I wish that I would have been able to take a ride while I was on vacation last week in New Orleans. It looks like a good place to bike around.
It’s not surprising that I saw many cyclists during my stay. Several places will rent bicycles to tourists like myself, and they will ride around the French Quarter without a care in the world. The combination of narrow streets and many pedestrians slows the autos way down, and it seems that the drivers expect people with no idea how to ride safely will be flying the wrong way on a one way or on the wrong side of the street. It’s a safe place to be stupid.
Outnumbering the tourists by far were the locals – riding to work or on errands. These folks know how to be safe, and the obvious lack of separate bike lanes means that they were joining other traffic on the streets quite well – and with an almost unanimous lack of helmets. I also liked how the streetcar median on Canal St. is also a de-facto bike freeway.
Next time I visit the city ( and that will happen – there was so much more we wanted to do ), I will definitely rent some wheels and head out. Probably I will leave the tourist area and see more of the city. Maybe take the ferry across to Algiers Point and see the west bank.
However, I did learn that in the French Quarter, it is difficult to find a place to park. Narrow sidewalks and high numbers of pedestrians leaves little room for a rack. Even some of the trees and poles are off limits.
Have you cycled in NOLA? Please share your experiences in the comments. (I’d also like to hear about any good places to eat. It is my goal to never repeat visit a restaurant.)