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Vélib’ bike scheme is seven years old

Cyclists in Paris “have travelled to Mars and back five times” since first cycles were rented in 2007

PARIS’S Vélib’ cycle rental scheme is seven years old today.

Since their launch in 2007, the grey cycles have become a common sight on the streets of the capital.

In that time, officials said, users have made 200 million trips and travelled an estimated 614million kilometres - a greater distance than five return trips to Mars from Earth.

The scheme has some 274,000 subscribers, 35,000 of whom have been registered since shortly after it was launched. It is equally popular with visitors to the city - 2.5million have discovered Paris by Vélib’.

Germans, Americans and Britons are particularly taken with the scheme, according to figures.

In fact, it has proved so popular that, earlier this year, new mayor Anne Hidalgo launched a special junior version called P’tit Vélib.

A bike is rented, on average, every second, with the busiest period between 6pm and 7pm.

Remarkably, they’re still popular late at night. A total 11 million journeys have been made between 2am and 6am. In fact, if you want to be sure of a Vélib’ bike, you’re advised to be at a station between 5am and 6am, when demand is at its lowest.

And, although 8,000 Vélib’ bikes were stolen last year, 87% were later recovered.

Almost all Vélib’ users (99%) would recommend the service to a friend, a survey carried out last November found.

Photo: mariordo59

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