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One of my absolute favorite things to do in Paris is to vélib’. That is, to take a bike out from Paris’ public bicycle sharing system and ride around town. Paris is a relatively bike-friendly city and lanes exclusively for bikers have been implemented along many routes. I love the experience of riding up and down ancient cobblestone roads and getting glimpses of the city’s majestic architecture with every turn. Today’s Vélib’ system, which first started in 2007, includes 16,000 bicycles and 1,200 bicycle stations networked around Paris and it’s surrounding banlieues. It’s the world’s second-largest bike share system (Hangzhou, China takes the cake with a 61,000 bike system!). It’s something that I’ve seen absolutely everyone do – smartly suited businessmen at rush hour, artsy kids going home after a party. The main downside is that stations in popular areas (especially central Paris) will often have either no bikes or are completely full, so sometimes there are no more spots left at a station when you need to return a bike. I think this photograph, taken of a cyclist vélibing over le Pont des Arts, captures the experience well with a panning technique.
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