Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Urban Life Bites Back

No one said (though we all hoped) it would be easy.  The BBC is reporting that Paris' popular bike-rental program Velib ("bikefree") is in trouble.  Although it has had over 42 million uses since its inception 18 months ago, the bikes themselves are taking a beating, with more than half of the 15,000 getting stolen.

Hung from lamp posts, dumped in the River Seine, torched and broken
into pieces, maintaining the network is proving expensive. Some have
turned up in eastern Europe and Africa, according to press reports.

Since the scheme's launch, nearly all the original bicycles have been replaced at a cost of 400 euros ($519, £351) each.

Various videos have appeared on YouTube showing riders taking the bikes
down the steps in Montmartre, into metro stations and being tested on
BMX courses.

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