INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE OF THE VÉLOTAF FOR HOME – WORK TRAVEL
The use of bicycles for commuting is booming in France .
Started around fifteen years ago, this mode of travel has grown enormously since the COVID crisis. Cycling is becoming more and more popular for short distance journeys. A craze that particularly affects residents of large cities or areas that have invested in cycling facilities allowing people to cycle to get to work.
How is Vélotaf developing and what are its advantages and its evolution in the future? Here is a spotlight on this practice of cycling.
Summary of Vélotaf
What exactly is cycling?
“Velotaf”. This new portmanteau stems from a contraction between the word “bicycle” and the word “taf” and is used to “designate the fact of going to work by bicycle” .
The expression appeared in the 2000s. Previously marginal, traveling by bicycle to work has literally exploded. One in five French people living in large cities rides on their scooter to travel between home and work.
Curiously, cycle workers refer to those who ride their bike to get to their place of work and do not apply to professionals who work with their bike (delivery workers).
The portrait of the cycle worker corresponds to a person aged 42 on average, professional executive (61%), in a relationship with dependent child(ren) (38%). A study published by INSEE* shows that four times more executives than craftsmen use this means of transport to go to work.
Why is it interesting to start cycling?
What if happiness was simple like cycling? According to figures from the Active Mobility Barometer, 57% consider that city cycling improves their quality of life. Cycling provides both physical exercise and savings.
Cyclists are no longer dependent on traffic conditions. They are no longer concerned about traffic jams or the price of fuel at the pump. According to the YouTuber "Altis play" who is a fan of cycling, using two wheels to go to work is ten times cheaper than using a car ! An estimate that takes into account the purchase of equipment and accessories, insurance, maintenance costs, etc. Thus the bill amounts to 0.58 euros for 440 4 km journeys by traditional bicycle and 0.70 euros for the electric bike compared to 6.80 euros for the car.
Velotaf which bike to choose?
It's decided, you're going to take the bike to work! You are joining the club of cycle workers who have continued to grow over the last two years in France.
But for that, you need to equip yourself for cycling...
What are the essential elements and what are the most practical accessories for cycling in all weathers and in complete safety?
Here is our advice accompanied by a checklist of recommended or essential equipment to have before getting on your little queen.
Choosing a bicycle for commuting
We can never say it enough: cycling is excellent for your health and the environment. Not only will you save fuel and reduce your carbon footprint, but as a bonus you will train your cardio and rediscover a pleasant feeling of freedom by freeing yourself from the constraints of traffic.
However, before enjoying all the benefits of cycling, you must own a bicycle.
Two options are available to you :
- either you put your old bike stored at the back of the garage back into service,
- or you take advantage of financial aid from the State to purchase a bicycle from all the models offered by the manufacturers.
The foldable bike to save space
If storing your bike, both at home and at your workplace, is a problem due to lack of space or if you are looking for a practical model to transport, we recommend the folding bike .
In just a few seconds, you can store it in the trunk of a car or store it in a luggage storage area.
The commuter will appreciate it for getting to the office, especially if he has to climb stairs to shelter him. The mini-bike makes it easy to get around an urban area and there is an electric version of the folding bike.
Electric Velotafthe electric bike (VAE) you need
You like physical exertion, but you don't want to systematically arrive out of breath and exhausted at work . Red cheeks and heavy breathing are not suitable for speaking in meetings.
In this case, the electric bike will be the chosen one of your choice.
It is recommended for making significant journeys and climbing large height differences. The VAE exists in all models (road, cargo, folding, gravel, mountain bike, etc.). To help you find the perfect electric commuter, assess your needs and the distance of your commuting trips. You will immediately know what the battery life should be.
The bigger your budget, the more your electric bike will be equipped with a powerful and smooth motor to climb significant hills. Also check that you can remove the battery easily to avoid theft.
We remind you that by decree, the electric bike is limited to 25 km/h.
The cargo bike for transporting children, dogs, shopping, picnics, camping equipment, Christmas gifts, etc.
For parents wanting to commute and drop off their children at school or daycare on their way, the cargo bike will simplify their lives.
Designed to seat up to 4 toddlers on certain models, the cargo model requires a little practice due to its very low center of gravity. You can also use it to carry your shopping bags.
In the city, it is a very practical means of family transport which is increasingly replacing the car in homes.
The city bike: comfort for urban commuters
We immediately think of the Dutch bike when we talk about the city bike.
Its ergonomic position, large wheels and a wide, padded saddle offer real comfort for commuting.
