Monday, December 15, 2008

Getting Around Town

When Ben and Danis arrived in Paris recently at Gare du Nord on the Eurostar, the queue for taxis was about 200 yards long. Having lived in Paris for a year, Ben knew his way around and he and Dan grabbed a couple of the €1 public bikes just outside the station and set off to their hotel near the Place Vendôme. It’s a great way to get around, although you do take your life in your hands with Parisian driving.

I would like to see this tried in New Zealand. I think it would be an enormous hit particularly in our smaller, tourist-oriented towns where traffic is light anyway.

One of my favorite cities in the world is Montreal (a great place to eat, drink, and watch ice hockey). It has a terrific public bike system nicknamed Bixi. It’s really state of the art. The module bike racks are all Web enabled and solar powered (although I’m not sure how much sun you get in Montreal in winter.) The bicycles are designed to resist the inevitable public thrashing they get everyday and are equipped with special tags so they are easy to track and trace. From a sustainability point of view, this is one of the great ideas that we need to see being adopted in more and more cities.


Cal said...

The concept already is established in Auckland - with bike "stands" throughout the CBD - I am not sure of the price - but your credit card activates the lock

Ian Sanders said...

Those bikes = great idea. I arrived into Paris on Eurostar last Thursday and had similar experience. A huge queue. We had a meeting to make and I thought cab would have been quicker but instead we took the Metro. Quick, clean, efficient, we got there in half the time, a fraction of the cost...

carlo noseda said...

Hallo Kevin
We have the same here in Milan.

Piotr Jakubowski said...

I'd like to see this happen in the states somewhere. There are certainly a few cities that could use some sort of extra short-distance alternative to some of the other things going on. And the traffic can get so horrible!

Though not going to lie, in a country where some cities lack sidewalks I don't know what it would take to get people onto bicycles.

Anonymous said...


We had them in Copenhagen since 1995, so the idea is hardly new.

Also, you must have a solution to the tiresome law of having to wear wearing bicycle helmets in these parts of the world.