“The Toulouse City Council works to promote the use of bicycles in the city, and to make cycling safer and more spontaneous.” So it says on the city’s website.
In 2013, a magazine called TerraEco made a list of French cities “which are good to ride in”, and they ranked Toulouse as the third best, after Strasbourg and Bordeaux. To decide on the rankings, fifteen criteria were taken into account, including the number of kilometers of bicycle trails, the number of two-way cycling paths, the arrangement of intersections, bike rental and bike parking.
The president of the Toulouse Bicycle Association was not convinced by this ranking, saying it was merely quantitative but not qualitative. “We have many kilometers of bicycle tracks, but the quality is not always acceptable. Still, this is encouraging, it shows that our efforts are bearing fruit.” (As reported in the local newspaper La Dépêche.)
This “House of the Bicycle” is located in the premises of the former Bayard Lock House on the Canal du Midi, facing the Toulouse-Matabiau railway station.
The Bicycle House brings together a number of services and resources for people who use bicycles: urban bicycle rental, a hands-on repair shop, a cycling school for children and adults and a resource center for bicycle tours and political action.
The Bicycle House at 12 boulevard Bonrepos in Toulouse includes a pleasant indoor and outdoor restaurant called Le Vélo Sentimental, which is open for lunch “with traditional cuisine that varies depending on the mood and season.” Throughout the day they offer coffee, drinks and pastries “under the lime tree or in Grandma’s dining room”.
Before leaving Paris, I went online and ordered a seven-day ticket for the bike sharing system VélÔToulouse. This cost me all of five Euros. It is also possible to get a one-day ticket for €1.20, a monthly subscription for ten Euros or a yearly subscription for twenty-five Euros. (The prices are unchanged as of 2019.)
As in these other cities, the ticket or subscription entitles you to unlimited rides of up to thirty minutes at no additional cost. For a ride exceeding thirty minutes there is an additional charge of €0.50 for the next half hour and higher charges for each hour after that.
When my next monthly credit card statement arrived, I found that they had charged me exactly five Euros, meaning that none of my many rides in Toulouse had lasted longer than thirty minutes.
VélÔToulouse has 283 stations (at last count), with more still to be added. The system has about 2600 bicycles.
My photos in this post are from 2014. I revised the text in 2019.