From New York City to London and beyond, bike-sharing has become big news in recent years. Big corporate sponsors have joined with big-city mayors to roll out ambitious programs that aim to make it easy for people to pick up a bike and to leave behind their dependence on cars. Yet large-scale programs of this kind have started to experience growing pains, and some bike-share observers are weighing the potential benefits of more modest efforts.

Say, for example, that you are visiting Brno, the...

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