How a church in the Lower Ninth Ward is working to get more people on bike.
Creating a Biking Community
Really Wheeling is a free bike lending program started by Caffin Avenue Seventh Day Adventist in the Ninth Ward that focuses on creating a “healthy thriving community through physical activity like biking”.
Church Community Service Coordinator Royliene Johnson says it all started with a bike rack. “A member who works at Home Depot asked can the church do anything with [the bike rack]?” remembers Royliene.
Her first thought was that there aren’t many people who ride bikes, but the church could do something with it. Then, the new bike rack got her thinking, “maybe we get some bikes and start a physical activity program in the Ninth Ward. You don’t see many racks or people riding, but we can create a program that gives access to bikes and removes a barrier”.
While the idea for a bike program in the Lower Ninth Ward grew, Royliene heard that Tulane University was looking to give away bikes that had been abandoned by students on campus. The church eagerly accepted the donation of bikes which were matched with helmets given by RUBARB Community Bike Shop.
With the fleet of donated bikes, Caffin Avenue SDA created the “only free bike lending program in the Lower Ninth Ward”. In addition to lending the bikes, the church hosts free community bike rides on the first and third Sunday of the month. Royliene says they’re also working on getting bikes for people with disabilities.
Promoting Safe, Smart, Confident Bicycling
Caffin Avenue SDA church hosts the Make a Difference Day Fair, an annual community event to encourage folks to “get healthy, get active, get your ride on” and to promote the Really Wheelin program. Bike Easy was invited to be apart of the event to answer questions about bike safety, rules of the road, and general maintenance.
“Outreach and going to events is very much not necessarily waiting at Bike Easy for everyone to come to us,” says Keith, Bike Easy Community Education Manager. “It’s us getting into the community and meeting people where they’re at”.
The Bike Easy education team works with people of all ages and abilities throughout Greater New Orleans teaching them to prioritize safety whether they’re walking, on bike, or in a motor vehicle.
“Part of the reason why we have education events basically goes back to why we have a mission and our mission says making bicycling easy, safe, and fun through Greater New Orleans. Well if that’s to be true what’s helping it to be easy, safe, and fun is a certain amount of education.”
Supporting the Caffin Avenue SDA church is a way for Bike Easy to reach people where they’re at. “We’re helping out Caffin, because they’re trying to build biking culture out of the church”. Keith believes these regular rides can increase bike safety in the Lower Ninth Ward. “They want to come do our Smart Biking classes, so not only do they want to learn but they want to learn enough that they can teach others”.
In addition to educating people on bike, Bike Easy hopes to reach drivers at these community events as well.
“In talking to people [who drive] they have misconceptions about bikers rights to the road,” explains Laura, Bike Easy safety instructor. “We let them know people on bike have every right to be there, here are the reasons why, and it’s actually illegal for bikers to be on the sidewalk,” she says.
Laura says that people are often surprised at the laws that exist for bikes and a friendly conversation can help drivers realize we all play a part in sharing the road. Those who have “an open mind enough to listen and by the end of the conversation to change their mind is really heartening. It goes back to why education is so important”.
Posted by Heather Haylett on November 13, 2018 in Advocacy
Help decide where to put more Blue Bikes racks in the expansion areas.
We were excited to see the Blue Bikes service area expanded back in April, and now they’re further improving the system in those areas. The City of New Orleans and Blue Bikes are looking for your input on where to put more Blue Bikes racks in the expansion areas.
Bike Easy has long advocated to bring the benefits of bike share to New Orleans, and we’ve always worked to make sure it serves the residents of our city, especially those who lack transportation options. To best accomplish that, the City and Blue Bikes need to hear from the community. Your input is crucial! Make sure to send your votes by this Sunday, Nov. 18.
In the recent expansion areas of MidCity and parts of Uptown, Blue Bikes will be placing more racks to improve convenience for parking and finding bikes, and you can help decide where they go. In those areas, you’ll see signs posted near the possible locations, and you can follow the directions on the sign to send a text message with your “yes” or “no” vote for that location.
You can also weigh in from the dry, warm comfort of your own home (especially important on a day like today!) in 3 easy steps.
Look at the online map, and choose a potential rack location:
Text that location ID# to 504-636-6858, then
Fill out the quick feedback survey.
Only a few of the possible locations on the map will actually get a Blue Bikes hub, so you get to help decide!
Along with pushing for community engagement in the station siting process, Bike Easy is excited to help create an equitable bike share system that is easy and accessible for workers in the service and hospitality industry and for residents in low-income neighborhoods. With grant support from the Better Bike Share Partnership, we’ve been working with Blue Bikes, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, and the City of New Orleans to conduct programming – lunch & learns at workplaces, community rides, distribution of free trials, and more – to increase the number of people using Reduced Fare Passes.
Make sure you take a moment to weigh in on where new stations will best serve our community!
