Accessory Discussion / Cycle Equipment for Sale or Rent

Topics covered on this page:

You need some equipment for your cycle trip. What you must procure depends on what you already own.  Whether you rent or buy will depend on whether you ever intend to do this again.

What You Need

  • For any overnight trip:  a set of rear paniers, or some other “main” piece of luggage to be carried on the back of your bike.  A more detailed discussion of cycle luggage is here.
    These are optional if you are on one of our organized trips, and are subscribing to our “Daily” Baggage Transfer service (or if you are going on a Short Trip from Paris).  In those cases, you may be able to get anything you need on the bike into the handlebar bag.  If not, you could bring a small backpack to bungie to the rear of your cycle (we provide the bungie).
  • A front handlebar bag, which can be quickly attached to and removed from the bike, for carrying things to which you need frequent access, and for carrying your valuables.  Should have a shoulder strap.
  • Whatever you decide on for rain gear.
  • A genuine, hand-sewn, African Biking Shirt.
    Well, “need” may be a bit strong here.

Jump to price list.

The following are supplied for free with our cycles.  Even if you own them, you don’t need to bring your own.
A deposit is required for independent renters, not on our organized trips.

  • A presta valve cycle pump.
  • A cable bike lock.
  • A water bottle holder (regular, not oversized).
  • A summary tool kit (tire irons, patch kit, allen keys, screwdrivers).
  • A spare inner tube.

See our packing list (designed for our organized trips) for a discussion of more optional accessories.

All equipment we offer is available to you in our Paris office without prior reservation or pre-payment.  If you are on one of our organized trips, and are not passing through Paris, you may request that it be sent to the start of your trip for you(just send us an email).  We will add the items to your account statement as confirmation of your order, but you may still pay at the trip start if you prefer (cash or cheque / check only, in that case).

We hasten to point out that stuff you already own will often do.  For instance, a soft-sided sack or duffel that droops down on both sides of a bike’s back rack (so to lower your center of gravity) can replace the rear paniers.  But if you bring something other than purpose-built cycle luggage, be sure to actually test ride a bike at home, with your planned baggage bungied on.  And, if your trip spans more than a week, you should exercise care in choosing your paniers.  The cheapest ones may not last that long:  we have seen some remarkable design failures in what we thought were reputable brands....

To Buy or to Rent?
If you get your next vacation when you make partner, or you are travelling pre- or post-trip, buying bike luggage may not be high on your list of priorities.  This stuff is not really suitable for wall hanging (except maybe for the African biking shirt).  And it is a nuisance to haul bike gear around places like Venice.  In such cases, renting may be cheaper, easier, or both.

Of course, buying what you need lets you keep it.  Also, if you are not signing up for a Baggage Transfer service, buying at least the rear paniers in your home country lets you pack directly into them, rather than carry a bag to the start of your trip, repack into the paniers, and ship your bag on to the end of the trip.  There are many paniers available less costly than ours, but most designs are spectacularly inferior.  Forewarned is forearmed.  Conversely, ours (large capacity, designed for multiple uses) are better than you need for a single trip....

Jump to price list.

A Word About Helmets
Bike helmets have definite safety advantages.  We urge you to bring one and use it for more than just wine tasting.  We do not have them to rent, however.  If you are travelling before or after our trip, and do not wish to carry a helmet around, we can sell you an adequate “disposable,” or a “better one” — see prices below — so that you don’t have to haul the thing all over the place.

There are no adult helmet laws in Europe.  Nor is it legal for a private European company to substitute its judgement for national legislation.  You are thus not required to wear a helmet on our trips, although we advise you to do so!

Spain’s Aznar government a decade ago passed the strongest anti-cyclist legislation we have ever heard of, and which has not been rolled back as far as we know.  A cyclist not wearing a helmet is considered to be solely responsible for any and all effects of any accident in which he or she is involved, regardless of the behavior of any other vehicle or driver involved in an accident.  So, for instance, a drunk driver travelling at 165 mph on a country road runs you down, then runs into a tree:  you (or your estate) take care of his family for the rest of your days, unless you were wearing your helmet.  Or something like that....  Fortunately, this has never happened on any of our trips.

Maps, Guidebooks

If you are on one of our regular trips, you should only buy maps if you want to mark them up, or keep them as souvenirs.

We supply “loaner” maps for navigation during the course of the trip.  They are to a scale of 1:150000 or 1:200,000 (1:400,000 in Galicia, various in Denmark, Norway; and on our Northern Europe route).  They cost between 10 and 15 €uros each, depending on their manufacturer (Denmark’s and Norway’s are more costly).  To have complete map coverage of your route, using our maps, you would need the following:

  • 1 for Southern Burgundy, Provence, Alsace, Ile-de-France, Tuscany, Switzerland, Galicia, Umbria or the Italian Lakes.
  • 2 for Northern Burgundy, Champagne, the Loire, the Cévennes, the Basque Country, the Dordogne Valley, Brittany, Denmark or Portugal.
  • 3 for Norway, Austria, or Northern Europe.
  • For Austria, Denmark, Norway, Portugal and the Basque Country, 1:400.000 “overview” maps can be bought as alternate souvenirs.

If you are travelling on one of our regular trips, or self-guided but with accommodation and restaurant selections provided by us, we recommend unreservedly the Michelin Green Guides.  These are the most detailed, and so best suited to our type of “micro-tourism.”  In addition, their sections on food and lodging are minimal, which avoids too much chaff amongst the wheat.

