Using the city bike sharing system can be complicated, but P and I (after half an hour of communicating with broken French and hand gestures) finally figured out how to use Nice’s Vélo Bleu (blue bikes). In fact, it’s very simple:
Here’s what you need…
What you need:
1. French cellphone or a SIM card on an unlocked phone (you have to be able to call out, not just have data on the phone)
2. Credit card
First step: Register your credit card
This requires using your cell phone to call the main number on the main board (not the terminal / machine itself), which will then ask you to input your credit card information.
Second step: Using the terminal
There are multiple stands, each with the capacity to lock three bikes.
Turn on the terminal. It takes a couple of minutes to boot up.
Then it gives your language options to continue. Choose your language of choice. Then choose the option “Rent a bike.”
A French phone number will appear. Call the number (it’s free of charge). This will then give you the option to choose a plan for how long to use the bike (either one day, 1 euro, or one week, 5 euros). Choose the plan.
Then pick the bike that you want to unlock by picking a number (1, 2, or 3) based on where the bike of your choice is locked and pull on the lock chain (make sure you check the bikes before you choose one).
Voila! You now have a bike to ride around the city!
If you return the bike within 30 minutes each time, you will not be charged. The intent of the bike system is to get you from one point to another, not as a full one day rental. It’s a great way of getting around the city instead of taking the tram or buses.