Montreal rolls out bike-sharing plan

From the Globe and Mail: Montreal rolls out bike-sharing plan.

Paris has Vélib, Barcelona has Bicing, and as of today, Montreal will start to showcase its own European-style bike-sharing program with a fetching name: Bixi.

The city better known for Grand Prix racing and automobile worship rolled out a green, two-wheeled alternative that civic officials hope will help re-brand Montreal into one of North America’s most bicycle-friendly cities.

Bixi — a contraction of bicycle and taxi — offers up a straightforward formula: Use a membership-acquired "smart" key or credit card to unlock a bike at a docking station. Ride. Return the bike to a station at any location. [continue]

French revolution: rentable bikes every 900 feet

From 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]