Bicycling is an important national sport, and not only do bikes get fair road treatment out in Tour de France country, but Paris is getting better by leaps and bounds at accommodating heavier traffic from cyclists. This dates back to the transport strike in 1995, when two-wheelers held the advantage, and it has been developed since, with the incorporation of the riverside berges, and the proliferation of separate bike/bus lanes. Get in practice by taking a bike out with one of the local tour groups, then head to the Bois de Vincennes, or out to La Villette to trek 40 kilometers up the canal bike path to Melun. Or head east from Joinville le pont along the Marne river.
For wide-open spaces, head for the rugged mountain-bike trails of the Fontainebleau forest, Rambouillet's wooded nature preserve, or the grounds of the Chateau de Versailles. To avoid riding through the city, you can usually load a bike in the end cars onto many regional SNCF trains, as well as the RER. Except during rush hour!
Note: Cyclists follow the same rules of the road as motorists. This means that traffic coming from the right has priority, and you can get a hefty fine for running red lights or for not being equipped with head and tail lights. As in any big city, make sure to use a U-lock to secure your bike or it will be gone.
Here are four bike routes published by the Paris Tourist Office: https://en.parisinfo.com/what-to-see-in-paris/info/guides/paris-cycling-exploring
The public bicycle system Velib kicked off with smashing success in 2007, but when they switched services in 2018, Parisians were less than impressed. One improvement is that electric bikes are available (blue) along with the manual (green) bikes, parked at roughly 100 stands around town - although the company hopes to have 1,400 by end-spring. A number of short-term and long-term options are available.
Rollin' on the River
Are your customers raving about y Paris à Vélo, c’est sympa! Bike tours by theme, bikes available for rent, English spoken. 37, bd Bourdon, 75004, Mº Bastille, tel: 01.48.87. 60.01. ou on social media? Share their great stories to help turn potential customers into loyal ones.
Fat Tire Bike Tours has become a ubiquitous cycling tourism biz (also in Barcelona and Berlin), thanks to their friendly, fun and knowledgeable guides, tel: 01.56.58.10.54. Oh, yes, and they organise the Segway tours, too. In Paris at 24, rue Edgar Faure, 75015.
Tour de France: Not only can you watch the final laps around the Champs-Elysées, but ambitious cyclists can assault the same mountain route the professionals are taking that year. There are festivities in the Champs de mars the weekend of the finale, with a mass ride around the city.
Bicycle taxis (vélo-taxi), tel: 01.42.72.70.12. Provides short or all-day service.
Paris Velos, 2 rue du Fer a Moulin, 5th arrondissement, tel: 01.43.37.59.22, https://parisbiketour.net/en/ ,
Pharma Cycle, 31 bis rue Madame, 15eme, tel: 01.48.42.38.78, my go-to place, English-speaking, friendly and helpful, open Tues through Saturday, see http://pharmacycle.fr.
Bike 'n' Roller, 6 rue Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre, 5th arrondissement, tel: 01.44.07.35.89.
Cycl'Art by Bicloune, 93, blvd de Beaumarchais, 10e, tel: 01.42.77.58.06.
Décathlon, 26 av de Wagram, 8th, tel: 01.45.72.66.88. Décathlon is the sports department store where you can buy or repair your bicycle, and buy any other type of sports equipment you may be looking for. Another location: 17 blvd de la Madeleine, Mº Madeleine, tel: 01.55.35.97.55
Cyclists revolt with Vélorution, a citizens' group on wheels working together to take back the streets - to reduce the importance of automobiles in our lives. An action "anti-bagnole" of cyclists, skaters and walkers is scheduled for 14h, Saturday 1st May, at Place du Châtelet. To keep up with the action, check their website at http://velorution.free.fr.
Roue Libre is an association sponsored by RATP (public transport service) and offers group rides (“balades”), including a weekly ride on Saturday mornings. From March to September, they also organize free Citybike tours around Paris and rent bicycles as well! 95 bis, rue Rambuteau, 75001, Mº Les Halles, tel: 01.53.46.43.77, https://mdb-idf.org/agenda.
Fédération francaise de cyclotourisme is a hub for information on those wanting to enjoy cycling, on an amateur basis. With 120,000 members and a list of 3,100 clubs around France, these are the folks responsible for the official training of tour-guides for biking treks, and has lots of info for rides out of town. Also publishes a monthly, Cyclotourisme, plus a national calendar with dates for treks, rallies and tourism. Tel: 01.56.20.88.88.
Comité d'Ile-de-France de la Fédération francaise de cyclisme is the pro, or "sportif", branch of the above federation. Tel: 01.42.87.00.10.
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