A guide for local restaurants, hotels, chambres d’hôtes, shops, markets and any other public areas.

The problem in Provence

Bike Parking is an issue, that is constantly underrated. But for cyclists it is essential. They avoid a market or a restaurant, if they cannot safely park their bikes. A hotel or chambre d’hôtes without a safe place for the night is a major problem for cyclists. They want to find their bicycles the next morning in the same state as they left them. Worries about the bike are the least they want.

It isn’t surprising that, in a region where everyday cycling is rare, local businesses generally forget to offer cyclists parking space. All too often, cyclists are forced to look for a fence, a railing or a lamppost elsewhere and somehow find a way to lock their bike securely. Unfortunately, we find this situation almost everywhere here. For example, the market in Barjols. Compare the thought and space given to cycle parking with that given to car parking.

Then there are the businesses which make an effort, but are unaware of best practice.  So-called rim killers are set up. Their location is often an after-thought, installed in such a way that the bicycle does not even have room to be placed there. With this version, which is obviously the cheapest, only the front wheel can be connected, so the bike is easy to steal, the thief just leaves the front wheel and takes the rest.

A rim killer at Intermarché, Barjols.

A Guide to Good Cycle Parking

There is already plenty of advice available online that can provide guidance for local businesses who want to become more cycle-friendly. Here we provide an overview.

 What kind of installation?

It is widely agreed that the hoop, l’arceau, or Sheffield stand, is the best type of installation for most circumstances. Here is the view of the Fédération Française des Usagers de la Bicyclette (FUB):

A rare sheffield stand at Contact, Barjols.

“The hoop has many advantages: it can be used to attach at least the frame and one wheel; it is very affordable; and it is easy to adapt the number of hoop systems to real needs. Grouped in series of five, spaced 50 to 60 cm apart, the hoops can accommodate about ten cycles for the equivalent of one car space.”

Sheffield stands are easy to obtain online, generally cost less than €100 in France, and are easy to install. Avoid Amazon – their selection is dominated by cheap rim killers.

These types of installation are quite adequate for short-stay business like shops, restaurants and cinemas. For longer stays, at hotels, chambres-d’hôtes and workplaces, facilities should ideally be offered that are sheltered and in a lockable space.

Where to install bike parking

Ideally, cycle parking needs to be:

* closer than, or as close to, the nearest available car parking for the destination in question

* in public view (or covered by security measures such as CCTV or a cage with an access code)

* sheltered (if long-stay)

* well maintained and lit at night

In many cases, businesses such as restaurants and supermarkets will already have car parking space that can easily be re-purposed. For smaller shops, cafés, and village centres, the local authority needs to create cycle parking on public space. Creative thinkers often provide cycle parking at points where it aids traffic visibility. For example, removing a car parking space beside a junction. Replacing this with cycle parking can give motorists a clearer line of sight.

Long stay parking need not be a special facility. Using part of a garage or shed is often all that is needed. But always bear in mind that access needs to be as simple as possible. For example stairs should be avoided.

To summarise, the safest way to park a bicycle is a lockable garage or shed. Where this is not possible, cyclists need a way to securely lock their bike to something solid. The basic rule for this is: the frame of the bike – not just the front wheel – must be able to be attached to a fixed object with a safety lock.

Links with more information: