jeudi 17 octobre 2013

The blue bicycle

Vélo Bleu or Blue Bicycle is a self-service bike rental system commission in 2009 in the city of Nice, in South of France.

Just like Vélib in Paris, the Vélo Bleu service is a pratical and economical means on transportation in the French Riviere. Several French people who work, not so far away from home, use Vélo Bleu. It's an ecology discovery which not only helps save money spent on fuel but reduces pollution as well as traffic which is a major problem in several French Cities.
Today, the rental service is available not only in Nice but in Saint-Laurent-du-Var and Cagnes-sur-Mer. It offers 1 750 bikes in 175 stations across the three cities, with 3 100 fitting system points. Vélo Bleu is available 365 days a year, 7 days a week, 24 hours day for a low cost.

To use the service you must be between 1.45 m and 1.95 m and weigh less than 120 kg. The minimum age is 14 years old. Minors who use the bicycles are the responsibility of their parents. Only one person can use a bike at any time, passengers are  not allowed!

The cities who offer this service known as libre-service have ensured safe bicycle paths for riders. French doctors recommend bycicle riding as a sport to keep fit, and French people believe it's the secret to les jolies fesses musclées that is beautiful well-shaped buttocks.

I was surprised to see a lot of people riding bicycles when i first visited France, it is a rare sight for a Lagosian. Our roads are very bad for bicycle riding and i hardly ever see any adult ride bikes except kids.

Renting the Vélo Bleu doesn't cost much. There are various rates  known as abonnement, available for occasional or regular users. Bike hire prices are :
  • €1 for a day
  • €5 for a week
  • €10 for a month
  • €25 for a year
The first 30 minutes is free !

In summer, if i decide to go bike-riding with my husaband who adores this sport, i use the Vélo Bleu like several tourists. At home, we do not have enough space in the store for two bicycles as we live in an appartement and because i am not a bike lover, my husband's bike stays down in the store and i rent the Vélo Bleu.

Last year, while i was in Nigeria on vacation, my husband worked till late, he didn't realise how late until it was past midnight. He didn't drive to work that day, the train, tram and bus had stopped working so he rented a Vélo Bleu and rode all the way home, from Nice to Cagnes-sur-Mer, about 12 km.
If it happened in Nigeria, i guess there's still be an okada guy hanging around somewhere waiting for ghost passengers. Oh i forgot, no more okada in Lagos! Sadly, our leaders don't think about us and how to make our lives easier.

Here is the bike rental map with 1 200 stations. Helps to know where to pick up one and where to fit it after use.
Vélo bleu bike-hire map - Stations in Nice
When you visit the French Riviera, you can use the Vélo Bleu to get around Nice, Saint-Laurent-du-Var and Cagnes-sur-Mer during your stay but make sure you have insurance incase you have an accident. The Frenchies are protected by their  liablity insurance known as assurance responsabilité civile, a kind of third-party insurance. As a tourist, you can't benefit from it.
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