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  • MTB hire in Marseille
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    Free Member

    Hi all; off to Marseille next week, so hoping someone might know a decent bike hire place that does MTBs, and not just those awful heavy city hire bikes that seem to be everywhere now. Electric bikes definitely an option if they offer more range. Plan is to explore some of the surrounding countryside, the Calanques are supposed to be excellent for biking. Any advice or tips greatly appreciated, thanks.

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    Free Member

    No ideas?? Perhaps people are too busy on the various politics threads! 🤣 Forgive me for thinking this was an MTB forum…

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    Free Member

    Come on people; I’m off next week. Would be good to get some ideas for hiring decent bikes.

    thegeneralist
    Full Member

    Not got any experience but googled fahrradverleih just to see if the krauts had any ideas you haven’t already tried….

    https://trolib.rezdy.com/435475/location-vtt-electrique-tout-suspendu-marseille-full-suspension-e-mountain-bike-rental

    No idea if this is kosher, but looks like a cool idea to pimp your ride …
    https://www.listnride.de/products/50692

    Looks like one of the hirers on the link above might be this place ( judging by the photos)

    Bike rental

    too bloody old
    Free Member

    The Calanques are stunning…I use to climb there 40 years ago when a house in Cassis could be purchased for 50k !! I would remember that crime in and around Marseille is like parts of North london/manchester etc so be on your toes and make sure you are fully covered for theft if you do hire etc .My nephew lives in Toulon and Bike theft there is very high

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    Free Member

    Some responses! Praise the Lord!😀

    Thanks @thegeneralist; the last link is the place I found. My wife is particularly interested in the electric MTBs. That could be a lot of fun.

    I would remember that crime in and around Marseille is like parts of North london/manchester etc so be on your toes

    We live in north London. It’s not as bad as people who don’t actually live there think it is. I’m sure if we can survive here, we can survive in Marseille.

    Just out of interest @too bloody old; have you experienced crime in Marseille recently? On what information are you basing your advice?

    configuration
    Free Member

    Well we’ve reluctantly returned to a grey and damp UK, so here’s some feedback for anyone who might be vaguely interested…

    We used the aforementioned EVTT hire service, based in La Pointe Rouge which is a suburb to the south of Marseille. Hire for a full suspension e-MTB was €61 per day, which is fairly expensive for bike hire, but I suppose reasonable given the initial cost of such bikes. Which were Cube Stereos; I had a 140 and my wife, the 120. Both were fitted with dropper posts, making fit easier, and flat pedals, although you can also hire Shimano clipless pedals if you so choose. The hire service is run out of a garage beneath some apartments, right on the seafront, very close to the ferry service into Marseille centre. We got a bus from Castellane, the no.19, which stops just 100m or so away.

    We were instructed to use an app, Outdooractive, and to scan a QR code to download a route guide, although the app will show several others. We mostly followed the guide into the Calanques national park. Not being as fit as we could the electric assistance was pretty much essential; lots of climbing, a lot of elevation gain in a short space of time. The climb up from the Calanque de Sourmio took about 10 minutes; I reckon it would take 3-4 times that without the E. The bikes had different levels of assistance, from ‘Eco’, good for flat roads, ‘Tour’, a general purpose setting, ‘EMTB’, for a little extra over bumpier terrain, and’Turbo’, which is really fun up steep climbs. A ‘cheat mode’! The greater the level of assistance, the more battery it uses, of course. The route would have taken us right into Cassis, but we chose to cut our journey short because we were a bit concerned about being stranded with flat batteries. We got back with 40-50% each though, so I think our fears were unfounded really. I think the bikes have around a 55-60km range with the Tour setting.

    AS for the bikes themselves; obviously very heavy. The 140 in particular, was a beast. The turning was restricted by the fork crown, so not very good in tighter/technical situations. The assistance takes a moment to kick in, so wasn’t very helpful in the trickier bits. You can’t just put the power down to get out of say a rut etc, like a normal bike. And the bikes were very long; we’re used to riding 26″ wheeled bikes, it’s been a while since we did any MTBing, and the larger wheels and longer wheelbase made for ponderous and slow handling, I felt. My wife found getting on and off and going a bit of an issue, because of the weight. And the handlebars were ridiculously too wide. We did stick mainly to wide tracks, but this fashion for very wide bars isn’t for everyone; surely bars should be proportionate to your torso size? My saddle was an evil torture device; I forgot to take cycling shorts. Doh. 😖 But overall, it was a fun and positive experience; stunning scenery and views, a truly beautiful part of the world. We will be returning, and will probably hire bikes again for a similar type of day out or longer; a week’s hire is obviously cheaper per day. Would definitely recommend the service, but I do think it helps if you have a good understanding of MTBing and bikes; you’ll be quite exposed out on the trails, and you may well not see anyone depending on where you go. As I said; we stuck mainly to wider, marked tracks, for which the bikes were overkill, but there are countless unmarked trails all over the place. Marseille is surrounded by some pretty big hills; the Alps aren’t that far away. This isn’t Swinley Forest!

