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Paris extends Velib bike hire program to kids

P'tit Velib cycles are initially available in five locations across Paris.

Story highlights

  • P'tit Velib program claims to be the first self-service bike rental scheme aimed at kids
  • Four sizes of cycle aimed at kids as young as two are available for hire
  • Paris hosts one of the world's most successful adult bike hire plans, with more than 20,000 cycles available

The county that brought us the Tour de France has notched up another cycling landmark -- the world's first self-service city rental bike for kids.

City authorities in Paris have decided that their widely imitated Velib rental bike program is so popular it should be extended to children as young as two.

On Wednesday, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo launched P'tit Velib, which offers four sizes of cycle in five leafy off-road locations across the city.

"Because good habits begin early, the mayor of Paris wishes to familiarize children with using more environmentally friendly modes of transport, and from a young age," the P'tit Velib website says.

Nadhera Beletreche, a spokeswoman for the mayor's office, told CNN the plan was the first of its kind anywhere.

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Chunky gray bikes

Starting them young: P'tit Velib.

Velib was launched in July 2007 and now claims to have more than 20,000 of its chunky gray bikes available from 1,800 docking stations around Paris.

The service, which offers half an hour of free riding followed by incremental charges, was reportedly used to make 130 million trips in its first five years.

Although Velib followed numerous earlier bike-sharing and rental plans, it grew to become one of the world's most successful.

The model of using corporate sponsorship and computerized docking stations has been imitated by other cities such as London.

The new children's bikes -- designed with the same gray stylings as their adult counterparts -- are available to rent in the Bois de Boulogne near the Porte La Muette and the Rond-Point du Jardin d'Acclimitation, the Ourcq Canal, the Bois de Vincennes and the banks of the Seine, between the Pont des Invalides and the Pont De l'Alma.

Rental rates start at €4 ($5.40).

Further locations are expected to open later in the year.

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