Normally the only cyclists you see on the Côte d’Azur are older men in groups, thinking they are in training for the Tour de France. The rest of the French Riviera locals don’t dare to go cycling; the roads behind the seafront are to steep for an ordinary bike trip. Luckily for tourists on the French Riviera you can hire a Vélo Blue (Blue Bike) and use the new green cycling paths that stroll around the sea front; all flat and easy to ride. All you need now is a bike; you can rent these Vélo Blue bikes for a day, or for a year (handy, if you are a slow biker and want to go from Nice to Marseille and back.)
Swipe and bike
There are 175 Vélo Blue stations around Nice and Cagnes sur Mer; here you can ‘swipe and bike’; using your creditcard into the terminal for one day and one week subscriptions, Place Massena, Blvd Dubouchage, Nice-Ville and Riquier train stations, Saint-Laurent du Var, Promenade des Anglais (Gambetta) and the boardwalk in Cagnes-sur-mer. Blvd Jean Jaures, Quai des Etats-Unis and Promenade des Anglais (west end).
If you don’t want to cycle with a creditcard in your backpack, sign up for Vélo Blue via the Internet, entering your bank account there.
Go to www.velobleu.org and chose “Je m’inscris”. Here you have two choices:
1 month or 1 year: pay by internet, by post, or by phone calling 04 30 00 30 01 while in front of Vélo Bleu station
1 day or 1 month – by internet or by mobile phone by calling 04 30 00 30 01 while in front of Vélo Bleu station
You must enter your bank creditcard information via the website and then you can grab immediately a Vélo Blue bike. Don’t forget to bring your phone if you go directly to a Vélo Blue station! Otherwiste you’ll receive a Vélo Bleu card by post; you can use that for your future bike trips.
What to enter into the Vélo Blue terminal?
Turn it on by the blue button in upper right hand corner. This can take a few minutes.
Hold your Vélo Blue card in front of the blue circle under the number zero on the key pad or telephone the number on the screen from the phone you registered your account with.
You can see how to turn it on here
Choose “Louer” to take a bike. If there is more than one bike at the terminal, the machine will ask which bike you want to take. Press number 1, 2, or 3 and then okay. Pull the lock cable and you’re off.
If you return a bike, choose “Restituer”.
The machine will instruct you to insert a lock cable in 1, 2 or 3. Then wait for confirmation “Merci d’utiliser Vélo Bleu”.
How much do you pay for a Vélo Bleu?
€25 /year (with Ligne d’Azur card only €15)
Between 30-60 minutes €1 and then €2 for each extra hour
The first 30 minutes are free, so you could stop every 30 minutes, relock the bike at a Vélo Blue station, re-rent it and start the clock at zero again and pay nothing. Bare in mind that some of the terminals don’t work, locks get stuck, and then you’re screwed.
-Sometimes terminals don’t work so best to turn a few on simultaneously.
-If the bike doesn’t lock or unlock, gently rotate cable to jolt it. If it doesn’t work, go to the terminal beside.
-If you lock your bike to return it and it doesn’t accept it, and you can’t unlock it, call the Vélo Bleu number 04 93 72 06 06 and report the bike number (on the side of bike) the bourne (terminal) you are at and the time of day. Customer service runs from Mon-Sat 7h-20h on 04 93 72 06 06. If it’s after hours or on Sunday, leave a message, and even follow up with an email. Don’t panic. It’s very unlikely they’ll charge you, even if you can’t rent another bike with your account at that moment
-Check tires and seat adjustment before selecting a bike.
-If there’s a lone bike in a row of terminals, there’s probably something wrong with that terminal. Don’t try and rent or return a bike here.
All you need is to know where the 175 Vélo Blue stations are located; here’s the official handy iPhone App that helps.
Enjoy the ride!