Paris’ Popular Bike Program Comes to Qatar!
Good news for cyclists and outdoor lovers in Doha! If you love cycling, watch out for the new cycles that have reached the Doha Corniche.
Paris, Velib System
Launched in July 2007 in Paris, the Bike Rental Program was a huge success in Paris. It was the mayor’s idea to make the city more eco-friendly and to reduce traffic. Over the years, this system has become the largest in the world.
The “Vélib” bikes are stationed at various stations across Paris. Each station has an automatic rental terminal and stands for cycles. Anyone with a credit card can pick a cycle, ride around the city and change bikes at any station. You will have to pay subscription fee of €1 per day, €5/week or €29/yea An amount of €150 is deducted from your credit card as a safety deposit in case the bike is not returned. If you use a cycle for less than 30 minutes, you won’t have to pay a dime. That means you can keep changing cycles and never have to pay anything. You can make unlimited number of rides like these; A very economical system indeed.
When I was in Paris in 2008, this system looked extremely impressive. Businessmen, tourists, every Parisian seemed to be riding these 22.5 Kg unisex bicycles. The bikes looked sturdy and were equipped with a front basket, a bell, a powerful locking system and an LED light system powered by a dynamo. Presently, there are 20,000 bicycles and 1,639 stations! On an average, there is one station every 300 metres.
Back to Qatar, a trip to Corniche revealed the ditto same system: A station, an automated terminal and stands for cycles. And French text everywhere. I was more than delighted to see the same robust cycles adorn the Corniche. The cycles bore the name Decaux, the same company that operated these cycles in France. JC Decaux is an advertising company that, in France, made a deal with the government; they bear the cost of operation of the cycles in exchange for on-street advertising bill-boards. They also operate bill-boards across Qatar, in partnership with Q.media.
JC Decaux Bill Board
Cyclist lovers can enjoy their evenings in the corniche, riding these cycles and at the same time enjoy the sea breeze. Cycling is one of the most healthy exercises that will keep not only the riders fit, but also the environment.
Cycles at Doha Corniche
Image via TwitPic
Listen to NPR’s news podcast on the success of the Velib system, 2 months after its initial launch in Paris here.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Abhipray Sahoo, writing under the pen name of Alexanderlegend, is an author and a science enthusiast. He writes stories and offers knowledge on topics ranging from the latest gadgets, science innovations, film industry to even sports. He also shares his travel experiences and suggests tourist-must-visits. To view all his work and to subscribe to his posts visit his blog at Triond.