City sightseeing by bike is super cool!

From Mumbai to Melbourne, there are currently just under 300 organized global bike sharing programmes, reports BBC Travel. Mumbai’s two schemes, FreMo, (Freedom to Move), and Chalao (Let’s cycle) may be small in comparison to Melbourne’s highly organized Bike Share, but all the programmes share the same aim: to reduce urban traffic and pollution and provide locals and tourists alike with cheap and healthy transport. And there’s an added advantage: most function 24/7 and during the time of your subscription you can rent and return a bike as many times as you want.

Bike sharing has been around for a while, but the first programme to make a splash was Paris’s Vélib launched in 2007. If you fancy taking a spin around the French capital, you won’t have to look far for your mount. There are 20,000 bikes and 1,800 bike stations available, one every 300 metres. Go to velib.paris.fr/ for further info. Subscriptions cost 1.70 euros per day or 8 euros per week. Half-hour rides are free then each additional half-hour costs 1 euro for up to one-and-a-half hours.

Washington DC is another city with a good bike sharing option, the largest in the US. Visit www.capitalbikeshare.com for details. Membership costs $5 per day, $15 for five days, or $25 per month, half-hour rides are free then each additional half-hour costs $1.50 for up to one-and-a-half hours.

Back home, the year-old London’s Barclays Cycle Hire (barclayscyclehire.tfl.gov.uk/), is quite sophisticated with its interactive map plotting out the city’s docking stations and providing real-time information on the number of bikes and parking spaces available. Cycle Hire costs 1 pound per day, 5 pounds per week or 45 pounds per year. Half-hour rides are free but additional charges apply for longer rides. Happy pedalling!

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