Bike Rentals in Nice + Velo Bleu

Bike lanes in NiceDuring the confinement, the city of Nice took advantage of the fact that no one could go out, and just went wild creating painted and protected bike lanes all over town.

Now, Nice is literally crisscrossed with yellow bike lanes, the most beautiful of which is the seaside bike path that traces the entire length of the Promenade des Anglais, continuing all the way to Cagnes-sur-mer.

And that’s just for starters!  If you really want to cycle Nice, there are sooo many great scenic rides down and up the coast even into Italy, plus world-class mountain biking the hills above Nice.  Check out this Nice-based bike map from BikeMap.net with several suggested itineraries, with if they’re paved or not, flat or hilly, distance, etc.

Where to Rent a Bike in Nice

You can use the Velo Bleu share bikes (see below) which are all over town and super cheap …but come with the hassle of having to return the bikes every half-hour, plus they are heavy and can be kind of glitchy.

If you just want to rent a well-maintained bike the easy way, pop into one of the many local bike rental shops and rent a city cruiser, mountain bike, electric bike, or racer.  You can rent bikes by the day or week, starting at 15€ a day for a basic model.

Better yet, go hang out in one of the cool cycle cafés, where you can not only rent a bike, but also meet like-minded adventurers and share tips and itineraries.

Cycling cafe in Old NiceIn old Nice try the Service Course Café, a specialty coffee house with tapas, plus custom bikes, rentals, and a curated selection of premium cycling products.  A veritable ‘hub’ for cyclists, they organize group rides and social events. 1 Rue de l’Ancien Sénat, just off the top of Cours Saleya; open every day.  Tram stop Cathédrale.

At the far end of the Port you’ll find Café du Cycliste, a loft-like bikers hang-out/café/boutique/bike repair and storage.  16 Quai des Docks, tram stop Port Lympia.

Another good address for veloists is Bicicletta on 9 rue Defly which doesn’t have a café, but does specialize in stylized bike art, curious biking accessories, and vintage bicycle souvenirs.  Tram stop Garibaldi.

For a big Italian biking adventure, click my Taking the train to Italy page and stroll to the bottom for all you need to know to rent a bike for a day and pedal the Ligurian coast on flat, uncrowded, seaside bike baths, dotted with adorable little towns and great food.

And if you are here in March, don’t miss the colorful seaside Prom finish of the famous Paris-Nice bike race!

Guided Bike Tours

Nice Cycle Tours  offers a 3-hour Nice sightseeing tour in English for 35€, which includes the bike rental, helmet, a drink, and a lively guide.

French Riviera eBike Tour  Hit the road for some great views, a medieval hilltop fort, surprising stories, and the most beautiful little town on the coast, and best of all the e-bike does all the work! 4 hours for 50€.

eBike the Vineyard Tour Explore the wine country of Nice on electric bikes, including a private Bellet vineyard tour, a wine tasting, and time to picnic amongst the vines. The 5-6 hour tour in English costs 75€.

All three of these can be booked at A Taste of Nice, 9 Rue Colonna d’Istra, next to Marinette restaurant in the Old Town; tram stop Opera.  +33 9 86 65 75 17, or email: booking@atasteofnice.com

For more guided bike tours, see my Biking in Nice page.

New!  e-Velo Bleu Electric Share Bikes!

The latest addition to the Nice cycle scene is e-VeloBleu; free-floating electric share bikes that do the pedaling for you! You won’t find these 285 e-bikes at bike stands, but instead they are wherever the last person left them; the dedicated e-VeloBleu app shows you where to find the closest ones and how much charge each one has, you click to make your choice and have 10 minutes to go get it.  Once at the e-bike, you move it a little to wake it up, then the app gives you the code for the lock, and away you go… wheee!

Once you’re signed up, it’s free for the first half-hour, and 1.50€ for additional half-hours.  If you use it just 30 minutes at a time, you can have as many half-hours as you can fit in, as long as you change bikes each time.

The only way to sign up is on the app, and it costs 3€ for a day’s access, or 40€ for a year, and FREE for those under 25 (but for that you have to go to the Mobilitie office across from the train station with your proof of ID).

You can go really far! from Cagnes-sur-mer to Villefranche-sur-mer… click here for the map.  Great to to to Cimiez, Mont Boron, anywhere there is a hill involved, as the bicycle does the work for you so you just glide right up…!

Velo Bleu Self-Service Share Bikes

Velo bleu bicycle rackNice has Velo Bleu self-service rental bikes on every corner: 175 stations with 1,750 bikes.   For 1€ a day you can use the bikes as often as you like for up to 30 minutes a pop.   Take a bike from one stand, leave it at another… it’s easy and super convenient if you know how to do it, and super frustrating if you don’t.

