In recent years, there has been a general increase in the use of bicycles. 40% of the French population use bicycles regularly, which is equivalent to 22 million French people. 5% cycle daily and 7% weekly.
This dynamic was initiated by the arrival of electrically-assisted bicycles, accelerated by the COVID19 crisis, and benefits from strong support from local authorities and the State through the bicycle plan, and the development of infrastructures adapted to the practice of cycling (cycle tracks, secure parking, park-and-ride facilities to encourage intermodality, etc.). The ambition is to triple the modal share of cycling in daily travel, from an average of 3% in France to 9% by 2024. By way of comparison, the modal share of cycling in the Netherlands is close to 30%, and over 10% in Germany.
The sustainable and active mobility sector, which is still in its infancy, is being structured to meet all new needs and is highly innovative: fleets of shared bicycles, company bicycles, long-term rental for individuals, itinerant maintenance services, not to mention the development of solutions for the transportation of goods over the first and last few kilometers.
However, the return to the forefront of the scene of the little queen is not without difficulty, and reminds the strong dependence of this sector to Asia.
The sudden increase in demand, coupled with disruptions in the global supply chain due to the COVID and other epiphenomena such as the bicycle boost, have made the supply of components and finished products complex, creating shortages on certain references. Delivery times have increased from a few weeks to several months.
This tension is likely to persist for several years, until manufacturers increase their production capacity and a balance is found between supply and demand. The industry is also organizing itself to stimulate the relocation of a certain number of components to France or the EU. Some manufacturers see this as a great opportunity to diversify into a new and growing business sector.
Training is another challenge for the active and sustainable mobility sector, with the technological evolution of bicycles, which are becoming increasingly complex by integrating an electric drive train, and with the exploding demand for maintenance, with new users who are less familiar with bicycles and who are therefore looking for a turnkey offer, and also sometimes for support to get back in the saddle. Finally, many projects to relocate cycle assembly in France are underway, which also requires specific skills. Faced with this challenge, several actors and training organizations are in the process of setting up adapted structures. The state has also announced the opening of the Academy of Bicycle Professions, with the ambition of training 500 cycle mechanics per year.