• After launching in 2015 and having groped a little, Elian Alluin, Parisian cyclopombier, found his cruising speed.

    He now has two cyclo plumbers employed and is launching a crowfunding campaign to further develop his business.

  • Proof that cycling crafts can work in Paris?

    Ellian Alluin is less and less alone in making this bet.

    Carpenter, cabinetmaker, upholsterer, bookseller… The Les Boites à Vélo association, which federates them, notes a great dynamic in terms of membership.

  • Elian Alluin like Philippe Genty, bicycle cabinetmaker and president of the Ile-de-France section of Boites à Vélo, assures him in any case: “it is easier for a professional to get into a cargo bike today than it is. is six years old ”.

We had left it on February 20, 2015, at the edge of the Ourcq canal, in the 19th district.

Elian Alluin lives there and had just started his plumber business… by bicycle.

The original Breton already had a few months of activity in the calves, at a rate of 35 to 50 km swallowed per day.

Enough to realize the need to acquire an electrically assisted cargo bike to replace the old postman's bike that he had recovered at first.

This was the subject of his first crowdfunding campaign.

Six years later, Elian Alluin has just launched a second one on KissKissBankBank until May 23, with a view to taking CycloPlombier, his company, to a new level.

Conquer Paris ...

“I fumbled a bit at the start, but in the end, the business has developed well in six years,” he says today.

On my way, I met Alexandre Brachet, from Upian, who became my partner, which allowed CycloPlombier to have stronger backs.

In recent months, we have recruited two new plumbers and acquired two new cargo bikes.

This allows us to intervene on a larger perimeter than the north-eastern quarter of the capital when I was alone.


This crowfunding campaign, with the objective of raising at least 35,000 euros, should allow the company to structure itself more.

"This would allow us to buy a first room, near République, with a storefront and 150 m², where we can receive customers, set up a workshop, store equipment", already salivates Elian Alluin.

Who does not rule out the idea, in the long term, of making CycloPlombier a franchise, present at least throughout Paris and its inner suburbs.

More and more bicycle craftsmen in Ile-de-France

The cyclo-plumber is in any case less and less alone in making this bet of entrepreneurship by bicycle in France. They even have their own association, Les Boites à Vélo. “It was launched in 2014 in Nantes, a cycling city par excellence, before sections spread across France, including one in Ile-de-France from 2017”, says Philippe Genty, bicycle cabinetmaker and president of the Ile-de-France section. The association's directory lists 217 entrepreneurs, including 48 in Ile-de-France.

In the group, all the same, many professionals of the bicycle (repairers, manufacturers and dealers of bicycles, scooters…) and actors of logistics.

In the pure "craft" category, where we find Elian Alluin, the figure drops to 12. "Only those up to date with contributions are listed," smiles Philippe Genty.

In reality, we are approaching much more than double, and the bicycle artisans are not all members of the association.

This remains marginal, agrees the cabinetmaker.

“But the dynamic is there,” he continues.

Each month, we register two to three new memberships.


"We save gasoline ... we avoid traffic jams"

Traveling by cargo bike sometimes means cutting yourself off from certain sites. “We don't do heavy plumbing renovations,” explains Elian Alluin. On the other hand, for those who specialize in repairs - plumbers, locksmiths, electricians… - the cargo bike very quickly becomes a major asset in urban areas. All the more so in Paris, where traffic restrictions for the most polluting vehicles are tightening within the framework of the Low Emission Zone (ZFE) and where 30 km / h zones are becoming more widespread. “By bike, we save gasoline, parking costs, insurance, but we also avoid traffic jams and the headache of finding a place to park, list Philippe Genty.These gains in speed and punctuality allow a bicycle craftsman to go so far as to double his turnover compared to a colleague in a van. Or, for those who prefer it, to free up more time for oneself. By starting later or ending earlier, for example. "

And then the cargo bike is not an option reserved for “emergency crafts”.

In Les Boîtes à Vélo Ile-de-France, there is a carpenter, two landscapers, an upholsterer… The food-truck is also increasingly available in bicycle mode, notes Elian Alluin.

Philippe Genty points out, him, “Cultureuil”, traveling bookstore in Essonne, and the imminent arrival of a bookseller by bicycle in Paris.

Without forgetting the “Emergency Bikes”, bicycle freighters with which emergency doctors have been crisscrossing the capital since September.

Easier to get started than six years ago

“By reinventing the way he works, there are very few craftsmen who cannot get into the cargo bike,” Philippe Genty finally assures.

I made the choice, for example, to no longer have a workshop and to work directly with my customers, where I have the wood delivered.


The cyclo-plumber and the cabinetmaker agree on one point: it is easier today to get into craftsmanship by bicycle than it was six years ago. They already cite a network of cycle paths that has grown widely in Paris as well as in the surrounding area. It is also a question of material. “In 2015, cargo bikes barely arrived in Paris,” recalls Elian Alluin. "Today we have a choice and we are on high technology," continues Philippe Genty. The motorization systems have made incredible leaps, the belts are made of carbon *, the lighting is automatic, the batteries have more and more autonomy. Not to mention the electrically assisted trailers that are emerging. “They brake when you brake, accelerate when you accelerate, don't make you feel the weight of what you are carrying,are sized for cycle paths…, says Elian Alluin. We tried to transport water heaters, it's pretty awesome. "

An upcoming smart trailer purchase subsidy?

Cycling craftsmen at the height of happiness, therefore, in Ile-de-France?

There are some areas for improvement though.

Elian Alluin points to the absence of dedicated parking spaces for cargo bikes in the capital.

For his part, Philippe Genty recalls that the city of Paris offers up to 1,200 euros in aid to professionals for the purchase of a cargo bike.

“Aid of an equivalent amount was also to be introduced for the purchase of an electrically assisted trailer,” he explains.

The project was put aside a bit with the Covid-19 crisis.

We hope it will see the light of day.


“And not all craftsmen wishing to switch to cycling live in Paris,” adds Pierre Serne, president of the Club des Villes et Territoires cyclables.

One way of saying that "many cities in the Ile-de-France do not yet offer assistance to professionals for the purchase of cargo bikes".

The Climate Law, currently under review, could be a game-changer.

"One of the amendments proposed by the government provides for widening the conversion bonus, previously reserved for the purchase of a car, to electric bicycles including cargo bikes", recalls Pierre Serne.


Paris: Véligo launches its biporteur, a cargo bike that has some in the box


Deconfinement: The bike is so popular that repairers are struggling to follow

* These carbon belts are stronger and easier to maintain, explains Philippe Genty.

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