A long time ago that father’s bicycle fell into oblivion. Those offered by self-service municipalities were emulated. The bicycle in general and the electrically-assisted bicycle (EVA) in particular have gained popularity, mainly thanks to the repeated strike movements in transport in recent years. A new type of mobility has emerged, essentially electric, which combines single wheels, bicycles, cycles, scooters and self-service scooters, by subscription or on their own, eventually shared between individuals.
Many encouraging factors to put the car aside
Many factors have combined to create this phenomenon. We can cite, among other things, the contribution financed by cities to encourage people to abandon the car in urban centers, the implementation of the Durable Forfait Mobilités (FMD) system, which partially finances commuting by bicycle or scooter for civil servants private and public sector, the creation of cycle paths, the renaissance of creativity among manufacturers, in addition to the increase in the price of gasoline and the cost of transport.
But the main motivations of the new adopters of electric mobility are, without a doubt, the pandemic, which has led many to abandon public transport, and the fight against global warming, which has become one of the main global causes.
Cycling today, whether it’s a mountain bike, an e-bike, a family cargo bike, a fat bike, or a fancy, “branded” bike from a couture brand, is no longer just a means of getting around. or practice a physical activity, is the marker of a commitment, the affirmation that we are participating in the decarbonization of transport.
Because the bicycle, in this regard, is virtuous. In addition to half an hour a day helping to reduce the risk of cardiovascular accidents by half, the bicycle, even electric, pollutes ten times less per kilometer than the bus and 100 times less than a car with a combustion engine.
Cycling is not fashion
The strong growth of the market over the last two years (+43% in value) attests to the enthusiasm for all types of two-wheeled vehicles. In 2021, 2.8 million bicycles were sold in France for a value of 3.4 billion euros, and almost one in four was VAE. More expensive than conventional bicycles, the latter represent around 60% of the global market by value.
In the latest edition of its cycle observatory, Union Sport & Cycle (US&C), which brings together companies in the sports, leisure and smooth mobility sector, states that “despite a health crisis that turned into a lasting economic crisis, the bicycle market continued to grow, confirming the trend of recent years: the bicycle is not a fad, but a revolution in individual transport in our country. France thus appears to be one of the most dynamic markets in Europe in the coming years”.
Velorution in numbers
- 3.4 billion euros: this is the bicycle market in France in 2021, growing by 15% compared to 2020.
- 660,000 of the 2.8 million bikes sold in France in 2021 were VAEs. This segment represents 24% of the global market in units (one in four motorcycles) and 59% in value (€2 billion).
- 800,000 bicycles were produced in France in 2021 (+21% compared to 2020), half of which were pedelecs. By 2022, production should approach one million units.
- A bicycle trip emits 10 times less greenhouse gases (GHG) per kilometer than a bus trip and 100 times less than a car trip.
- ½ hour of cycling a day cuts the risk of cardiovascular accidents in half.
- twoand world destination for cycling tourism after Germany, France is aiming for first place in the ranking by 2030.
- 20% of bicycle tourists are foreigners, Germans and Dutch in the lead.
A futuristic means of transport
To meet the most diverse expectations of its new followers, the bike adapts. It can be scanned, connected, geolocated to be found quickly in case of theft, and can even be remotely unlocked to help a friend in need. When it’s electric, your batteries become more efficient, less polluting and even repairable. They charge faster and provide longer battery life. Bikes can now be configured and customized online, more or less tall to fit all profiles, equipped with child seats, front basket or phone holder, etc.
Although the Taiwanese manufacturer Giant, which this year celebrates its 50th anniversary, remains one of the main players in the market, US&C highlights the advance in production. made in France, which accounted for nearly 30% of 2021 sales: “According to initial forecasts, production in France in 2022 could reach 976,000 bicycles, more than 50% of which are electrically assisted. » Several companies or start-ups have invested in the mobility segment and offer interesting innovations around the bicycle.
This is the case, for example, of the French start-ups Virvolt and Effigear or the English Swytch, which offer electrification kits for classic bicycles; smooth mobility that promotes the circular economy and avoids waste! Also on the accessories side, innovation is needed to protect cyclists and make them more visible in traffic.
Cosmo, known for its helmet-mounted removable brake light, has developed a lighted, waterproof backpack that connects to the Delsey luggage rack. Lumos, a Boston-born start-up, has developed luminous helmets that incorporate a brake light and turn signals, which can be used on a bike, scooter or skateboard. Smooth mobility, yes, but with complete safety!
Bicycle “as a service”
On a mission for a few months in a city far from your home, because you don’t have the instinct of ownership or simply because you prefer to leave the care of the insurance and maintenance of your motorcycle to third parties, there are more and more reasons to resort to temporary rental or Long term. And the cities understood that! After La Rochelle, a pioneer in this field, they have long offered self-service and subscription bicycles, Vélib’ in Paris, Vélo’v in Lyon, V3 (pronounced “vivibe”) for the urban community of Bordeaux, Vélhop in Strasbourg, etc. A great success!
In Paris and in the 60 municipalities of the metropolis connected to the Vélib’ service, around 150,000 trips are made every day by adept, enthusiastic, amateur or occasional cyclists, more than half of them with electric bicycles. VAE manufacturers also wanted to capitalize on the craze for this type of rental. More and more of them are offering all-inclusive e-bike subscriptions, often with no time commitment. Most brands offer a real concierge, which manages the handling of the bike and the app that accompanies it, insurance, anti-theft system and even repair or replacement in case
At Decathlon, the range extends from the classic or electric model to the folding bike, without commitment after 3 months. Swapfiets bikes, available in many European cities, especially in Holland, the brand’s origin, in Germany and Denmark, but also in France, Barcelona and Milan, are delivered wherever the customer wants and can be repaired within 48 hours.
Same formulas for Dance or Motto, whose models adopt their own urban codes of black and metallic. A novelty stands out: the Swedish Vässla offers an electric cycle by subscription. Neither scooter nor bicycle, because it has no pedals, much less a scooter, Vässla Bike plays with ambiguity. Usable on bike paths, it stands out for its small wheels and sharp saddle that give it a unique look.