Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Touring
Reload this Page >

Tips for Paris and/or Rome bike share?

Notices
Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

Tips for Paris and/or Rome bike share?

Old 08-17-13, 12:21 AM
  #1  
Disco Infiltrator
Thread Starter
 
Darth Lefty's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Folsom CA
Posts: 13,446

Bikes: Stormchaser, Paramount, Tilt, Samba tandem

Mentioned: 72 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3126 Post(s)
Liked 2,102 Times in 1,366 Posts
Tips for Paris and/or Rome bike share?

Anyone have any notes, tips or tricks? We are going for about a week in each for our honeymoon.
Darth Lefty is offline  
Old 08-17-13, 02:18 AM
  #2  
In Real Life
 
Machka's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Down under down under
Posts: 52,152

Bikes: Lots

Mentioned: 141 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3203 Post(s)
Liked 596 Times in 329 Posts
Every time I've been in Paris, I've had my own bicycle, so I haven't need to use anything else.

Are you referring to this:
https://en.velib.paris.fr/

If so, it seems they might have made the rental process a bit easier. We had a look at it in 2007. Back then it appeared that users had to buy tickets from a participating shop nearby (so you had to find the shop), and all credit cards were charged $150 plus the cost of the bicycle rental. The $150 was returned sometime later. Now it appears that only certain cards are charged that $150.

I would recommend learning a bit of French, if you don't already know it, to assist with reading the instructions.

Last edited by Machka; 08-17-13 at 07:08 AM.
Machka is offline  
Old 08-17-13, 02:42 PM
  #3  
Conquer Cancer rider
 
Boudicca's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Toronto
Posts: 6,039

Bikes: Fun bike, city bike, Bike Friday, Brompton (also fun bikes)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 18 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I know people who use the Paris bike share a lot and can't speak too highly of them. You get a heavy, clunky bike, but it gets you where you want to go.

But a word of warning.

A one-day rental is usually buying you an unlimited number of half-hour rentals and not one day to take the bike anywhere you want. So you ride for half an hour, dock the bike, go drink a coffee, or visit a museum, or walk and look at something. Then you go back to the docking station, pick up another bike (or even the same bike) and ride to your next destination. I always worry when I see people picknicking with their rental bikes because I know they are going to get a nasty surprise on their credit card at the end of the day. If I can, I even tell them so.

It's a great way to see a city.
__________________
Zero gallons to the mile
Boudicca is offline  
Old 08-17-13, 03:47 PM
  #4  
Disco Infiltrator
Thread Starter
 
Darth Lefty's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Folsom CA
Posts: 13,446

Bikes: Stormchaser, Paramount, Tilt, Samba tandem

Mentioned: 72 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3126 Post(s)
Liked 2,102 Times in 1,366 Posts
Thanks. I guess I'm concerned more about the one in Rome, it looks much smaller than the one in Paris.
Darth Lefty is offline  
Old 08-17-13, 07:08 PM
  #5  
In Real Life
 
Machka's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Down under down under
Posts: 52,152

Bikes: Lots

Mentioned: 141 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3203 Post(s)
Liked 596 Times in 329 Posts
Originally Posted by Boudicca
I know people who use the Paris bike share a lot and can't speak too highly of them. You get a heavy, clunky bike, but it gets you where you want to go.

But a word of warning.

A one-day rental is usually buying you an unlimited number of half-hour rentals and not one day to take the bike anywhere you want. So you ride for half an hour, dock the bike, go drink a coffee, or visit a museum, or walk and look at something. Then you go back to the docking station, pick up another bike (or even the same bike) and ride to your next destination. I always worry when I see people picknicking with their rental bikes because I know they are going to get a nasty surprise on their credit card at the end of the day. If I can, I even tell them so.

