Here we are, again close to where I work, in Saint-Ouen, to take a close look at Paris & surrounding cities Bike Rental Service called Velib.
First the name Velib stands for Velo (Bicycle) + Liberte (Liberty) and is a contraction of these two words meaning "The Liberty Bike" which is kind of nice I think
The city of Paris started it all in 2007 and JC Decaux a major advertising company is providing all the bikes & maintenance service, against some free advertising spots in the city; Others cities around Paris also joined the mouvement and it is now a big network of stations that prooved to be very usefull.
In the following pictures you can see a typical station of Velib, where bikes are locked waiting on the sidewalk, ready to go onto the street, using an RFid transport card (also used for Metro & Bus) to be swipped on top of each anchor point. If you don't have this card, you just go to the main unit and using a credit card rent a bike with a temporary ticket for half an hour (free) , one hour (1 EUR) , an hour and a half (3 EUR) or more (each half hour after the first hour adds 4 EUR)
The main reservation unit, a bit similar to the one for Autolib: