UPDATE: How to get €50 to cover the cost of your bike repairs in France

A popular bike repair scheme offering €50 subsidies for all cyclists in France has been extended until spring, the French government has announced.

UPDATE: How to get €50 to cover the cost of your bike repairs in France
Parisians bike alongside the Seine river banks. Photo: AFP

The €50 subsidy, initially available until the end of the year, will now be available until March 31st, Environment Minister Barbara Pompili said on Monday.

“In a context of another easing of lockdown, the government wants to encourage the French to choose the bike to get around,” the French ministry for ecological transition said in a press statement.

Over 1 million bike owners had made use of the scheme as of November 24th, the government said.

The bonus can only be used once.

How does it work? 

Before taking your bike to be fixed, you'll need to visit the website to indicate that you are a “private individual” and that you “want to get your bike fixed”. 

After clicking on both those options, you will have to chose where you want to take your bike to get fixed using the interactive map listing all certified shops offering the service. 

How do you get the €50?

When making the appointment, your will need to provide your full name, date of birth and phone number. After registering you will receive a text message to confirm your appointment.

The €50 bonus will be removed automatically from your bill when paying and will turn up on your receipt. Just don't forget to bring your phone and ID card as proof.

What kind of repairs are we talking about?

A pretty wide range of services, from changing tyres to repairing the brakes. If in doubt whether your specific repair will be covered, just ask when setting up the appointment.

Security accessories such as locks, reflective vest, helmet and lamps will not be covered by the scheme.

Why would they give €50 to fix your bike?

Authorities across France strive to turn Paris and other cities more bike-friendly to initiate more people to choose the bicycle over other more polluting means of transportation. 

Authorities in the capital and other French cities have turned hundreds of traffic lanes into protected “coronapiste” bike paths, encouraging the cycling boom seen since the first lockdown was lifted in May.

Is it working?

It seems like it. Use of bike lanes overall jumped 30 percent this summer compared with the same period last year.

“We're living a bike moment,” Pompili said earlier this year, adding that the government's primary role was to ensure that all cyclists, from longtime commuters to novices, “can ride in complete security”.

READ ALSO: Why are cyclists in Paris more numerous than ever?

Overall, some €80 million will be spent on the subsidies as officials try to reduce dependence on public transport in a bid to cut coronavirus contagions.

Some €200 million will also be spent as part of France's €100 billion economic recovery plan to build secure parking spots at train stations and finance around 600 new bike paths over the next two years.



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What are the rules on taking your bike on the train in France?

The French government is keen to encourage cycling and has published a decree relating to bike commuting, but travelling on a train with a bike can still be quite complicated.

What are the rules on taking your bike on the train in France?
Photo: Jacques Demarthon/AFP

Can I commute with my bike? 

The French government is keen to encourage ‘multimode’ commuting – or people who cycle part of the way to work and take the train or bus for the rest.

On June 10th 2021, it published a decree which makes it mandatory for SNCF train stations and Paris’ RATP stations which have high numbers of passengers to provide secured parking spaces for bikes by 2024. This obligation concerns 1,133 train stations, which represent 37 percent of all train stations in France. 

How can I carry my bike on the train?

When it comes to taking a bike on longer train journeys, the rules vary depending on the type of train you are using. 

You can bring your bike, without having to disassemble it, on every TER (regional train) for free and without having to make a reservation, but keep in mind that space is limited. Since March 2021, every new trains or trains that are being renovated must have at least 8 spaces for bikes on board. 

Some TGVs (high-speed trains) and most Intercités (non high-speed national trains) offer a possibility to take your bike aboard, and in those where you can, you must make a reservation online or at the train station when you buy your ticket. 

THIS MAP allows you to check all the main long distance train lines that allow bikes on board.

When to take the train with your bike? 

In TERs, spaces for bikes are available on a first-come, first-served basis and cannot be booked, therefore it’s better not to travel during rush hours. 

You’ll find special information about when and how to travel with your bike on TGVs and Intercités on the SNCF website. 

How to reserve a spot for your bike?

For TERs, making a reservation is not possible. 

For TGVs and Intercités, if you want to travel with an assembled bike, you must make a reservation for a dedicated spot when you buy your ticket on the website . The price to add a bike on a TGV starts from 10€ and from 5€ on an Intercités. Adding a bike after you bought your ticket is not possible. 

Also, it’s important to note that you won’t be able to reserve a space for your bike when you  make a reservation from your phone on the app You can add a bike from your phone with the app Trainline

How to carry a disassembled bike?

You can carry your bike in every SNCF trains as long as it is disassembled in a bag which dimensions doesn’t exceed 90x120cm. In this case, it is considered hand luggage. 

Are trailers, tandems and cargo bikes allowed? 

Only regular bikes are accepted on trains. Carrying recumbent bikes, tricycles, tandems or trailers is not allowed. Only one train makes an exception during summer: the train Loire à Vélo, a train that goes from Nevers in the Center of France to the Atlantic Coast

Special info and tips if you want to travel by train with your bike this summer 

On the line Bretagne / TER : From June 7th to September 30th 2021, making a reservation for your bike to travel on a TER in the Bretagne région is mandatory. You will have to pay 3€ per bike and you can only reserve a ticket that includes a bike on the website

Travelling with the Train Loire à Vélo : This train that goes from the city of Orléans to Le Croisic on the Atlantic Coast is back on track. The ride is free and you don’t have to make a reservation for your bike. 

The Nouvelle-Aquitaine / La Vélodyssée service : In the Nouvelle Aquitaine region which includes Bordeaux and Biarritz, a special TER service with bikes allowed will be working from mid-July to August 2021. It will be free and without reservation, you can find some info on this map

On the line ViaRhôna / TER Lyon – Avignon : From July 3rd to September 19th, it will be possible to travel between the cities of Lyon and Avignon by train with your bike but only during week-ends and bank holidays. You must make a reservation and the price per bike will be of 3€.

La Véloscénie :  is a special itinerary for people who want to cycle between Paris and the Mont Saint-Michel and visit different places along the journey. From May to September the line from Paris to Pontorson Mont Saint-Michel embarks your bikes for free.