It's a great way to see a city.
From what I read, the first half hour is free ... and then if you have it out for longer, you start to get charged. So if you very carefully planned it so that you rode for half an hour then docked, then rode for half an hour then docked, you might get away with no charges.
Machka is offline  
Old 08-17-13, 07:14 PM
  #6  
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 2,013
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 287 Post(s)
Liked 120 Times in 88 Posts
I used the velib system in September 2012 in Paris. At that time, in order to create an account at one of the velib stations, you had to have a credit card with a chip embedded in it. Most Europeans credit cards have a chip, but most American credit cards do not. I was able to use the velib system because I was with a French friend who had a French credit card with a chip, and you could take out 2 bikes on one account my friend created at one of the velib stations. I learned that it was possible for a holder of a non-chip credit card to use the system, but they had to set up their account on the velib website ahead of time, rather than doing it at one of the velib bike stations.

As I said, this was my understanding in September, 2012. I do not know if any of this has changed since then.

As for the bikes, they're easily adjustable and easy to ride, but somewhat heavy. I learned to always check that the seat isn't loose and that the tires have air, before taking a bike out of a station. The bikes appear to be very similar to the ones in the shared bike systems I've seen in some US cities. The Paris velib system is incredibly popular and the bike stations are extremely numerous throughout the city. It has really changed the landscape of the city.
axolotl is offline  
Old 08-17-13, 08:54 PM
  #7  
In Real Life
 
Machka's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Down under down under
Posts: 52,152

Bikes: Lots

Mentioned: 141 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3203 Post(s)
Liked 596 Times in 329 Posts
You're going to need a card with a chip in it if you travel anywhere in Europe anyway. European, Canadian, and Australian cards all have that, but if the OP is from the US, he'll have to go to his bank and see if he can acquire one.
Machka is offline  
Old 08-17-13, 09:57 PM
  #8  
Senior Member
 
Doug64's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Oregon
Posts: 6,489
Mentioned: 31 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1182 Post(s)
Liked 833 Times in 435 Posts
Originally Posted by Machka
You're going to need a card with a chip in it if you travel anywhere in Europe anyway. European, Canadian, and Australian cards all have that, but if the OP is from the US, he'll have to go to his bank and see if he can acquire one.
U.S. cards without chips worked fine in most ATM machines and at most hotels,cafes, and stores that accepted credit or debit cards. At least that was my experience in 2011. We were in several different countries including France, but not Italy. However, I believe that folks are right, and only cards with a chip work at bike rental kiosks.

Last edited by Doug64; 08-17-13 at 10:02 PM.
Doug64 is offline  
Old 08-18-13, 08:31 AM
  #9  
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 2,013
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 287 Post(s)
Liked 120 Times in 88 Posts
Originally Posted by Machka
You're going to need a card with a chip in it if you travel anywhere in Europe anyway. European, Canadian, and Australian cards all have that, but if the OP is from the US, he'll have to go to his bank and see if he can acquire one.
That's simply wrong. American credit cards without chips work fine for most purposes in Europe. Kiosks are the only place where I've had a problem. That includes velib bike rental kiosks and SNCF (French railroad) ticket retrieval kiosks.
axolotl is offline  
Old 08-18-13, 08:42 AM
  #10  
In Real Life
 
Machka's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Down under down under
Posts: 52,152

Bikes: Lots

Mentioned: 141 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3203 Post(s)
Liked 596 Times in 329 Posts
Originally Posted by Doug64
U.S. cards without chips worked fine in most ATM machines and at most hotels,cafes, and stores that accepted credit or debit cards. At least that was my experience in 2011. We were in several different countries including France, but not Italy. However, I believe that folks are right, and only cards with a chip work at bike rental kiosks.
Originally Posted by axolotl
That's simply wrong. American credit cards without chips work fine for most purposes in Europe. Kiosks are the only place where I've had a problem. That includes velib bike rental kiosks and SNCF (French railroad) ticket retrieval kiosks.
Personally, I wouldn't know. I've never owned or used an American credit/debit card. I'm just going by some of the comments that have been made here in the recent past ... that sometimes American credit/debit cards aren't accepted in parts of Europe, and that it is something to check with your bank before going.

In this case if the OP is thinking of using these bikes, even if he is pretty sure his card(s) will be accepted for other things, it might be worth checking.
Machka is offline  
Old 08-18-13, 05:04 PM
  #11  
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 2,013
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 287 Post(s)
Liked 120 Times in 88 Posts
The English-language FAQ on the velib site ( https://en.velib.paris.fr/How-it-works/FAQ2 ) states the following:

What type of cards do the terminals and website accept?

