Nola from the Bike Lane: Easy Biking in the Big Easy
Biking in New Orleans is a great way to get around the city. We may have dismal roads and aggressive driving habits but, luckily, we also have a very flat city. That may seem obvious, but when traveling by pedal power, it makes all the difference. If nothing else, it means that biking around the city is accessible for people whose definition of a marathon involves a pub and good company rather than running shoes.
A year ago I would have given my right arm to own a car and drive myself to work. My co-workers were wonderful about carpooling, but I had enough of bumming rides. A couple of women I worked with biked to work, and I would occasionally express a passing interest in joining them. As time wore on, I began running out of excuses. A few months later I decided to bite the bullet and bike to work.
After a couple of long conversations with my biking colleagues -- and a solemn promise that they would bike with me over the St. Claude bridge -- I felt ready to attempt the 9-mile ride to work. The decision to bike from Uptown to Chalmette and back was not an easy one, but I have no regrets. Before I knew it, I had become a part of the biking commuter culture, something that is steadily taking root in the Big Easy.
Bike culture is not described by adjectives, but by actions. My friend biked to work with me for about a week, until I felt ready to go solo, and I haven’t looked back. I felt silly asking for company, but to my surprise she said she started bike commuting in the same way: the buddy system. Like any slightly eccentric hobby, it is done with love and participants are excited to share their interest.
I now expertly navigate the pot holes, narrow streets and obstacles that make up life in New Orleans, and I love it. I have seen a different side to the city on my bicycle and, like other bikers around town, nothing makes me happier than sharing my experiences.
People are often interested to hear about my ride to work, about 18 miles round trip, so to give you a little taste of my world, I filmed my morning commute. Please enjoy. I look forward to sharing more of the growing world of New Orleans bike culture in weeks to come.
Next Post: The joys and hazards of biking in New Orleans.