Paris: The City of Bikes

The NYTimes has a story on the Vélib bicycles newly available for rent in Paris. The pricing system seems especially appropriate for bicycle commuters: free for the first half-hour, 1 euro for the second half-hour, 2 euros for the third half-hour and 4 euros for each half hour after that. Many factors would need to work together to make such a system work in the US, including size of the city (populous enough to support a regular ridership, but not so sprawly as to make short bike trips impractical), number and location of stations, and biking infrastructure, to name a few. NYC comes to mind as a place where the US version of the Vélib could take root. Modify the gear ratios, beef up the brakes and San Francisco might be in the running. Making the bikes tourist friendly may be a necessity, but it could also open up possibilities for cities like DC or Charleston, SC or numerous national parks.