8 Things You Should Check Before Taking a Vélib ‘.

by admin

Are you tired of wasting time choosing your Vélib? Tired of running into bikes that don’t roll?

Here are 8 tips to never waste time choosing your 2-wheeled car.

I have been a die-hard fan since the first hour. Since July 15, 2007 to be exact, the launch date of the service in Paris.

I am one of the first to subscribe to the service. Ok, I admit, I’m quite proud of it because nobody believed it at the start!

Now, there are even Vélibs in Bamako! It is to say success.

A resident of Bamako in Mali on a Vélib

So it’s been 6 years now that I walk “free as the air” (oh no, that’s Autolib!), Wide-eyed to avoid the buses arriving at full speed.

But this daily thrill is nothing compared to the anguish of choosing a Vélib that does not hold up.

A bad choice results in long minutes lost at the terminal or, worse, a journey that turns into an ordeal.

Fortunately, during these long years of intensive pedaling, I have developed a checklist effective. Result: I save a lot of time in the daily commute.

I share you today these 8 essential things to check before taking your bike in less than 3 minutes flat.

Control n ° 1: the saddle turned upside down

Velib at the bollard with the saddle turned upside down

You arrive near the station. To save time, your eye should already start filtering out unusable bikes. How? ‘Or’ What ?

Do you see the bikes with the saddle turned upside down (like the one in the photo)?

Flee them like the plague! Good practice is to return the saddle of a faulty bike. This indicates to other users (and also to JCDecaux which maintains the service) that the bike must be repaired.

Think about it the next time you have a bike with a flat wheel, handlebars without brakes, a pedal less or whatever. It saves time for all cyclists.

Thank you in advance !

Check # 2: damaged bike

Velib to the bollard with a flat rear tire

Now that your eye has far eliminated bikes that have an upturned saddle, further checks can be done remotely while you are approaching the Vélib station.

Which ones? Punctured tires (see photo above), broken chains lying around on the ground, bent handlebars and missing pedals (this happens quite often!) Can be seen from quite a distance.

More bikes to filter to save time on your choice of Vélib.

Now that you have done an efficient sorting by approaching the station, let’s move on close checks.

Control n ° 3: the color of the terminal

Green velib terminal without bike

It happened many times to me to drool in front of a Vélib in perfect condition, to make it pass all the necessary controls, to then realize that the indicator light of the terminal was red …

Loss of time guaranteed!

Not anymore. I do the check every time.

I just take a look at the terminal to see if the light is really green. It is red = Vélib blocked. No need to force it, it won’t come off!

Before doing other more in-depth checks, I am therefore thinking of checking the small indicator light. If it is green, I go to Control # 4.

Check # 4: tire inflation

Checking the rear tire pressure of the velib with your foot

The more inflated the tires, the faster you go! It’s physical. Checking the tire pressure is therefore essential especially for long journeys.

To find out if the tires are properly inflated, feel simply the front and rear tire with your hand.

So as not to get my hands dirty, I do this by tapping the wheel with the tip of my foot (see photo below) or the underside of my shoe.

Control n ° 5: the pedal stroke in a vacuum

Take a pedal stroke in a vacuum to check the vélib

This check is certainly the most difficult (because the bike is still hooked to the terminal) but also one of the most important.

Lift the saddle, then raise the pedal to the correct height so that you can kick the pedal in a vacuum (as in the photo below).

This technique allows you to check whether the chain is damaged or whether one of the pedals is blocked by the chain guard.

I am warning you, the chain guard often tends to come off, which blocks the possibility of pedaling …

Control n ° 6: the saddle butterfly

Saddle butterfly of a velib at a station

To enjoy the best possible ride, the height of the saddle should be suitable for your size.

For this, the butterfly of the saddle must work. Otherwise you will either be too low or too high. In both cases, it will be more difficult to pedal and the journey will therefore be longer.

If the saddle is already at the correct height, do not hesitate to climb on it to see if it does not come down under your weight. In this case, the butterfly is no longer working very well.

We’ll have to change bikes.

Control # 7: brakes and gears

Now is the time to pass your navigo pass on the terminal to detach the bike.


Brake of a bicycle hooked to the bollard

In the first few meters after having unhooked your Vélib, check that the 2 brakes are working properly by giving a little bang on each side of the handlebars.

It does not work ? Better to go and rest your bike at the terminal. Because ride a bike without good brakes in Paris, it’s a little suicidal especially on the bus route …


Close-up of the 3 speeds of a vélib

There are plenty of Vélibs that only have 1st gear working. The one that is very practical for climbing the coasts of Montmartre.

Unfortunately when you’re not driving in Montmartre, you better be sure that the other gears are working as well.

Otherwise you will pedal in the sauerkraut for kilometers on the flat!

Control # 8: doorbell and lighting

That’s it we are there. Here is the last check to perform.


Velib doorbell

The little bell has saved me many times from very perilous situations … For example, a pedestrian crossing without having heard me arrived.

Since then, I never forget to give a little “dring” to be sure that I can make me hear pedestrians (because for buses it’s another story).


As soon as you make a trip, in the late evening or at night, take a look at your front and rear headlights.

It can be handy for the cars around you to know you are there.

In any case, if you need to put your Vélib down, don’t worry. You have 5 minutes to put it down and take another without having to wait for long minutes (as is the case if you put it down at another terminal). Phew!

The little extra

If when arriving at the station, a Vélib’eur arrives to put his down, don’t hesitate to ask him if his bike is running well. If so, wait until he puts it down to take it in your turn.

This is often the best strategy to avoid all checks.

JC Decaux repairman sitting on a terminal on a break

Even if it may seem a bit long in explanation, know that with a little practice, these 8 controls do not take no more than 3 min to perform.

In return, you will save tens of minutes on each of your trips. In total these are tens of hours earned per month. Interesting for Parisians in a hurry, right?

Do you like this trick ?

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Also to discover:

A Natural Anti-Stress for Back to School: Cycling.

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