You can get an access code for 1.50€ a day5€ for a week, 10€ a month, or 25€ a year… (and the best deal: if you already have a yearly bus/tram pass, you can add the Velo Bleu to it for just 15€).

This gives you the right to use any bike, anywhere, as often as you want, for 30 minutes at a time for free.    If you go over the free 30 minutes, the next 30 costs you 1€, and each hour after that is 2€.

  • Insider tip:  If you are going far, just return the bike before the 30 minutes are up, and then immediately take another.  You can look on the map or on the smartphone app to plan ahead and see where you can switch them out.  

There are 4 ways to Sign Up

  • On the Web   Click here to fill out the on-line form then you can use your cellphone to access the bikes (with a free call because it doesn’t pick up).  This is the easiest way if you can plan ahead.  For month or year passes they send you your card by mail.
  • At Any Bike Station with Your Cellphone   You call the number (04 3000 3001, or from non-French cellphone 00 33 4 3000 3001), punch in your credit card info, and voila.  After that, each time you want to get a bike, you call the number, which is free as it never even picks up the call, so there is no charge for using your phone after the initial set up call (which can be done in English).  The bike hub knows it’s you, and gives you the bike.
  • At Certain Bike Stations Pay with your Credit Card    There are now a few bike stations that take credit cards, so you don’t even need a phone, which means no more expensive international calls for tourists.  You can buy the 1.50€ one-day pass or the 5€ week pass, and you can also buy access to multiple bikes at the same time, which is great for couples or families.  The bike stations that take credit cards are:
    • Train stations: Nice-ville, Riquier, and Saint-Laurent-du-Var
    • Place Massena
    • The Promenade at Gambetta
    • Cagnes-sur-Mer at the beach
    • Blvd Jean-Jaures at the Cathédrale tram stop
    • Quai des Etats-Unis (the top of the Prom, on the Prom side of the Old Town)
    • and one on the Prom near the airport
  • In person at the Mobilitie boutique across from the train station.  The downside it that it takes time to go there, but the plus is that you get your card on the spot.  The Mobilitie office is located on Avenue Thiers across from the Nice Train Station, tram stop Gare Thiers, and they’re open from 8am-7pm M-F and until 3pm on Saturdays.

Actually Getting the Bike

Choose a bike and turn on the screen…

  • Insider tip: turn on two screens at the same time… they take a long time to warm up, and if for some reason one doesn’t work, you saves a lot of time if you have a second one already warmed up.  

The directions are in several languages and are easy to follow: if you have a Velo Bleu card you just wave it over the sensor, if you have a code you enter it, otherwise you call the number on your cellphone (the call won’t pick up, so there is no charge).

  • Insider tip: The only tricky thing is that when it shows you your choice of the three bikes, you need to enter the number corresponding with your choice… if there is only one bike attached, you still need to enter that number, even if it’s obvious.  In the beginning I almost blew a gasket because I thought it was telling me to take bike #2 but then the bike would not unlock… only later realizing that I had to press the number 2 to make it unlock.  

In the final step, the screen will give you the combination for the bike lock in case you need to secure the bike up for a while… it’s a good idea to note this, or turn the lock to that number right then.  Just so you know, if you lose the bike, you’re on the hook for 150€.

The seat easily adjusts, the little bell comes in very handy, and there are three speeds… off you go!

Returning the Bike

Just like before, turn on two screens, just in case.  You tell it you are returning a bike, choose which hole you want to put the cable in, hold it in tight for a few seconds, then when it tells you, give it a pull to make sure it caught.  If not, you might want to go to that next screen that you’ve conveniently already warmed up!  Because this can take a few minutes, try to return (or switch out) your bike at around the 25 minute mark: if you cut it too close and the bike won’t lock, you can start to get very steamed.

  • Insider tip:  Know your destination bike stand in advance by looking on the VeloBleu app, or on this map: what you want to avoid is being on minute 28 and you can’t find a stand.   Now, say you get there and the stand is full: no empty spaces!  It’s good to have a second stand in mind just in case, but otherwise just turn on a screen, chose ‘Find a Stand’ and it will show you a map of the closest… at this point it will give you another 15 minutes free if you pass your Velo Bleu card over the sensor or call the number with your cellphone (again, they won’t pick up, so the call is free).   The free Velo Bleu iPhone app is great way to avoid all this stress as it not only shows you the closest stand, but how many bikes and how many empty spaces it has.
 

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Photo credit: Velo Bleus on the Prom by Alain Morana

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