• The United Nations has designated June 3 as World Bicycle Day, an opportunity “to draw attention to the benefits of bicycle use – a simple, affordable, clean and environmentally friendly sustainable mode of transport”.

    20 Minutes

    has therefore embarked on a journey of cycling in France from Lille to Nice, from Nantes to Strasbourg, via Paris or Toulouse.

  • Marseille is not particularly known for the quality of its cycle paths, which are still very insufficient.

    However, a trend is emerging: the rental of electric bikes and guided bike tours.

  • In addition to the pleasures of discovery, cycling is also a way to avoid traffic jams and reach sites that are poorly served by public transport.

They set up their HQ in the Old Port, a few pedal strokes from the town hall of Marseille.

With brand new classic and electric bikes for hire, in the colors of Tous en Biclou, and within a fortnight of accompanied rides to discover the city.

The company officially launches this Saturday on a sector that it considers more promising than ever, market research in support.

"It's the future, cycle tourism is developing everywhere in France, so why not in Marseille which is one of the favorite tourist destinations of the French", smiles Jean-Baptiste Rufach who, at 28 and himself a cyclist, co- founded this young company with Cyril Hoccry-Lescarmes.

From the pre-opening, to break in, he measured the appeal of cycling to passing tourists.

“We have already had quite a few requests, many foreigners, to go to the coast as far as Callelongue and Les Goudes, he continues.

Transport no longer becomes a constraint, but an integral part of the outing, we add another leisure activity by avoiding traffic jams or the only bus often shielded with people.

"This year, it's crazy, everyone wants to go to the creeks", also observes Emmanuel Darley, managing partner of Fada Bike Tours Marseille.

He too measures the growing success of this practice.

In 2013, it started with around fifteen electric bikes, a real precursor in Marseille.

Today, its fleet of 40 bikes is out every day.

The lack of cycle paths, another obstacle

"Cycling tourism is an obvious trend, and there is an increasingly important demand for our services", agrees Marc Thépot, president of the Marseille metropolitan tourist office.

As elsewhere, he attributes this turning point to post-lockdown and the desire for gentle and more responsible travel.

With perhaps a local specificity: “It's also a way of dealing with the congestion to go to certain places like Les Goudes.

" He is convinced, "cycling is a mode of transport and tourism that will prevail in our city.

“We have to tackle the problem head on,” he adds, pointing to the obstacles represented by “bicycle theft” and “the lack of cycle paths”.

"There are still a lot of places where it's complicated to cycle in Marseille", laments Marc Thépot.

“We are still waiting for the application of the metropolitan bicycle plan, which is still slow in coming even though everything is budgeted for,” says Thomas Chaussade, president of the Marseille collective Vélos en ville.

He campaigns on a daily basis for the place of cycling in Marseille and sees, in the increasingly numerous responses to the barometer of cycling cities, a sign of a change in culture underway.

Even if this barometer ranks Marseille among the bad students.

“I take the example of cargo bikes, five years ago, we didn't see any, today we see them go by every two minutes with the children behind, it's a very good sign of development.

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"From the Old Port to Pointe Rouge, it's flat"

“The number of daily cyclists has exploded in the city center, estimates Thomas Chaussade.

The touring bike is also a novelty, clearly.

There is a real demand, even from the inhabitants, to move around quietly by bicycle to visit and show around the city.

It's a real freedom to be on a bike, you stop where and when you want.

“According to him, the fact” that it goes up and down a lot is an argument that cannot be accepted.

From the Old Port to Pointe Rouge, it's flat”.

Still, the famous Corniche track is “two-way, which is no longer done in countries like Denmark and the Netherlands, because of the security issues that this poses.

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“We have prepared our routes upstream, and we explain to people how to get around in the city center in Marseille, it is ultimately the Highway Code”, delays Jean-Baptiste Rufach, who does not anticipate any particular conflicts. with Marseillais, including pedestrians, not always experienced in the culture of cycling.

For Emmanuel Darley, from Fada Bike, visitors, many of whom are cruise passengers, “have no prejudices about the place of cycling in Marseille.

And, in any case, "there is a safety brief".

A bicycle ecosystem under construction

Of the different tours, of varying duration, that they offer, each has a common core: the Pharo, the Auffes valley, the Corniche and Notre-Dame de la Garde, some then take you to the city center, the Mucem and Le Panier, others towards the creeks.

“People come back with an idea of ​​the diversity of Marseille, where you can go from an ultra-dry universe at Les Goudes to the shaded park of Borély, explains Emmanuel Darley.

All this at your own pace and without getting tired.

The comments on the networks are laudatory, and contribute to word-of-mouth favorable to cycle tourism in Marseille.

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“After the season, several of us entrepreneurs around cycling want to structure ourselves to create an ecosystem, develop projects and also lobby on cycle paths,” says Jean-Baptiste Rufach.

A WhatsApp loop has already been created, which brings together around fifteen structures, which rent bicycles like Tous en biclou, but also workshops, stores, bicycle delivery people.

In short, new actors who could also participate in the bicycle revolution in Marseille.

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