If you are looking for cycle-specific guides, which can help you with route selection / suggestions on where to go, Lonely Planet publishes books on both France and Italy, edited by Blue Marble co-founder Ethan Gelber.  We carry the France guide for sale in our Paris office.

African Biking Shirts
One current of Blue Marble thought espouses anti-bike-gear bike gear.  Those of us in this club exercise our sartorial freedom in every aspect of equipment (shoes, socks, headgear...), but the one that gets the most notice is our choice of biking shirts.  In lieu of lycra, we wear button-down, all-cotton shirts, hand-sewn in Togo from cloth bought on the Lomé market.

Vibrantly-colored African cloth achieves approximately the visibility of the garbage-collector vests currently in vogue, and shows up better on flash photos.   Button-down cotton provides the ventilation of lycra and then some, and dries as quickly.  And you cut your panier contents by half:  you wear a clean shirt to dinner, and then ride in the same shirt the next day.

We keep a few of these shirts in stock for our riders, frankly more as a smile (and a way to buy something in a not-very-well-off country) than as a profit center.

While supplies last, there are two sizes (L and XL — these things should be worn large), and you may select between three basic color themes (blue-greens, at left, modeled by Michel; vibrant, center, modeled by Carlos; and earth tones, at right, modeled by Nicolas).  Note that every shirt is unique, no two cut from the same cloth, so you will almost certainly not wind up with precisely the shirt pictured.

Jump to price list.

And Pro Bike Gear Bike Gear:  Blue Marble Bike Jerseys.

Can you believe it?  Despite the total lack of interest on the part of our anti-bike-gear bike geer enthusiasts (who have a lifetime supply of African biking shirts — see above), we offer full-zip, short-sleeved, 3-color, Nalini jerseys, made in Italy.  Our in-house bike geek Jeff Kralik assures us that they are up to hardcore biking standards.  But the logo includes a wine glass, so no one will confuse you with the folk on the Tour de France.  Unless Georges DuBoeuf has started sponsoring a team....

When ordering, please be sure to indicate quantity and size.  Sizes are XXL, XL, L, and M.

And, depending on the response, we may even do biking socks (not available in African version).

Jump to price list.

Luggage Storage / Shipment Within Europe
If you are passing through Paris before and after your trip, you may store luggage in our Paris office.  If you are travelling on any of our overnight, escorted cycle trips, storage cost while you do (and also for a couple of days on each side, to allow you to reach and / or leave your trip) is free with panier rental.  If you store luggage at other times during a year in which you travel with us, you receive a 50% discount on our regular (public) storage rates.

Luggage is stored in a baggage room.  You, our guests, sometimes go to your bags on your own to put things in or take them out, so people are in and out without supervision.  We are not responsible in the event of a theft of any sort, of your luggage or its contents, unless you have insured the piece, and the entire piece is stolen.  In this case we are responsible up to the amount insured. 

It is probably worth mentioning that we have never had a theft of any sort.  Frankly, you aren’t the type.  But since you, personally, will probably be the first victim, we suggest you not leave objects of value in your luggage....

If you want luggage forwarded to the end of your trip, we offer a “One Way Baggage Shipment” service.  Details are described on the page linked.

Items Available for Rent (in Paris, or on your trip)

Rental Cost

Rear panier (French & Canadian spelling), 40 litre capacity
For riders on our regularly-scheduled trips, rental includes Paris storage of one piece of luggage, if desired.
First two weeks’ rental
Third week
Each additional 2-week period
Replacement Cost (if lost or stolen)
Handlebar bag
First two weeks’ rental
Each additional 2-week period
Replacement Cost (if lost or stolen)
(bracket $20)
(bracket $24)
(bracket 18€)
Gortex cycle rain cape (covers upper body and lower body to knees)
First two weeks
Each additional 2-week period
Replacement Cost (if lost or stolen)
Other, Child Equipment
Child Seat
2-child trailer, “BOB” equipment trailer
See Cycle Rental
If on an organized trip:
50% of bike rental and shipping cost.
Tag-along bicycle
Items Available for Purchase

Purchase Price
Cheap rain poncho
Only available on trip, or in Paris, must be pre-ordered
African Biking Shirt
Shipping available in Europe or N. America:  $15 / 10€, regardless of quantity.
Ask about shipping costs to other destinations.
Blue Marble Bike Jersey
Shipping available in Europe or N. America:  $15 / 12€, regardless of quantity.
Ask about shipping costs to other destinations.
Bike Helmet
Only available delivered on trip, or in Paris.  Must be pre-ordered.
New Panier (French & Canadian spelling), 40 litre capacity
Purchase includes Paris storage of one piece of luggage, if desired.
Shipping available in Europe or N. America:  $25 US / $30 C / 16 €, regardless of quantity.
Ask about shipping costs to other destinations.
Beat-up old (used) panier, if available
Cleaned, serviceable, all zippers work, but too battered to be a prized possession (or commercially rentable).  May have flaking inner lining, duct-taped hole(s) on (a) corner(s), etc.  Sold “as is.”
Beat-up old (used) road touring bike, if available
Cleaned, tuned, all parts work and checked for serviceability, equipped with bag rack and mud guards, 21 speeds minimum, but too battered to be a prized possession (or commercially rentable).   Sold “as is.”  See details.
170€ - 220€
Related Services

Suitcase storage in Paris for members of our trips
1 piece free with panier rental or purchase
50% off of our regular storage prices
One-Way Baggage Shipment, per piece.  See details.
Prices here

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