Driving to the Grande Halle de la Villette at rush hour is really a pilgrimage and I only went out of curiosity for what Maureen Houel, the organiser, told me was a young generation’s fair. And I am glad I did, because Autonomy, this show of city transportation was enlightening as to what 20-40 years old are up to, these days. They want to be free and for no money.
The theme was urban autonomy with electric bikes or rental bikes, car rentals by the hour or by the day, electric rollers, and all these funny e-wheels that you can ride about on streets and, sadly… on sidewalks. Sedgway has what looks like a confortable « Ninebot » which lets you hold it with your knees and looks quite feminine.
There were vintage electric scooters called « Mosquito » (by eTricks) and many car rental companies for the city. Be lib, organized by Mairie de Paris, lets you charge your car all night for free and costs 1€ an hour during the day. If you have a Be lib parking near you (there is one on rue du Bac), it is a great way to combine parking and electric use in a busy city. I stopped at Oui Hop, a city auto stopping ap, which allows you to pick up people or to find a car for urban short trips. What I loved most, was a nice orange fluorescent jacket made by Le Jongleur, which means that you can elegantly ride your bike or scooter at night.
And I loved the system « Drivy open » where you open the door of a car rented from individuals, with a code sent to your iPhone. No need to meet the person who lets you the car and no need for him or her to be in town when they do… Slightly dangerous but why not try ? Last time I heard of a friend renting a car like that, the owner had not given her the key to the gas tank…and she had to force it in order to fill it up !
I went for Zip cars which is well known in the United States but not in Paris yet : they had an electric BMW i3 that I want to try. The system forces you to return the car to the same spot all the time. So again find one near your house. The advantage is that you can keep it for a week end and travel outside Paris which you can’t do with autolib.
Electric bikes seemed to be the great travelling mode with incredible sadles sold by Selle Royal. The top is removable because it is so pretty, everyone will want to steel it. There are also lots of little rollers for kids aged 0 to 5 years old! or older…
There was a jazz band with an acrobat Damien, dancing on wheels, there was a young pretty lecturer from Tbilissi, Georgia, who was invited to talk about preservation of the city. It seemed more like a meeting place for the young and plugged in, than a commercial fair and it was fun!
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