Rent a bike
You have subscribed? you can hire bikes.
- Turn the station on.
- Wait ! The stations take a looong time to turn on, upload the software, check that eveything is all right. Irritating...
- Choose "rent a bike"
- Identify yourself. Two ways to do this :
- Call the station with the phone number displayed on the screen. (Each station has its own number.) The call will cost you nothing because the station does not pick up the call. It simply reads your phone number. Do not hide it.
- Or use the identification card you got passing it in front of the sensor under the digits keyboard.
- Choose the bike if several of them are available and unlock it. Before you choose the bike we advise you to check it. Brakes, lights and crank gear. Many bikes are damaged eg the crank gears don't work properly.
- remember the locker number if you want to lock your bike. If you forget it, you can get a reminder on any station with your identification card or by phone.
- Lock the chain in the basket. If it falls when you're riding and get mangled in the wheel, you'll be on the ground before you know it.
If there are no bikes at the station where you are, turn it on and click on "find a bike". It will tell you where there are. Beware because the system calculates distances as the crows fly and sometimes you have to walk much more to get there.
If you have a smart phone, we advise you to use this free android app to know where the bikes are or where you can return a bike. It is simple and works much better than the official app. It is also available for Iphone but the apple version costs 0,99€. There are alternates. Choose on your phones' stores.
When you want to return the bike, turn a station on, wait, choose "return a bike", lock the chain in the docking place the station has chosen. IMPORTANT : make sure that the chain is properly locked. The locking is confirmed by a red light above the docking place. WAIT then until the duration of your rental appears on the screen. This means that the station has contacted the server and that the server knows that you returned the bike. If no time is displayed, call vélo bleu (04 93 72 06 06).
If there is no place left to return you bike, turn one of the station on. Click on find ("Trouver"). It will tell you where you can find a place to return your bike among the closest stations. Then call the station as if you wanted to rent a bike, or identify yourself using your velo bleu card. (It's a toll free call, since they don't answer it but just identify you with your phone number.) You will be granted 15 free extra minutes to go return your bike.
The drawbacks of the system
As we said, velo bleu is really handy, but there are many potential problems.
- many bikes are damaged. Users are to blame. Lights do not work, the gears are broken...
- the stations take so long to turn on. Expect 5 mn to hire and then return a bike.
- the stations are not powered by mains, but by batteries. If the battery is dead, the station is unusable and the bikes which are locked to it also.
- the stations communicate with the central server with a wireless phone network. Sometimes for an unknown reason the network doesn't work and the station goes off line. You can't hire a bike nor return yours. In this case, the time you'll need to find an other station, turn it on again, or simply the time before the network gets back to work is charged to you. Usually these network problems don't last more than 5 - 10mn so keep trying.
Usually, users signal out of order bikes by returning the saddle backwards.
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