Summer cycling along the Canal St Martin – cycle counts clocked 60 bikes per minute one early weekday evening – that is 3,600 per hour! (Source: Bicycle NSW)
There is an incredible bustle of people out enjoying the city. Pedestrians have much more space and at times you can hear birds sing again. Bike lanes line major streets, all filled with a steady stream of bike and scooter traffic. It is a pleasure to sit in street cafes, picnic by the Canal St Martin or the Seine and explore the traffic-calmed back lanes.
Cycling is a lot of fun but quite wild. Parisians cycle like they drive and rules are broken brazenly by all road users. However, with plenty of eye contact and a willingness to go with the flow, the chaos soon feels comfortable …. and just a little bit exhilarating!
The Vélib’ Métropole’ bike-share service provides visitors with easy access to two wheels. Launched in 2007, Vélib’ is one of the largest in the world outside China. Paris has the most trips made on bike-sharing schemes per year per person, with a record 5.5 million journeys made in a single month in September 2020.
It is not always easy to find working bikes, particularly for a group. Some bikes are electric but these are often out-of-service. The Vélib’ app was an essential tool for finding docking stations with bikes ready to collect, or space to drop off rentals. The scheme is a bit rough around the edges – like many things in Paris!