Saturday, July 14, 2007

A Tale of Two Cities: Barcelona Bicing & Paris Vélib


Hey, I see that Paris will be starting its own public bicycle transport program tomorrow. It's called Vélib which is a mix of the French words for bike (vélo) and free (libre). I say bon for them!
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Here's my 2 cents worth of a comparison between it and Barcelona's Bicing program.
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Bicing vs Vélib, the names: To me "Bicing" is a much catchier and international sounding name. I mean, "veleeb parreee" sounds OK, but Barcelona Bicing, that's snazzy, rhythmic, alliterate, mnemonic. (By the way, it's pronounced "beecing.")
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Bicing vs Vélib, the websites: The Bicing website is available in Spanish, Catalan and English, to make it more accessible to the city's cosmopolitan population. The Vélib website is available in French and, well... er... French, to make it more... er... French! Chalk another one up for Barcelona Bicing. Acreditase un mas a Barcelona Bicing. Acredita-se un mes a Barcelona Bicing.
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Bicing vs Vélib, the water-side view: Yeah, yeah, yeah, biking along the Seine sounds romantic and like something Judy Collin's grand kids probably do. However, it's really just a little river and no amount of Paris plage-ing during the summer is going to make it feel like the MEDITERRANEAN! Barcelona Bicing on the beach is the winner here.
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Bicing vs Vélib, the weather: Biking in Paris during the summer may be nice, but really, who wants to bike in Paris on a cold, gray winter day? During the winter most Parisians are probably looking at Spanish travel brochures and dreaming about THE MEDITERRANEAN!! Summer, winter, spring or fall, wouldn't you rather be Barcelona Bicing on the beach?
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Bicing vs Vélib, the sites to see: Ok, both cities do really well in this category. Eiffel Tower, Sagrada Familia, Champs-Élysées, Las Ramblas, Arc de Triomphe, Arc de Triumf, etc., etc. etc. Paris may even have the edge here... but... come to think of it, we've got the foothills of the Pyrenees to look up to when we're tooling along Paseo de Gracia! Can one bike from the sea to the mountains in Paris? Creo que no.
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Bicing vs Vélib, the population: Would you rather bike in a city of about 1 and a half million people, like Barcelona, or about 2 and a half million, like Paris? (Now before you answer, don't only think of the heavier traffic, but remember those cold, dreary Paris winters and the sun shining on the Mediterranean all year long.) OK, Barcelona Bicing on the beach wins here, too.
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Bicing vs Vélib, the rates: Bicing 24 euros annually; Vélib, 29 euros. BBOTB.
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Bicing vs Vélib, the countries: Bicing's in Spain, the other's in France. I rest my case.

Barcelona Bicing on the beach, yeah! Barcelona Bicing on the beach, yeah! Barcelona Bicing on the beach, yeah!

1 comment:

valugi said...

El bicing no funciona como deberia. It doesn’t work as it should.
Read an analysis here, froms somebody who used the service for a couple of months already:
http://valugi.ro/es/article/se_ha_desiflado_Bicing