Vélo’v is Lyon’s bicycle sharing system that has been run by the city in conjunction with the advertising company JCDecaux since May 2005. The partnership with JCDecaux permits the city to offer the service on a cost neutral basis for the city, and at a low cost to users, in exchange for providing exclusive advertising access on bus shelters and the Vélo’v stations themselves. A green project, the aim of the system is to reduce vehicle traffic within the city by offering a pollution-free and healthy alternative. 

The name Vélo’v is a portmanteau of the French word vélo (bike) and the English word love. The first bicycle sharing system to open in France, the huge success of the Lyon project has inspired similar systems in a number of major French and European cities, Vélo’v is still the bike share scheme with the 2nd highest market penetration in the world, after the Parisien Velib’.

The Network

Today the Vélo’v network now provides approximately 4000 bicycles which are available from over 350 stations located around the cities of Lyon and Villeurbanne. The ultimate goal is to establish a sufficient number of stations so that there is one within 300m of every point in the city. Access is controlled by a subscription system in which a card is bought online or at a station giving the user an account and a PIN with which they can obtain a bicycle via a terminal located at the bicycle stations. The bikes can be returned to any station. The cycle route map for Grand Lyon can be downloaded here

Bikes can be rented from less than 30 minutes up to a full 24 hours and any person aged at least 14 years and in possession of a Carte Vélo’v (the system’s subscription card for the service). Tourists and visitors to Lyon can buy a one day or one week pass using a credit card.

The bicycles

Vélo’v bicycles, along with a lock and basket, contain electronic components which allow the bicycle to be identified by the stations, allow tracking of kilometers traveled, tracking of the condition of the bicycles, (lights, brakes, dynamo), and collection of detailed statistics about the usage of the bicycles.

Using the Vélo’v

Vélo’v bicycles are available to hire all 24 hours a day, all year round. Here is a basic guide to their use:  

  1. Choose a Vélo’v station: There are currently 348 Vélo’v docking stations. If you can’t see the closest station to you, look on the official Vélo’v mobile app, which will also indicate how many bikes are available.
  1. Select your Vélo’v plan: On the app or website, create an account and choose your plan (i.e. occasional or everyday use). If you don’t want to do this online, you can still hire a bike, by visiting a station with a payment terminal and choosing ‘Buy a plan’. 
  1. Select a Vélo’v: Pick an available bicycle at the station. 
  1. Ride: Release your bike. There are three options: from the docking station, choose a Vélo’v and release it by pushing the button on the dock stand; directly from the Vélo’v, by putting your card or ticket next to the card reader; from the mobile app, by swiping on ‘Release a Vélo’v’.
  1. Return: Return your cycle to an available docking station. You can locate these via the app.


  • For a quick errand, you can keep the bicycle safe by using the anti-theft system on the cycle frame.
  • A common frustration for Vélo’v users who attend major events (e.g. a concert or a sporting event) is that the stations close to the venue fill up very quickly and it can prove difficult to find a dock to return the bicycle.


There are two basic plans:

  • Everyday plan: unlimited use of Vélo’v cycles for one year. Cost ranges from between €15.00 – €31.00 for the year.

Occasional plan: A one-trip ticket is €1.80 while a one-day ticket is €4.00. The first 30 minutes of every trip is free. Following that, the price is €0.05 per minute for the first paid half-hour, €0.10 per minute for the second paid half-hour, and €0.15 per minute for the third paid half-hour.