The French city of Lyon has set up a fleet of bicycles for anyone to use. Buy a plastic card (€5 for one year) which allows you to take a bike from a bike station. The first half hour’s use is free; after that it costs €1 per hour. Brilliant. Google helped me to translate this piece from the municipal website:
As from May 19, 2005, Greater Lyon will place at the disposal of the inhabitants a fleet of 2000 bicycles called Vélo’ v distributed on 200 stations in Lyon and Villeurbanne…
Simple, original and practical, it will constitute a formidable incentive for the use of the soft modes.
2000 additional bicycles should be available from 2006.