By Maggie LaCoste E-Bikes. Who would think that these six letters would help bring about revolution in recreational bicycling in hilly parts of France? In areas such as the Vaucluse region of Provence, recreational cyclists are enjoying the exhileration of cycling to gorgeous hill towns such as Bonnieux, Lacoste and Menerbes effortlessly, the e-bike way. Sun-e-Bike, located in Bonnieux and St-Remy-de Provence is one of the leaders of this revolution. Not only has this company set up a service network where cyclists can exchange batteries, but they provide every kind of assistance you may need to have a great bicycling experience. I’ve been so impressed with the service network set up by this company, that I’ll be trying out one of their e-bikes on my upcoming trip to Provence this summer. I can’t wait for this experience.
First, a bit about the bikes. They are bikes in which a battery, motor and electric circuit have been added. Electric Assist Bike is the term used to describe the bikes because the rider needs to pedal to activate the motor. The motor automatically stops when you stop pedaling or when the bike reaches a speed of 25 km/h. Compared to a normal bike, these particular e-bikes make hill climbing and pedaling against the wind much easier. For those of us who love cycling the flats, the e-bike provides this type of experience even on hills. What a brilliant idea! The battery has a range of 40km, which means that bicyclists can enjoy a full day of cycling with no problem. When the battery is low, you simply exchange it for a new one at one of the 18 battery exchange locations throughout the Luberon. Partners are located no farther than 20 km apart, so there is never a chance that you will get stranded with a dead battery. No effort is needed on the users part, just pick up a new battery and go!
Next, a bit about the itineraries. Sun-e-Bike has designed specific itineraries for exploring the best parts of the Luberon and Alpilles region. Itineraries are provided when you leave the rental agency either in the form of a roadbook or as a download onto your Smartphone.
Other services available include pickup from the Marseille Airport, the Avignon TGV Station or the Aix-en-Provence Station to one of the rental points where you can pick up your e-bike. The company also provides a luggage transfer service. The cost for e-bike rental is 35 Euro/day and 2 Euro/day for insurance. A baby seat is available for 10 Euro/day and the company also rents a trailer which allows 2 children between 5 and 10 to ride behind a parent. Sun-e-Bikes has put together a great package of services geared to recreational cyclists in the Luberon and Apilles. I can’t wait to try them out and report back to you on my experience. In the meantime, I will also be on the lookout for other similar services in other areas of Provence, especially agencies that are close to the itineraries near Mont Ventoux. ©2013 Experience France by Bike. All rights reserved.