By Maggie LaCoste
I have gotten a lot of e-mails regarding the best places to rent bikes in or near Bordeaux. So if you are thinking about adding a weekend bike trip to a trip to Bordeaux, or if you are planning on biking part of La Velodyssee or the Atlantic Route, here are some suggestions for bike rentals. These are not the only bike rental companies in or around Bordeaux, but of the companies I have communicated with, I have found them to be the most cooperative and responsive. As talked about in previous posts, nothing can make or break a wonderful bicycling adventure than a bad bike rental experience, so you want to be sure that you trust the company you are renting from. I would feel comfortable renting from any of the following companies. Which one you choose will depend on the type of equipment that you want, and where you plan to start your bike trip.
With the grand opening of La Velodyssee this coming June, there is certain to be more easily accessible bike rental options. I will be exploring more options on my upcoming trip, and will plan to update the listing when I return. In the meantime, here are some companies that should be able to help with your bike rental needs:
Norbert Audouin has been in the bike rental business in Bordeaux for almost 10 years and he specializes in bikes for longer distance travel, as opposed to city bikes. Norbert rents German bikes by the brand name Cube, as he has found these to have high quality components and be perfectly suited to long distance riding in the Atlantic region. The all-terrain bikes are 24 speed with Shimano components and they can accommodate both front and rear panniers. Here is a photo and details on the bikes like I rent. For more serious riders who want to stick to fast riding on paved roads, O2cycles also rents road bikes. For families traveling in the area, kids’ bike rentals are available, as well as trailers. If you are fond of traveling very close to a loved one, tandems are available too. If you do not have your own panniers, those are available for rent also.
Norbert does not have an actual storefront. He delivers throughout a wide area of Southwest France. Deliveries in and around the Bordeaux area are free, so you can make arrangements to have your bike delivered to the airport, train station or your hotel or B and B in Bordeaux. Support services are provided for an area of 100 km around Bordeaux.
If you don’t see what you are looking for or you need additional information, you can simply contact Norbert directly with your specific questions at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Norbert speaks great English and he is very prompt in replying to e-mail requests, something that is very important to me when choosing a company to work with. The O2cycles website is in French, so unless you read French, just use Babelfish to translate. Norbert is also a great resource for information on biking in the region, so be sure to ask him for information on his favorite routes.
Bike Hire Direct really has the entire customer service thing down pat, and they make renting bikes for your Atlantic Coast vacation fun and easy. This is a family run business, started by Neville and Natasha Wright in 2006 after falling in love with the area when they got married. Very responsive and helpful, this company bends over backwards to answer all your bike rental and route questions quickly and thoroughly. Their website is very easy to use, is in French and English and answers most of the general questions you may have about biking in the Charente or Charente Maritime areas. And if you need more information, Natasha will be more than willing to follow up with answers to all of your questions.
Bike Hire Direct has all the equipment you need for family bike trips including 18 speed Kross Hardtail all terrain bikes, kids’ bikes and tandem bikes. They have a wide selection of accessories to make your travel easier. All bike rentals include free helmets, lock and tool kit and full French liability insurance. Delivery and pick up is free throughout the Charente and Charente-Maritime and they will also deliver to Bordeaux.
Bike Hire Direct is the only bike rental company that I encountered that has an early booking and family rental discount. They have a family package that includes two adult bikes and two kids bikes for 150Euros for 5 days, or 250Euros for 10 days. They also have a couple package and have a special discount if you reserve your bikes package before May 1.
The website has a some good information on bike paths in the Charente and Charente-Maritime areas, most of which is in French, but they are making a big effort to include more information in English. If you can’t find the information on bike routes you are looking for on the website, be sure to ask Natasha. You can contact her for information on bike rentals at email@example.com.
I was recommended to Regis Valladon at Bordeaux Scooters by Florent Leroux who runs a bike touring company in Beaune. I contacted Florent when I began looking for a rental in Bordeaux because Detours in France operates self-guided tours in the area, so I knew that he would have a recommendation. Florent agreed that bicycle rentals were often difficult in the area around Bordeaux, so he recommended that I contact Regis Valladon at Bordeaux Scooters.
This company is located in central Bordeaux and has an extensive offering of everything from motorcycles to sales and rental of electric bikes, an increasingly popular choice in Europe. I found it interesting that the company rents Peugeot road bikes, since these are generally very difficult to rent in France. So if you are interested in covering some serious distances, definitely not the kind of recreational biking I do, this may be a good option for you. For all-terrain bikes, Bordeaux Scooters uses the Sparta Maya brand, and you can learn more about it by clicking on the name.
Rentals here are very affordable, ranging from 14Euros/day for an all-terrain bike to 18Euros/day for a road bike to 25Euros/day for an electric bike. Multiple day rates are the bargain here: 75Euros/week for an all-terrain bike, 75Euros/week for a road bike and 149Euros/week for the electric bike. Bordeaux Scooters is located at 47 rue de Tauzia in Bordeaux. For further information, send requests to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Even though this rental company does not rent bikes in the immediate Bordeaux area, I have included it on my list for those people who are riding the Atlantic Route and may be starting their journey in Southwest France near the Spanish Border. If so, this bike rental company is an excellent choice. They are located in the small town of Anglet near the town of Bayonne. They specialize in bike trips and bike rentals in Basque Country and the Landes, and they deliver and pick up anywhere within a 20 km area. They will deliver bikes to Bordeaux, but it can be expensive. According to Bike Atlantic Director Marc Fenies, many people begin their bike trip in the south of France near Bayonne, and then just take the train to return the bikes at the end of the trip. It is less than 2 hours by train.
What is the advantage of using Bike Atlantic? If you are adament about having a Trek all terrain bike for a long bike vacation, this may be your best bet. The company rents 24 speed Trek bikes, including a handlebar bag with lock, spare tube, patch kit and pump. If you don’t have your own panniers, they also can provide them, approximate cost for two weeks is 30Euros per pair. Bike rental is 20Euros/day, 90Euros/week or 160Euros/two weeks. Bike Atlantic also offers a self-guided bike tour of Southwest France beginning in Bayonne and ending in Les Eyzies in the Dordogne Valley. For questions, a rental quote or for additional information, contact Marc Fenies at: email@example.com.
I hope that you will find this information of some use, in the event that you are planning a bicycling trip to the Atlantic Coast of France. You will need to weigh the pros and cons of bringing your own bike versus renting. If I lived in England or another European country and transportation was not such a huge issue, I wouldn’t think twice about bringing my own bike. But between the inconvenience of packing up and carting a bike, paying close to $100 in fees to transport each bike, and trying to figure out where to store the packing box while on vacation, it is just much easier in my mind to rent.