Archive for Vélib

day zero at ISBA 22

Posted in Kids, pictures, Statistics, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 28, 2022 by xi'an

Very smooth trip to Montréal, esp. when considering the global trend of travel disruptions. Nothing lost (except for a tea thermos filter), nothing broken or stolen from my bag, no delay, no queue at De Gaulle for once. I even got a front & window seat in the plane, with a quiet neighbour who slept most of the time (and kept her mask, thanks!), no disruption from other screens, and a six hour run for processing as many Biometrika submissions, with an almost instantaneous reply from one AE (or AE⁺⁺⁺!), solving a riddle from the Riddler, and booking a few things in Montréal like the local Vélib (biXi!!!) and a slot at the only pool that opens at 6:30 (thanks Amy and David!). Funny that the flight attendants came and checked everything was fine because I declined food and beverage for the entire flight (my habit nowadays).

And, despite a very hot day in Montréal, equally smooth access to my Airbnb, incl. the episode with a good Samaritan calling after a passenger in the [747] airport bus leaving without his bag! Enjoying kimchi dimsums at Harbin Dumplings while waiting (with no xiaolongbao on the menu!). And sampling later my first Montréal bagel of the trip (which was only OK!), while being surprised at the high cost of food in the dépanneur where I bought them.

don’t wear your helmet, you could have a bike accident!

Posted in Kids, Running, Statistics, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 18, 2022 by xi'an

As once in a while reappears the argument that wearing a bike helmet increases one’s chances of a bike accident. In the current case, it is to argue against a French regulation proposal that helmets should be compulsory for all cyclists. Without getting now into the pros and cons of compulsory helmet laws (enforced in Argentina, Australia, and New Zealand, as well as some provinces of Canada), I see little worth in the study cited by Le Monde towards this argument. As the data is poor and poorly analysed. First, there is a significant fraction of cycling accidents when the presence of an helmet is unknown. Second, the fraction of cyclists wearing helmets is based on a yearly survey involving 500 persons in a few major French cities. The conclusion that there are three times more accidents among cyclists wearing helmets than among cyclists not wearing helmets is thus not particularly reliable. Rather than the highly debatable arguments that (a) seeing a cyclist with an helmet would reduce the caution of car or bus drivers, (b) wearing an helmet would reduce the risk aversion of a cyclist, (c) sport-cyclists are mostly wearing helmets but their bikes are not appropriate for cities (!), I would not eliminate [as the authors do] the basic argument that helmeted cyclists are on average traveling longer distances. With a probability of an accident that necessarily  increases with the distance traveled. While people renting on-the-go bikes are usually biking short distances and almost never wear helmets. (For the record, I mostly wear a [bright orange] helmet but sometimes do not when going to the nearby bakery or swimming pool… Each time I had a fall, crash or accident with a car, I was wearing an helmet and I once hit my head or rather the helmet on the ground, with no consequence I am aware of!)

Vélib’surdity!

Posted in pictures, Running, Travel with tags , , , , , , , on April 8, 2018 by xi'an

On January 1, 2018, the official purveyor of short term rental bikes in Paris, the Vélib‘, changed, due to Smovengo winning the official bid for the renovation of the 2007 structure, against the contender JCDecaux. I almost never use these bikes as I travel with mine(s), except when stuck in a broken train or sudden industrial action! But I find amazing that the bid comparison did not consider the ecological cost of switching operators, as every single slot of every Vélib’ station had to be changed to accommodate the new bicycles. Some of which are electric bikes, requiring electricity plugs on every slot, two other ecological fallacies. And this is not even accounting for the disposal of tens of thousands of the older bikes (which were already suffering from a very high failure rate). Given the slow pace of the switch, free floating bike services like Ofo, Gobee, and OBike tried to take a share of the market, but they suffered so many degradations that they are gone or about to go. Another mountain of used bikes to dispose off…

meet the president [of Tunisia]

Posted in Kids, pictures, Running, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 8, 2015 by xi'an

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My trip to work was somewhat more eventful than usual this morning: as the queue to switch to the A train was too long for my taste, I exited the Chatelet station to grab a Vélib rental bike near Le Louvre and followed the Louvre palace for a few hundred meters, until reaching a police barricade that left the remainder of the Rivoli street empty, a surreal sight on a weekday! As it happened, Beji Caid Essebsi, the president of Tunisia was on a state visit to Paris and staying at the 5-star Hotel Meurice. And just about to leave the hotel. So I hanged out there for a few minutes and watched a caravan of official dark cars leave the place, preceded by police bikes in formal dress! The ride to Dauphine was not yet straightforward as the Champs-Elysées had been closed as well, since the president was attending a commemoration (for Tunisian soldiers who died in French wars?) at Arc de Triomphe. This created a mess for traffic in the surrounding streets. Especially with pedestrians escaping from stuck buses and crowding my sidewalks! And yet another surreal sight of the Place de l’Étoile with no car. (In this end, this initiative of mine took an extra 1/2 hour on my average transit time…)

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the new museum ruining my views!

Posted in pictures, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 8, 2014 by xi'an

lvmfarIn the past years, I have see a construction grow and grow under my office windows in Paris-Dauphine, ruining my views of the towers of La Défense, as seen on the above picture. This huge building designed by architect Frank Gehry has now opened as the Fondation Louis Vuitton museum, exposing artworks owned by LVMH and Bernard Arnault. Since I am very close to it and could not get an idea of what it looked like from my office, I took a Vélib yesterday and biked the kilometer between Porte Dauphine and the museum. As it had just opened, it was fairly crowded but I could still take a few pictures of this elegant sail-boat made of glass panels, without entering the art gallery itself…

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Once the novelty has worn out and the crowds thinned down, I will be back to look at the exhibits. In the meanwhile, I for sure will not forget its presence…!

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