bicycling in Paris
March 17, 2004 10:38 AM   Subscribe

I'm headed to Paris and would like to do some bicycling (in and out of the city). Any suggested destinations, Internet resources and cheap bike rentals? I'm not interested in joining one of those expensive group tours.
posted by sixpack to Travel & Transportation around Paris, France (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Never used 'em myself, but this place seems good for bike rental. (They also run Segway tours, for the ultra-geeky.)
posted by Vidiot at 10:46 AM on March 17, 2004

Do you want to tour or just go on a few rides?
posted by Hall at 10:46 AM on March 17, 2004

Response by poster: Inside the city, I'm just looking for a decent ride. Traffic in Paris, though, never struck me as very bike-friendly. Outside of the city, I'm hoping for something in the 25-50 mile range, always returning to Paris by the end of the day. I'd also be willing to put a bike on the train to get out of the city (if that's possible).

Vidiot: Thanks for the link. I like the price range, would prefer something more like a road bike.
posted by sixpack at 10:55 AM on March 17, 2004

Best answer: This may be useful:

How to Bicycle In and Out of Paris...
posted by birdsong at 11:02 AM on March 17, 2004

There's a cycling map of Paris available... I don't recall where I found it but it has all the bike routes in Paris and many near Paris. I could tell you more but it is in Paris and I am not. I likely bought it at the IGN store.

I've put my bike on the train to go out of town -- lots of folks do it although I am not really sure of the rules.

On Sunday, the road(s) on the right bank quais are closed to autos -- go early though as they really stack-up with slower moving riders/skaters (if that is a problem for you).

I used to ride from the place de la Bastille often up along the boulevards etc to the canals near la Villette.

It is also relatively easy to use the allée verte from the 11th/12th arrondissement to the Boise de Vincennes. It requires crossing some busy boulevards but being in the forest can be fun. Usually there are other cyclists there -- some doing circuits so you can run some races/paces.
posted by Dick Paris at 5:34 PM on March 17, 2004

A very long time ago (think Charles DeGaulle) my high-school friends & I would train out to Versailles & rent clunky bikes to explore. Not for the Spandex & sew-up set, but a good way to explore a world-class landscape. Not sure about the current state of affairs...
posted by skyscraper at 8:44 PM on March 17, 2004

fat tire bike tours, mentioned in the first comment, used to be Mike's Bikes, which have been HIGHLY recommended to me in the past...and you find them a few other places in europe.

anyway, i was going to suggest Mike's Bikes, so consider this another vote for fat tire.
posted by taumeson at 12:23 PM on March 18, 2004

Best answer: The municipally run RATP, the equivalent of any city's rapid-transit service, offers bicycle rentals in several locations, which you can find on its web site. There's an English link at the bottom of the main page, and maps, rates, bike info, and pre-planned routes you can use.

I've used their service as part of a group and highly recommend it. The bikes are cheap (12 euros for a rental from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., or 14 euros for a 24-hour period), in good condition, though unfashionably sturdy. They have maps, helmets, and other things you may need.

Your best bet is to rent at Les Halles so you can take advantage of all the pedestrian areas there (and make sure you're comfortable with the bike before hitting traffic) then head north through the wholesaling district on Rue Sebastopol, and then cut up past Butte Chaumont. You can get maps for all of this.

Just as Paris is walkable, it is very bikable. Even in Montmartre and Belleville, where there is some incline, many of the roads are easy to navigate. The most effort you'll have to lay out is if you do go to Butte Chaumont, which is a serious hill. However, the park is nice, the view is good, and its peaceful. The little food stand near the top may be open, as well, so it's a good resting point.

Once you get up past Butte Chaumont, and into Belleville (which also has some great views which most tourists never see), take your way down to Parc de La Villette. You can ride along the canals there, and hit the Parc itself which is a converted meat market. There are shops, outdoor concerts and movies in good weather, and indoor shows at other times.

I should add: biking in Paris is fun in the rain, as long as it's not cold, but when biking, I'd make sure to pack an umbrella or a rain-proof jacket, no matter what the weather looks like.

(PS: I'll be there from March 20 to March 28, so if you're there then, drop me a line and I can show you a couple of good bars, too.)
posted by Mo Nickels at 1:06 PM on March 18, 2004

PS: I don't know if you can read French, but this page is a list of French "militant biking associations."
posted by Mo Nickels at 1:12 PM on March 18, 2004

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