somewhere to return your “velo” before the ramped charges start to mount up.

We sat on a cafe on a slope and counted one go up as a dozen went down. There have to be trucks migrating bikes back to the upper racks…

The bikes have lights for use at night that I’m guessing charge up when the bike is parked on the rack (sometimes you see the rack light red rather than green, presumably meaning it’s not ready to go out because the battery’s flat).

It’s a great system. London could definitely use something like this.

About Simon Wood

Lecturer in medical education, lapsed mathematician, Doctor Who fan and garden railway builder. See simonwood.info for more...

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