    As for Marseille itself; it’s an amazing city, so much to see, so rich in history and culture. The oldest city in France. Visit the History Museum to see loads of Roman artifacts etc. Fantastic views from the Fort de St Jean, and the Notre Dame de la Guarde. Great little beaches in the aptly named La Plage area. And some of the best food I’ve had whilst on holdiay; too many good places to mention, but L’Aromat and [R]égal for lunch, Marafiki, Baskawaï and Limmat for evening meals were all excellent. We ate out in the evenings for around €35-40 each including wine and desserts. Lunch menus are
    generally cheaper still; €20 a head inc dessert and coffee. The Rue Saint Laurent, near the old port and St Jean, has coffee and burgers in a very unassuming location. And a real must for me, was Sylvain Depuichaffray for patisseries; works of edible art. Pricey, and a bit snobby tbh, but you won’t find better anywhere else. Fact. I may have put on a few pounds… 😳

    In response to comments regarding crime etc; Marseille is blighted by poverty and inequality, and the same ravages of Capitalism we are seeing across Europe now. Racism plays a big part in demonising minority communities, as it does in so many other places. This is exacerbated further by successive governments failing to address genuine societal needs, and instead pandering always to big businesses etc.The Joliette area is scarred by the same kind of wilful social cleansing and corporate greed we see globally. Whilst it is of course easy to have a rose-tinted view of a place form a position of privilege, I will also say that the socio-economic deprivation is very visible and not to be ignored. We weren’t scared of being mugged, like many privileged tourists might be, but also mindful to be cautious, as we are at home. Bu the biggest crimes we witnessed were perpetrated not by individuals but by the very same breed of elitism we get at home. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. We’ll definitely be returning.

    FunkyDunc
    Free Member

    Interesting ‘review’ we are going there next year for the Rugby World cup. I was a little hesitant on the choice of Marseille given its troubled history and crime.

    stanfree
    Free Member

    I love Marseille , we had a family holiday there about 4 years ago .We stayed near the velodrome where Marseille play . We did Cassis and the Callanques which were beautiful . We were there during the World cup and went out for all the France games and the atmosphere was superb . I never felt threatened or in danger even down at the African market which is worth a visit. If you go back take the boat to Froul and IF which are interesting wee places. I’d love to go back , It had the same sort of vibe as Barcelona I found but maybe not as good for restaraunts and bars.

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    Free Member

    I was a little hesitant on the choice of Marseille given its troubled history and crime.

    Like any large city, Marseille is going to have its share of problems. The difference is that in Marseille, unlike say Paris, the ‘problems’ aren’t pushed out of sight to the outer suburbs the tourists never visit, they are very visible in the centre of town. Families with kids, begging in front of popular tourist attractions. You won’t see such in Westminster and the West End, because the local authority cleanses the streets of ‘undesirables’, and pushes them out to other places where they don’t ‘matter’ as much. This is something that you should always consider when visiting any large town or city, anywhere. Marseille also has a far greater ethnic and cultural mix than many other places; racism plays a big part in helping to create fear in visitors, that is often unfounded. But Marseille also has a history of accepting migrants in a a way that many other French towns and cities wouldn’t; the prominence of the far-right in France means that many regions are full of backward racist attitudes. Even in the oh-so-cosmopolitan Paris, there are far greater social divides, and ‘ghettoisation’ of minorities. Like most places; money gets spent on the wealthier areas, and the poor are ignored. Go to the popular resorts such as Cannes, Antibes, St Tropez etc, and you’ll see a far ‘whiter’ demographic; rich people don’t want undesirables anywhere near them. Monoculture is familiar, secure, safe. But Marseille has so much more to offer, so is well worth a visit.

    I’d love to go back , It had the same sort of vibe as Barcelona I found but maybe not as good for restaraunts and bars.

    IMO, Barcelona was ‘over’ about 15-20 years ago. Last time I visited was in 2006, and it was a bit of a mess compared to what it was like in the 90s. I imagine it’s only more corporate and crap now. You have to really look for decent food at places that don’t rip you off. Friends who are from/have lived there, say it’s nowhere near as nice as it was at its peak following the Olympics in ’92. What were good little local family restaurants and bars, have gone and been replaced by (more expensive) corporate chains/crap tourist food type places. Air BnB etc have meant living costs have spiralled up, with locals forced out due to huge accommodation costs; foreign money buying up swathes of housing just as ‘investments’. You can still find a good vibe in Barca, you just have to look harder and have a bit of local knowledge. I loved the place, but I doubt I’d go back now.

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