A bicycle is a wonderful way to see the world and particularly New Orleans. Because the city is flat and not terribly large in square miles, you can get around the city easily on a bike PLUS you get too see much more than you see in a car. You have more time to gaze at lush and fragrant foliage, colorful roof gables, and ornate cast iron fences. More time to watch the Trashy Diva stroll the avenue or an Uptown lady, perfectly quaffed, heading into the Orlean Club.
It can be a health boost, a stress reliever, and a lot of fun. Census shows that bicycle ridership has doubled in New Orleans over the past decade, which means awareness has increased, bike lines have increased, bicycle activism has increased, bicycle shops have increased, and the fun has increased.
There are many many ways you can take it to the streets on a bicycle. Many bike shops offer rentals, so the out-of-towner, or just those without a bike, can join in on the fun. Bicycle Michael’s, on Frenchmen Street, has been a mainstay on the New Orleans bike scene for a couple decades now and has a large stable of bike rentals, as well as a fantastic repair shop and more.
You can also participate in a bike tour. These seem to be getting more popular than walking ghost tours in New Orleans – that’s saying something. As I mentioned, biking is an exciting way to see the city. The current bevy of bike tour companies offer up such a variety of bicycle tours that you are sure to find one to meet your interests and style. You can even have one tailored to you and your group.
Big Easy Bike Tours is well known for tailoring their tours to meet their guests desires. They deliver bikes to your hotel, customize the tours, and bring you home safely. Confederacy of Cruisers has specialty tours for the cocktail and culinary crowds. FreeWheelin’ Tours rides a little looser with the wide open Creole and Crescent Tour, French Quarter tours, and what I like to call their tabloid tour where you see and hear about “Mardi Gras, Movie Stars and Millionaires.”
You can even take a free bike tour from Free Tours by Foot. They’ve expanded to bikes. BYOB.
There is also a growing bike scene focused on the locals. The biggest improvement being the rapid growing number of bike lanes on the city streets. 12 new miles of bike lanes on the 2013 Bike NOLA Map. Plus the growing number of bike groups and organizers. Bike Easy (referenced above) is an excellent source for local biking information, as well as an advocate group for biking that organizes a few rides throughout the year, including bicycle second-lines. They also host Bicycle Valet’s at local events, and are studying the feasibility and impact of a Bike Share program in New Orleans (very popular in Europe, just catching on in the States).
NOLA Social Ride is another bike group that is a “crowd-sourced community of bikers, facilitating organic social biking events,“ who are true to their mission. They host weekly social rides four nights a week, each with a different theme, plus other special events.
Let me give you a quick run down on the weekly NOLA Social Rides. Tuesday is the “All About Music” ride that starts at the birthplace of all American music (according to Ernie K-Doe) Congo Square. WWOZ radio host Old Man River is the guide for this outing, and he posts the route on their website with some sort of live feed happening so that you can catch up with the group en route. Obviously the focus is music, and he gives a little history as he takes you to various live music locales around town.
Wednesday is the “Rabid Ride”, a weekly fast paced ride in City Park. It offers big open roads so you can truly get your ride on.
Thursday is “Happy Thursday NOLA Social Ride”. The location changes on the 4th Thursday of every month to keep it fresh. This Thursday the meet spot will be Armstrong Park for the last night of the Jazz in the Park concert series. The concert starts at 4 PM and the talent line-up includes Rebirth Brass Band, Kermit Ruffins, and Bonerama. For FREE! WHAT!?! Rebirth, Kermit, and Bonerama! A don’t miss start to the evening.
Once the music ends, the social ride will mount up and take a ride through the Treme, Marigny and Bywater ending up on Frenchmen Street where the costume party is sure to be in full swing! Happy Thursday NOLA has a GPS tracking map available too.
Lastly, the Friday night social ride is called “Rogue Ride”. Mischievous, naughty, likable. If you can handle that, then join in.
See you out and about on a bike in the Bike Easy.
Every thing lovely,
Out and About is a weekly blog by Leslie Compton of Every Thing Lovely, a special event and creative consulting team, and is sponsored by Key to NOLA Properties, a full service real estate brokerage firm specializing in furnished rental properties in New Orleans, Key to NOLA Properties and Every Thing Lovely have joined forces to provide a full array of services for travelers’ ( and locals’) personal and professional needs while in the Crescent City.