If you ever find yourself in Paris, you'll likely notice people riding around on grey bikes. That's because Paris has a wonderful bike sharing program called Velib. You'll find bike stations all over the city and it's an incredibly cheap way to get around. At first, I was a little but apprehensive about riding a bike on Parisian streets, but I told myself if I can ride a Citibike in Manhattan, I can ride a Velib down the Champs-Élysées.
Along with the grey bikes, you'll also notice utterly confused people trying to operate the Velib stations. After struggling through my first attempt, I thought it would be a good idea to do a post about how to work these things, so here it is.
Step 1 - Approach the station with confidence and don't show any fear (Note: There is a really good app that you can download that shows all the stations in the city)
Step 2 - Select you bike by examining the tires to ensure they're not flat, and the seat is adjustable and won't collapse in front of 100 camera carrying tourists. Remember the number of the bike that you selected.
Step 3 - Go to the Velib kiosk located at the end of the station and follow the instruction (there is an English options).
Step 4 - At the end of this process, it will spit out a piece of paper with your code. Make sure to keep this code and remember your 4 digit pin!
Make sure to pull straight back (with some force) when removing it.
...and voila! You are on your way. I highly recommend that everyone try this when they are in Paris as it is a very essential service for many Parisians. Here is proof!