You will appreciate its elegant look and its practical aspects. The bicycle bags and the luggage rack are very useful for transporting your office belongings, storing some purchases on the way back and protecting them in case of rain.
Cycling equipment, what do you need first?
Before setting out on the roads and traffic with your bike, it is essential to make it as safe as possible to avoid the risk of accidents and their consequences.
Here are accessories that will make bikes safer day and night. Adopting them is also the best way to assert yourself as a commuter responsible for everyone's safety:
- A bell attached to the handlebars that can be activated quickly if necessary, to make you heard and seen.
- A reflective vest, usually yellow, is mandatory for cycling on the road at night.
- A bicycle light is part of the mandatory equipment on a bicycle. Make sure it performs well. The red lights at the rear and white at the front are necessary for a night trip. Without them, cyclists on the roadway are not visible to motorists.
- Reflectors attached to the spokes of the bike to increase your visibility as soon as the light drops or to ride in foggy weather in winter.
- Self-adhesive reflective stickers to place on saddlebags or any smooth surface to be seen anywhere at night.
- A bicycle helmet : although it is not obligatory for adults, it is strongly recommended for head protection in the event of a fall. However, if you are transporting children, they must wear one if they are under 12 years old. You can improve your visibility by adding reflective strips or lighting to attach to the helmet shell .
- A smartphone holder to securely hold your cell phone and stay connected on the road. Many applications allow you to use guidance systems to choose your routes. Choosing the Vélofaf allows you to avoid the hassle of traffic and traffic jams. But in the event of disruptions, being able to quickly change your routes and calculate a route that will prevent you from arriving late at the office is valuable.
- Mudguards on bicycles are essential to protect against splashing water and mud from the road. You can combine it with protection around the chain, which is also very useful so as not to dirty the bottom of the pants with grease stains from the bike chain.
- A luggage bag attached to the bike is an accessory you won't be able to do without. It avoids carrying a bag that can unbalance you and keep you hot in summer.
- A basic repair kit consisting of a flat and Phillips screwdriver, a few Allen keys, a pair of tire levers, a puncture repair spray and of course, a pump and a tube. air. In winter, remember to use a defrost spay to unblock the anti-theft lock which can freeze in negative temperatures.
- An anti-theft device will reduce the risk of not finding your bicycle or electric bike when you leave the office, especially if you don't have a place to store it during the day.
- Bike clips or a skirt clip to avoid getting the bottom of your pants dirty and to weigh down the bottom of your skirt.
The essentials for dressing (well)
The commuter's mantra must be " there is no bad weather, only bad clothes ." To face the cold , the rain and the heat , you need to be well equipped, because there is no question of arriving at the office in shorts when cycling. This could stand out among the suits, suits and blazers of certain companies…
The commuter must learn to combine clothing that allows you to cycle comfortably and be presentable at your workplace .
There is no ideal outfit for cycling, but equipment chosen by cyclists based on the weather. Technical materials like Gore-Tex are the most suitable for cycling. They are specially designed for sports and offer elasticity , breathability , easy maintenance and quick drying . The cuts are designed to provide ease of movement.
Winter velotaf outfit: warm and breathable clothing
There's nothing worse than feeling squeezed into clothing while cycling. Gestures are restricted and we feel less comfortable driving a bike.
To stay warm and be protected from the cold which is felt more when traveling, wear technical underwear under a thin sweater that maintains body heat. Add a sleeveless down jacket to maintain good mobility of the bust or a light fleece jacket . This suit is inspired by the three-layer rule proven by all hiking specialists.
It helps maintain body heat and good ventilation . You will be less subject to thermal shock when arriving in heated rooms and therefore to a sudden burst of sweating.
In winter, you must also protect your extremities . Frozen fingers and feet are a nightmare when cycling. It is necessary to wear gloves lined on the inside and waterproof to avoid the risk of frostbite. You will put on a pair of sneakers with insulating and non-slip rubber soles.
Finally, don't forget to protect your ears and head from the cold. You can put a balaclava under the helmet to keep your neck and nose warm in winter. These clothes and accessories for cycling in winter are even more necessary for cyclists on electrically assisted bicycles , who require less physical commitment and can maintain a constant speed in the city. The risk of hot and cold weather must be taken into account.
Rain cycling equipment: technical and water-repellent clothing
Cycling in the rain is not fun! But with good clothes it can become bearable.
We start by purchasing a rain poncho or a waterproof jacket . We preferably choose models that go down to the knee to protect the lower body from splashes. The must-have rain cape is the one with a gusset in the back to accommodate a backpack, a hood to fold over the bicycle helmet , elastics to put your thumbs in and hold the handlebars and reflective strips in the back.
