Since 2001, residents of Bordeaux have been able to rent free bikes through Vélo Ville de Bordeaux (VVB), the city's long-term bike loan program. Some four thousand bikes have been loaned to locals since the program launched and the requests continue to climb. Today, La Maison du Vélo offers a storage area for up to 50 bikes, a washing station and a space for re-inflating tires, both self-service. Renters can even have their bikes engraved for a small fee of 3€ to personalize their rides.
The program has proven successful at reducing car traffic (given the warren of one-way and narrow streets, parking is nightmarish) and encouraging residents to get more active. By the end of 2013, the Pibal, Bordeaux's new, ergonomic urban bicycle designed by Philippe Starck as part of a crowd-sourced initiative with local residents, will replace the current model, beginning with a fleet of 300.
To rent these bikes, users must be residents of the city. However visitors can rent bikes through the city's short-term bike-share program (with stations all across the city) V3: http://www.vcub.fr/ or from one of many private rental companies.