While the news that Mayor Bloomberg's plan for NYC congestion pricing was defeated is something of a low point for urban cyclists, that coming out of Washington, D.C., is much more encouraging. Next month D.C. will become the first U.S. city to launch a public bike sharing venture like the wildly popular Vélib (short for "vélo liberté") program in Paris. One hundred and twenty bicycles will be available at 10 central locations for an annual membership cost of $40. Users will be able to check out bikes for three hours at a time from 6am until 10pm (and returned at all hours); a fee of $200 will be levied if the bicycle goes unreturned after 48 hours. There is a point-based system of demerits for late returns, which can lead to losing one's rental privileges.