There is no better way to view the beautiful details of New Orleans than on two wheels. In fact, we were named one of the top 50 best cities for cycling in the U.S. by USA Today. Just take a look at the numerous bike trails in our city, the Rails to Trails project, and routes all across Louisiana, and it’s easy to see why. Here are just a few ways to let the good times roll:
Biking in New Orleans: Learn The Basics
With all the ways to get to work around the city, it’s good to know that New Orleans ranks 5th in bike commuting across the country. Bike Easy, a volunteer-driven organization that both educates and advocates to make bicycling an integral part of New Orleans. Moreover, it offers group rides a special events — like this upcoming Bicycle Second Line (May 22) — and other workshops. The group NOLA Women on Bikes is also hosting a Workshop Night on the Anatomy of a Bicycle and Repair Basics (May 25) with information on the basics of bicycle parts and easy repair to keep you cycling all summer long.
Shops for Bikes, Gear, and Repairs
Want to settle into a new ride or a new seat for that matter? Check out some of our favorite shops that will you get started: Dashing Bicycles & Accessories at their new location on N. Broad sells bicycles, accessories, and apparel specifically designed for women of all ages. Opened in 2008, Gerken’s Bike Shop on St. Claude Avenue is a full-service shop which is also run by everyday cyclists.
For those of you in the Uptown neighborhood, The Bike Shop on Freret is a great place to find new and used bikes, or to trade in your old ride. You can also check out A Musing Bikes on Magazine Street. Want to load up on fuel with your new ride? Visit the newly opened, bicycle-themed cafe, Rouler, down in the South Market District. Review the rules of road with this bike map and guide to safe cycling in New Orleans, and if you’re local, don’t forget to register your new bike with the NOPD.
Perhaps a broken bike is slowing you down. If you’re less of a DIY-er, there are plenty of bicycle repair shops around town to get you tuned up no matter where your ride takes you. Mike the Bike Guy on Magazine Street offers same-day maintenance, and if you’re in the Riverbend area enjoying some loops around Audubon Park, visit NOBS (New Orleans Bike Shop) on Oak Street or GNO Cyclery on S. Carrollton Avenue.
Roll With a Group
Whether you are a native New Orleanian or a visitor, be sure to take advantage of all the bike-friendly activities this city has to offer. For those who love a little competition, the New Orleans Bicycle Club is hosting the 45th Annual Tour de Louisiane on June 4-5 in Covington; and for those into cyclocross, LAXC hosts the Spillway Scramble on June 12.
Not equipped for the training rides but still want to roll with a group? Established in 2010, Nola Social Ride is an organization of like-minded NOLA bike lovers who have created an abundant ride calendar with something fit for everyone. Their popular Happy Thursday Bike Ride has been steadily growing since their inception and is a fun way to meet fellow cycling enthusiasts. If you’ve got a longer ride in mind, join them as they launch their inaugural 60-mile ride from LaPlace to Ponchatoula on the Manchac Greenway.
French Quarter Biking
One of the most historical and celebrated parts of our city has to be the French Quarter. Start your day by renting a bike at neighborhood shops including: The American Bicycle Rental Company, Bike Nola, Ride This Bike, Bicycle Michael’s or A Bicycle Named Desire. You can rent one for a few hours to a week if you’ve got the time, and most of them will include a helmet and a lock for safety.
Get out on your own or join a bike tour like Big Easy Bike Tours or Crescent City Bike Tours where you can enjoy a leisurely tour of our fair city. And if you have a love for the land and water, New Orleans’ first bicycle tour company post-Katrina, Confederacy of Cruisers, will take you on their Pedals to Paddles tour of Esplanade and Bayou St. John via bikes and kayaks.
wHERE TO RIDE: Sample Routes
With so many group rides, races, and other fun cycling events going on in our city, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Break free from the pack and enjoy one of our favorite routes below:
Bike Along Esplanade — Start out at the historic Old U.S. Mint building on Elysian Fields and Esplanade avenues and head toward the lake. Enjoy the shade on the beautiful, oak-tree-lined path, and stop off for coffee and pastries at Pagoda Cafe. Cruise past Broad Street until you roll up into City Park, where you can explore this gorgeous green haven.
Cross Over to Algiers — Beginning from the Riverwalk at the foot of Canal Street, catch the ferry across the Mississippi River for $2 to Algiers Point. Jump on the Mississippi River Trail that takes you along the water’s edge and right under the magnificent twin span. Loop back around onto Franklin Avenue to Verret Street and end your ride with a delicious croissant and coffee from Tout de Suite Cafe.
Cruise Magazine — Got some shopping to do? Make your way Uptown from the French Quarter onto Magazine Street. It will be hard not to stop along this route (so many local boutiques!), but push on a little further to Washington Avenue. Turn on Washington Avenue toward Prytania Street, and you’ll run into Lafayette Cemetery and other historical architecture in the Garden District.
Get on the Greenway — Newly opened Lafitte Greenway features 2.6 miles of trail through the city and 35 distinct “Bicycle Wayfinding Signs” that point riders in the right direction. Hope on right near Louis Armstrong Park and follow along with this map for all the historic stopping points along the way.
So you’ve got your bike, you know the routes, and now you need to know where to park it. The Young Leadership Council‘s Where Ya Rack program provides our community with new bicycle parking racks all over the city. Check out their Rack Map to find a safe and secure places to park your ride.
Now get out there and laissez les bons temps rouler — let the good times roll!