Starting 15 July 2007, you can ride a bike for free in Paris from any one of 750 stations. The service called Velib is available already in Lyons, Orleans and Aix-en-Provence, and will be launched in Marseille, Mulhouse et BesanÃ§on. The project costs 30 million euros per year and is funded by JC Decaux, the outdoor advertising giant. JC Decaux maintains bus and tram shelters for municipalities (e.g. Amsterdam) in exchange for placing advertisements in the shelters. They are one of the world’s leaders in outdoor advertising (billboards, etc.).
Amsterdam tried free bike service back in 1968 but the project was plagued by theft. Copenhagen, on the other hand, has had success in its project.