From csmonitor.com: French revolution: Rentable bikes every 900 feet.
The socialist mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoë, has seen the future and it’s got two wheels, three speeds, an adjustable seat, indestructible tires, a basket, and a bell. It’s 50 pounds of ecofriendly handlebars, comin’ at ya.
The French are turning Paris into a bicycle zone, pretty much overnight. Even now, astride small alleys and behind boulangeries, paving stones are being ripped to fit 750 bicycle rent "stations."
On July 15, a day after the French Revolution anniversary, the city of lights will kick off a "vélorution" with 10,648 rentable bikes, or vélos. By January, some 1,400 rent stations and 20,600 bikes are scheduled to be in place. In Paris proper, one will never be more than 900 feet from a set of cheap wheels. At least theoretically.
Similar programs have been launched elsewhere with varying success. But Paris officials say their city is the first world capital to adopt a major green biking initiative, and they are doing it in a way that may be too big to fail. The ambitious Paris project is titled Vélib’ — wordplay for bicycle freedom. Read: freedom from too many cars and carbon fumes. [continue]
I assume it depends upon what the French mean by “world capital,” but Copenhagen and Helsinki, e.g. are going to be miffed. Here is a link for Helsinki’s City Bike and one for Copenhagen’s Bycyklen.
[Much later: links removed by moderator as those pages have died or moved.]