As cycling has become enormously popular in France, bike rentals have really mushroomed. Renting a bike is now far easier than ever before. But there are quite a few things to consider when renting a bike in France. Hybrids are available throughout France. Usually, they’re entry-level aluminum models. All come with triple-chaining; and most come with front suspension, making them comfortable (but heavy). Most renters provide a spare tube, a repair-kit, a pump, and a lock at no extra cost. Panniers and helmets are usually provided for a fee. Helmets are most often “one-size-fits-all”, though, so we highly recommend that you bring your own. Although clip-less pedals are often available, we recommend you bring your own for the simple fact that rental inventory is limited and some models (e.g., Speedplay) are not widely available in Europe.
Weekly bike rental rates range from 75 to 115 euros, depending on the quality of the bike. Female seats, gel seats, seat covers, and extension bars aren’t always available, so bring these with you when renting a bike if you want or need to use them.
Racing bikes are more difficult to find. If you want to rent good quality road bikes (carbon-fiber bikes equipped with Shimano 105 or above) we strongly recommend that you book early (by July, it’s nearly impossible to reserve a road bike). And racing bikes are only available in areas where road cycling is enormously popular: e.g. Provence, the Alps, the Pyrenees.
Entry-level racing bikes are more widely available (although not everywhere!) and easier to find.
Regardless of the type of racing bikes you rent, they usually come with a spare tube, a repair-kit, and a pump (or a CO2 cartridge). Locks are often available upon request.
Kids’ bikes, extension bikes, and trailers are usually available from renters located near bikeways. They are more difficult to reserve in the city.
When renting, keep the following in mind:
A list of bike rental firms can be found on Yellow pages (hint: use the search term “cycles”) or through websites. One such is http://www.freewheelingfrance.com/bike-hire-in-france/. Cyclomundo offers bicycle rentals in the French Alps and will help you reserve your rental bike throughout most of France.
If you plan on taking the bike on trains while in France, check out the tips in our “Traveling with a bike on trains” post.
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