You can use a card to buy your ticket at a terminal or station.
In stations, we are only able to accept chip-enabled cards as well as American Express and Japanese Card Bank (JCB). For Monéo, Electron and Realys, your card is temporarily debited with the €150 deposit. You are then re-credited. The time for re-crediting varies by bank, from 10 to 15 days after your ticket expires.

If you buy your ticket online at velib.paris.fr, your card is pre-authorised and not debited. By buying your ticket online, you can choose when to use it and plan your journeys up to two weeks in advance!


----------------------------------------------------------

So it sounds like the holders of non-chip credit cards can still use the velib system if they set up their account online in advance.

For ALL credit card transactions involving a human (as opposed to a kiosk) in Europe, my American credit cards have ALWAYS been accepted. Furthermore, I've never had a problem using my ATM card to withdraw money in Europe or anywhere else in the world.

FWIW, I asked a credit card issuer a couple of years ago if I could get a new card from them with a chip, and they said I could not.

Here's an informative article about "chip and pin technology". From this and other articles I've read, it sounds like US credit cards will gradually shift to chip & pin over the next few years.

https://seattletimes.com/html/travel/...andpinxml.html
axolotl is offline  
Old 08-19-13, 10:24 PM
  #12  
Disco Infiltrator
Thread Starter
 
Darth Lefty's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Folsom CA
Posts: 13,446

Bikes: Stormchaser, Paramount, Tilt, Samba tandem

Mentioned: 72 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3126 Post(s)
Liked 2,102 Times in 1,366 Posts
Thanks everyone, the advice is well taken.
Darth Lefty is offline  
Old 10-06-13, 11:24 AM
  #13  
Disco Infiltrator
Thread Starter
 
Darth Lefty's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Folsom CA
Posts: 13,446

Bikes: Stormchaser, Paramount, Tilt, Samba tandem

Mentioned: 72 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3126 Post(s)
Liked 2,102 Times in 1,366 Posts
We're back! Here are some notes...

Cycling in Paris is great. There are lots of cyclists, and the drivers see you and are accustomed. But you need to be confident and fearless since you are in the traffic mix. It's sort of like skiing, everyone is responsible for what is ahead of him. I thought it was fun but my wife was nervous. Velib works pretty well with some notes. There are lots of stations and lots of bikes. You really should have a smart phone with the Velib app to get the most out of it. The reason is that stations near attractions clog up with bikes in the morning and empty out in the evening, as you might expect. The app will help you find a spot. Beggars take advantage of your befuddlement - one lady accosted us at a large full station by pretending to find a fake ring by our feet as we talked, and asking us for five euro reward. We went to three more stations looking for space and then got separated when I went the right way up the street to the next station and she went the wrong way and found spaces. I went to the hotel where she said she was headed, she waited for me to come back and find her. Without our cell phones working it was useless, she got lost and didn't find her way back to the hotel for three hours. I took a few more rides looking for her. In spite of our problems, the system works pretty well when used as intended.

Rome has fewer cyclists, maybe because it's hilly, or maybe because it seems less law-abiding, not just in driving but also parking. If you want to ride I'd recommend getting a private rental. That's what we did in the Borghese gardens. The bike share was a cruel joke, pro forma and not seriously in use so far as I could tell. I don't think I ever saw one of the bikes on the road. The only station I saw with bikes was at the bottom of the Spanish Steps. Elsewhere in town, near the Parthenon, this is what a station looks like:


Finally, in re: cards with chips, we never had any trouble. Each restaurant we went had a portable point of sale machine that could take the card either way. A few automats like the Velib stations wanted chips but there was usually a quick workaround. For the Velib in particular we signed up online.

Last edited by Darth Lefty; 10-06-13 at 11:27 AM.
Darth Lefty is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Thread Starter
Forum
Replies
Last Post
pablosnazzy
Mountain Biking
11
08-28-11 10:53 AM
Funkdeal
Eastern Canada
25
04-04-11 08:39 PM
Soma Roark
Europe
5
06-28-10 03:15 AM
Pedaleur
Europe
21
05-26-10 08:21 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service -

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.