Paris - Do you Velib? Learn How to Share a Bike in Paris!

Many Flight Attendants and Pilots are expressing frustration over their inability to successfully access the for-rent Velib, public bikes of Paris. For those of you unfamiliar with the Velib bikes, these are the approximate 10,000 bikes parked all around Paris in groups of 10 or 12 bikes per station (photo enclosed) that the French Government has provided for public use for a very small fee.

These bikes can, supposedly, be rented with ease by all. One only has to get a subscription for a day (a month or a year) and pay the nominal fee at any Velib station to get a bike. The problem is that each time one of our crew members attempts to access one of these elusive subscriptions (rental agreements), they fail.

What are they doing wrong? I'm not sure, but here are some simple instructions that may help you on your next attempt.

1- Find a Velib bike station like the one in the photo.

2- Locate the free standing tower near the bikes, where one can access the Velib system. Please note that the tower has two sides. Use the side opposite the one that has a map. You will now be in front of a computerized screen, similar to an ATM.

3- Look for a series of small country flags along the bottom edge of the screen. These represent the various languages available for the rental instructions. Click on the English flag to access the English instructions.

4- Have an AMERICAN EXPRESS Credit Card ready. It's the only American Credit Card that works with the Velib system.

5- Follow the instructions until you get to the page where you must select between a "1 year subscription" or a "1 or 7 day short term subscription". Select the "SHORT TERM" subscription - option 2.

6- The next page will have you select the duration of subscription (or rental). Select ONE DAY - option 1.
7- Have your credit card ready to pay for the bike rental (subscription) and "AGREE" to the Terms of Use - then, the screen will tell you to "insert your bank card..".

8- The charge for the bikes rental is:

- First 30 minutes - Free
- Second 30 minutes - one Euro
- Third 30 minutes - two Euros
- Fourth 30 minutes - four Euros..and on each additional 30 minutes.

9- Once you insert your credit card, a receipt will emerge from the tower. IMPORTANT - SAVE THIS RECEIPT. Note that it has a numeral code. These numbers are the code you will use to access the Velib system in any Velib station to rent and TO RETURN bikes for a whole day.

10- With this ticket in hand, step away from the tower and check out the bikes available in that station. Inspect the tires for air before you decide which bike to take (rent). Each bike is attached to a metal post with a number and a "green light". This light will be lit, only if the bike is available for rent. Take note of the number and return to the Velib tower to select your bike.

11- Type the number in your receipt using the number pad in the Velib Tower and follow the instructions to select the bike you want by typing the number assigned to that bike.

12- Once this transaction is complete, approach the bike you chose, and push the button on the top of the stand - it's located on the other end of the light. This will release the bike from the lock for you to use. Bike seats can be adjusted and front lights go on automatically as it gets dark.

13- IMPORTANT - to return the bike, find a station with an open slot near your final destination. Park the bike in the open spot and push it in until it clicks and the light turns green again. Then, enter the numbers found on your receipt into the Velib station screen and it will give you a confirmation slip, proof that the bike was returned.

FYI - Some bike stations do not offer printed receipts for bikes returned, but most of them do. Be sure the bike is secured and the light is green before you walk away. Those bikes cost around $700 dollars a piece. You don't want that charged to your
credit card if the

Ps- Don't forget to print these instruction page before your next attempt to rent a Velib bike in Paris!

Au revoir!


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