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If you happen to be in gay Paris, you can now zip around via a short-term bicycle rental program called Velib. It’s the ZipCar of bicycles. Having 1500 bike stations placed within about 300 meters of each other all over town, it’s never been easier to sightsee or get around while working off some of those baguette calories.

avlb2.jpgWith over 20,000 bikes available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, Velib is the most sustainable spin cross-town. Simply pay for a subscription and receive an unlimited number of bike rentals. A subscription can be purchased by the day, week or year. A rider is entitled to a free first half-hour of every trip, then pays 1 to 4 Euros for each subsequent 30-minute time-frame. The increasing price scale is intended to keep the bikes in circulation; and a credit card is required to subscribe.

Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe pushed this popular green initiative forward; similar systems are in effect in other European cities as well — Barcelona, Brussels, Copenhagen, Lyon, Stockholm, Vienna and Helsinki. Velib = velo (bike) + liberty (liberty).

So stop reaching for the car keys, and head for the bicycle rack; visit en.velib.paris.fr to learn more about this flexible, convenient ride.