Cycling on the Côte d’Azur has always been popular and especially by cycling groups who ‘en masse’ take over the highway for a tour with fifty friends from Vence to Menton and back. For all other people who also like cycling, biking along the seashore was until recently an exciting adventure where the road sometimes broke by a motorway or just went dead in an alley somewhere near the airport.
Luckily you can cycle now from Villeneuve Loubet on a green colored bicycle stroll along the sea far beyond Nice. You pass Cagnes sur Mer, a very popular town with perhaps the finest and busiest boulevard of the French Riviera. Every weekend, people come from far and wide to this boulevard to make a cozy stroll and lunch in one of the many beach restaurants. Especially on Sunday you can walk on the heads and that is unfortunate because that boulevard also is the place for the green coloured bicycle path.
To avoid you bump into sleepy grannies there is an official speed sign that prohibits cyclists to ride faster than 10 miles per hour. At specific times, there are even cops with a radar gun up to the speed control. For anyone eager to stand on the pedals, you have been warned! Leave your streetracer at home, other heavy and not so fast bikes are available for hire at Velo Bleu http://www.velobleu.org
How to hire a Velo Bleu on the French Riviera
Cycling in southern France is delicious; you don’t feel the heat and with the ever-present sea wind it’s a perfect getaway for a sporty day at the seaside. Local residents do not dare to go cycling; the roads off the coast are too steep for an ordinary bike ride and motorists are not or hardly used to cyclists. Fortunately for tourists and lazy cyclists, you can rent a Vélo Blue (Blue Bike) and use the new green bike paths that run along the seafront promenade; everything is nice and easy to ride, for young and old. The only thing you need is a bike; you can rent the Vélo Blue bikes for a day or even for a year (useful if you are a slow cyclist and want to bike from Nice to Marseille and back).
This is how you rent a Vélo Blue bike
There are 175 Vélo Blue stations around Nice and Cagnes sur Mer; here you can say ‘Swipe and Bike’ in good French. Simply swipe your credit card through the terminal and rent a Vélo Bleu bike for a day or a week. This can only be done at the Vélo Blue stations at Place Massena, Blvd Dubouchage, Nice-Ville and Riquier train stations, Saint-Laurent du Var, Promenade des Anglais (Gambetta), the promenade at Cagnes-sur-Mer, Blvd Jean Jaures, Quai des Etats Unis and the Promenade des Anglais (west side).
If you do not want to ride a bicycle with a credit card in your pocket, you can register in advance using the internet with your bank account and receive your own Vélo Blue card by mail.
Online bike hire Côte d’Azur
Go to www.velobleu.org and choose “Je m’inscris”.
There are two choices:
1 month or 1 year: Pay by internet. Alternatively, you can call 0430 00 30 01 by telephone, with your credit card at the Vélo Bleu station.
1 day or 1 month – via internet. Alternatively, you can call 0430 00 30 01 by telephone, with your credit card at the Vélo Bleu station.
If you register via the website, you will receive the Vélo Bleu card by postal mail. Using this service, your bike tour will be safely and quickly arranged.
How does the Vélo Blue terminal work?
This is the official French instruction for a Vélo Bleu.
Turn it on by the blue button in the top right corner. This may take several minutes.
Keep the Vélo Bleu card for the blue circle under the number zero on the keypad. More English-language instructions can be found here
Choose “Louer” to rent a bicycle. 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. Just pull the cable out of the lock and bicycle.
If you bring a bike back, choose “Restituer”.
The machine will ask you to insert a lock cable in 1, 2 or 3. Then wait for the confirmation on the screen: “Merci d’utiliser Vélo Bleu”.
What does it cost to rent a Vélo Bleu?
25 € / year (with Ligne d’Azur card only € 15)
10 € / month
5 € / week
1 € / day
Between 30-60 minutes € 1 and then 2 € for each additional hour
The first 30 minutes are free so you can (in principle) stop every 28 minutes, return the bike quickly at a Velo Blue station, rent a bike again and return it within 30 minutes. Keep in mind the fact that some terminals are broken and the next delivery point is at least 10 minutes cycling again. But if you’re on a budget, this works.
-Sometimes terminals do not work best; look for another in doubt.
-If the bike can not be locked or unlocked, slowly turn the cable into the lock and try again. If it does not work, go to another terminal.
-If you want to return your bike and the lock does not work or if you can not unlock, call the Vélo Bleu number 04 93 72 06 06 and the number of the bike (on the side of the bike) the name of the location ( Bourne) and the time of day. Customer service is open from Mon-Sat from 7h-20h on 04 93 72 06 06. If it is later or on Sunday, leave a message.
-Control the tires and seat adjustment before choosing a bike.
-If there is only 1 bike in a row of terminals, there is probably something wrong with that terminal. Do not rent a bike here.
To know where the 175 Velo Blue stations are located; Here is the official handy Vélo Bleu iPhone App that helps you straight in the saddle. The App is available for Android phones through this Vélo Bleu Android App link.
Ab and Jo
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