Cycling industry: Atlantic France is a great location to set up your company

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The cycle market (bicycles, parts, and accessories) is experiencing strong growth. In France, nearly 2.8 million bicycles were sold in 2021 and the turnover of the sector amounted to €3.4 billion, representing a 43% augmentation between 2019 and 2021. Atlantic France is positioned as a leader in this sector with a flourishing industry and a dynamic ecosystem.

Already observed before the Covid pandemic, the craze for cycling continues to grow. It is by far the best-selling means of transport in France today. Several factors explain this sharp increase in popularity:

  • environmental awareness
  • The renewed interest in health and well-being (even more so since the health crisis)
  • Urban density and saturation of public transport
  • Soaring fuel costs
  • Financial support from the public authorities for the purchasing of bicycles and the development of infrastructures
  • The democratisation of e-bikes which now represent nearly one in four bicycles sold in France

In the face of this high demand and the evolution of uses, the French industry is structured with the ambition of regaining its position as a world leader in the bicycle industry and freeing itself from its dependence on suppliers which are mainly based in Asia.

A market with real opportunities for growth

At a time when relocation and re-industrialisation policies are being implemented, the bicycle offers manufacturers real opportunities for business growth. Components, batteries, and connectivity are becoming key elements in value creation mechanisms. These technological developments are attracting the interest of large groups. 

In addition, retrofitting is attracting new entrepreneurs and startups are starting to convert old bicycles into e-bikes. The economic challenge is not just an industrial one. The bicycle ecosystem is diverse and includes service, repair and maintenance, logistics, and cycle tourism. This sector as a whole will also be a major source of job creation in the coming years: more than 110,000 new jobs are estimated to be created in France by 2030*.

*Source: Estimation of the French think tank Shift Project based on a strong transformation of the bicycle industry in France (relocation and reindustrialisation).

Atlantic France THE region for cycling

Key figures on cycling in Atlantic France

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#1 French region for using bicycles to commute

(INSEE, 2017)

+3,400 km of cycle routes marked and signposted

#1 cycling destination in France

with 3 major cycle routes: La Loire à Vélo, La Vélodyssée and La Vélo Francette

The cycling industry is very present in Atlantic France. Around fifty cycling companies are registered in the region (including manufacturers of bicycles and equipment, as well as shelters, charging stations, and accessories for cyclists). A few examples :

  • La Manufacture Française du Cycle: the leading bicycle manufacturer in France
  • Arcade Cycle: e-bike specialist 
  • Velco: leader in bicycle connection systems
  • Abri Plus:  the number 1 French cycle shelter company
  • La Ruche à vélo: secure and connected bike parking solution
  • Neomouv: e-bike designer
  • Egide: bicycle helmet manufacturer
  • Sportfabric: designer and manufacturer of cycle bags
  • Red Motion: innovative Baramind® handlebar manufacturers
  • Rustin: inventor of the famous tire patch

Atlantic France is a leader in the sector, and this is backed by a real political will to support and develop the use of the bicycle. From the creation of cycle routes, to the development of infrastructure and safe parking, to support for the purchasing of e-bikes and folding bikes, the regional council promotes and encourages the use of bicycles and continues its activities in favour of cycle tourism (and leisure cycling in particular).

Breaking news!

CyGO: a new interregional network for bike professionals

Bicycle operators in the Atlantic France, Brittany, and Centre-Val de Loire regions are organising themselves to support the growth of bicycle sales in France. They have just set up CyGO, an association of cycle businesses in Western France created by Arcade Cycle, Velco, and Wello. The aim? To develop a sector that creates added value and jobs in these regions by accelerating industrial relocation, promoting innovation, and developing training.

Bluemooov moves its cargo bike production to Atlantic France

Bluemooov, a company based in the region of Paris which has been manufacturing the boxes, frames, and various components of its cargo bikes in Tunisia, is bringing its production back to France. Atlantic France was chosen as the site for the relocation thanks to the presence of a large network of subcontractors. Bluemooov has set itself the initial target of delivering between 300 and 500 bicycles from 2023, with an expected increase to 1,000 in 2024.

Unicy develops a French gearbox solution for bicycles

Unicy, a new company created by the IMT Atlantique engineering school in Nantes, has developed a new transmission system for bicycles. The aim is to offer a French alternative to traditional bicycle transmission systems such as chains, belts, or gears, which are mainly produced in Asia. This new generation of universal joints has been designed so that it can be manufactured in Atlantic France using perfectly mastered technologies.

Velco preparing to accelerate its growth

After raising €3 million in 2018 and €5 million in 2021, Velco is preparing a new funding round to support its growth, which exceeded 100% last year. The company offers innovative IoT solutions for e-bikes, and has entered a strategic partnership with Valeo.

Bike shelters: Abri Plus invests €6.5 million

Abri Plus, which is experiencing very solid growth, is investing €6.5 million in building a 5,800 sqm workshop near Nantes. This will enable the company to increase its production and create around fifty jobs.

Captain Blink about to launch its luminous armband

The Nantes start-up Captain Blink has invented an intelligent luminous armband for cyclists and scooter riders. It can detect and signal braking and is connected to a remote control to indicate changes in direction. A crowdfunding campaign is in preparation.

Neomouv sales explode

The company Neomouv, based in the Sarthe department, has multiplied its turnover by 2.5 in 2022. The e-bike manufacturer raised €4 million at the beginning of the year and has particularly benefited from the strength of the sporting goods retailer Decathlon, which distributes its products.