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The Biking Community Gains Ground in New Orleans

By Lacar Musgrove

When a bicycle tourist known as Mr. Drew arrived to New Orleans in 1881, he declared the city streets the best in the country for bicycling. He was probably speaking of the condition of the pavement, more than anything. But even if the pavement of the streets has fallen into disrepair, New Orleans remains in many ways very bicycle friendly. The city is flat and compact, dense with small, bikeable streets. Many grumble over bike riding conditions—rough roads and a lack of dedicated bike paths—but the recent marking off of bike lanes on the larger boulevards represents some effort by the city to accommodate and encourage cyclists. And a proposed greenway through the heart of the city would include a three-mile bike path. The parks service has already built a bike path along Bayou St. John, the old route of the New Orleans Bicycle Club which, in the 1880s, made weekly rides from what is now the Central Business District to Spanish Fort, near Lake Pontchartrain, to promote bicycle riding and the improvement of the roads.