We imitate hikers by adding rain pants , without forgetting overshoes or overshoes . Water-repellent materials allow water to slide off the surface.
The rain skirt is protection for the cyclist in a skirt. Waterproof, non-slip gloves allow you to hold the handlebars securely. Humidity will not cause poor grip which can cause road deviations during a journey.
Thus equipped, the cycle worker arrives dry at work, even on a rainy day.
To protect yourself from drops, especially if you wear glasses, you will appreciate wearing a helmet with a visor.
Finally, a waterproof jacket slipped into a bag pocket is a precaution to avoid being surprised by the rain in the city.
What outfit for cycling in summer?
The heat quickly becomes more unbearable in the city . The first journeys are often more difficult for cyclists in summer. The increase in body temperature caused by physical effort adds to that of the thermometer. The problem for cyclists is not arriving at work in a sweat .
To avoid this, here are some tips on choosing the outfit. Buying a windproof jacket that is lighter than a rain cape for the off-season avoids the sauna effect which increases perspiration.
The electrically assisted bicycle also allows you to reduce your effort during journeys and to sweat less when going to work. Equipping your bike with a bag or basket also allows you to place your backpack, a source of perspiration under your jacket or blazer.
These tips allow cyclists to cycle with less fear of the consequences of the heat in the city. To these tips, we add wearing a neck gaiter in the spring to avoid getting a sore throat and wearing a helmet which protects against sunburn . Don't forget to take a mister in your bag to cool off when you arrive.
How to dress for a feminine bike commute?
Here are some outfit tips for cycling for women. In summer, cyclists will wear shorty or skirt shorts and a technical top (t-shirt and windbreaker) depending on the temperature.
From fall, they will opt for city bottoms combined with a light jacket or down jacket and a technical top. The rest of the outfit is kept in the bag. We also recommend leaving a pair of street shoes at work so you can cycle in sneakers.
Financial aid relating to Vélotaf
To convert assets to Vélotaf, numerous financial aids have been put in place in France. Employees who adopt the traditional bicycle or the electric bicycle, the scooter or the scooter for their professional journey are granted a mileage allowance of 500 euros per year . The FMD (Soft Mobility Fund) voted in 2019 applies to all means of transport relating to soft mobility, but remains subject to the goodwill of the company which can choose to apply it or not.
Cycle commuters can benefit from both employer participation in the public transport subscription AND the FMD . This combination of aid is welcome for those who have to cycle to a station and then take a train or metro to reach their business.
Since January 1, 2022, the granting of the mobility permit has been simplified. Inspired by the restaurant ticket, it is now available prepaid and electronically to pay for “goods and services related to employee travel”.
In addition, working people who want to take their bike to “work” can also benefit from several aids from the State and communities:
- The conversion bonus giving entitlement to a reimbursement of 40% of the purchase price of an electric bike (up to €1,500)
- the electric bike bonus (limited to €200);
- the special cargo bike bonus allowing reimbursement of 40% of the purchase price of a cargo bike (up to €1,000).
Region and department offer aid to encourage bicycle travel which can be added to the aid granted by an urban area .
It is up to everyone to find out which ones they are eligible for. Their accumulation can be really very interesting and cover up to 75% of the purchase of a bicycle in certain regions.
What if you switched to a “company bike” in your company?
According to a study conducted by AG2R La Mondiale and L'Union Sport & Cycle, 8% of French people say they take their bike to get to work at least once a week .
For the moment, these Vélotaf fans remain in towns with more than 20,000 inhabitants located mainly in the Paris region .
These cyclists complete an average journey of 6 kilometers in 23 minutes . These figures showing the popularity of bicycle work are correlated with those published by the active mobility barometer revealing that “69% of employees would like to benefit from a company bicycle” .
To facilitate this conversion, initiatives encourage companies and employees to use cyclomobility. The Objectif Employeur Pro-Vélo program's mission is to support 4,500 employers in the development of a cycling culture within their structures, while the Goodwatt program offers to help companies lend a bicycle for one month. electric-assisted bicycle (VAE) to their employees with training to learn how to ride in the city.
Jointly, start-ups, such as Tandem or Zenride, offer company bike rental services to employers. They have imagined "all inclusive" solutions including, in addition to bicycle rental, an insurance contract also covering equipment and safety equipment.
These initiatives are all the more interesting for employers as they provide rights to a tax reduction . This action in favor of soft mobility and the development of the company bicycle is proving to be a good investment for employers . Actions that must be carried out at the same time as new cycling developments are carried out in France to be able to cycle in complete safety .