Bike share is an important step to making bicycling easy, safe, and fun for everyone in Greater New Orleans. We appreciate your participation in creating an equitable, successful bike share system that serves the people of New Orleans.
Posted by Heather Haylett on November 9, 2018 in Membership
Become a Bike Easy Member today!
Connect the Crescent is a 3-month “pop-up” demonstration to engage the community in a conversation around how our streets can be transformed quickly, inexpensively, safely and equitably for everyone in and around our city. 71,000 jobs are located in downtown New Orleans, accounting for almost 40% of the city’s total jobs! Over 50% of these jobs pay less than $40,000 a year, making equitable transportation critical to the livability of New Orleans as a whole. That’s what Connect the Crescent is designed to do: make our streets accessible, affordable, safe, and comfortable for everyone to travel daily.
Bike Easy will continue to advocate through grassroots organizing and community dialogue to ensure that elected officials and decision-makers prioritize safe and accessible bicycling. Bike Easy Membership shows your belief in a future where people of all ages and abilities can bike, walk, and ride transit safely, whoever they are and wherever they live.
As a member of Bike Easy, you receive discounts with Bike Easy Business Members around town and are kept updated through our newsletter and special announcements. You’re also encouraged to cast your vote at the Annual Membership Meeting in December and get involved to help guide the direction of the organization for the work to be done in the years ahead.
Posted by Heather Haylett on November 1, 2018 in Events
Upcoming events and highlights from October.
Connect The Crescent is a 3-month demonstration project to highlight how we can transform our streets to be safe and equitable for everyone, no matter how they get around.
Have you experienced the Connect The Crescent pop-up transportation network yet? Mayor Cantrell needs to hear from you about your experiences with Connect The Crescent and why the community desires better biking, walking, and transit. Show your support and give us your detailed feedback.
The ride will meet on the neutral ground at Basin St. and St. Louis at 1 pm and end at Revolution Bar. You’ll have a chance to fill out a survey to share your input on the project, as well as pick up a set of free bike lights!
Connect the Crescent is an ongoing project and a community driven-effort. Over the next two months, we need help in getting feedback and gathering quantitative data to understand how people are using the network.
Thank you for attending the Bike Easy Spoketacular on Saturday, October 20th to celebrate our 15 year anniversary! All proceeds will benefit the ongoing work to make bicycling easy, safe, and fun for everyone in Greater New Orleans.
Since 2009, Transdev has been supporting New Orleans in the development of a public transportation network. Transdev was a generous sponsor of the Bike Easy 15th Anniversary Spoketacular and continues to support intermodal and multimodal mobility systems.
NEWFIXITSTATION AT NORMANMAYERLIBRARY
The New Orleans Public Library has installed a second public Fix-It Station! Located outside the Norman Mayer Library on Gentilly Blvd., this station offers tools and air for all your repair needs.
Interested in finding the other public repair stations in the city? Find them on the Bike Easy Online Map.
Posted by Heather Haylett on October 29, 2018 in Advocacy
A look at 15 years of education, community, and advocacy.
Greater New Orleans has always been a great place to ride a bike and at Bike Easy, we love our region’s passion for biking and aim to get as many people as possible to enjoy riding.
From advocating for a comprehensive network of bicycle facilities to hosting annual bicycle second lines, we’re looking to achieve more victories for people who bike and walk in Greater New Orleans going forward.
As we close out our 15th year of better biking, Bike Easy has a lot to celebrate. We have steadily grown with support from enthusiastic volunteers, members, and riders all in the effort to make biking easy, safe, and fun for everyone in Greater New Orleans. The journey of Bike Easy speaks volumes to the dedication of improving how we all get around. Here are a few highlights from the past 15 years:
Metro Bicycle Coalition (MBC) founded
$4 million Bond Measure approved for bicycle facilities;
Use Blue Bikes to get around New Orleans this fall
Fall festival season is in full swing! With so many awesome events to check out across town in combination with this crisp cool weather, Blue Bikes are a great option for getting from Point A to Point B to Point C, D and beyond…
Blue Bikes are a great affordable public transportation option and make it easy to get to your destination in a fun, sustainable and healthy way. Stations are scattered around the city and make it easy to unlock a bike and go! Traveling by bike also alleviates the worry of keeping your personal bike safe in high traffic areas and saves you the pain of finding motor vehicle parking.
Take advantage of the mobility granted by Blue Bikes! Bikes don’t have to be returned to the station – you can ride directly to your destination and park your bike securely to a standing object (pole or bike rack). If you’re not parking at Blue Bikes station, be a good neighbor and be sure to lock up correctly at public bike rack or street sign, keeping sidewalks and entrances clear. You can also get bonus credit for returning bikes back to a hub! During Voodoo Fest, a special dropzone will be set up in the gravel parking next to Morning Call.
Have fun but remember to ride smart! Always follow the rules of the road: Yield to pedestrians. Stop at all red lights and stop signs. Ride in the direction of traffic. Use hand signals and act courteously and predictably to other users of the road. Plan out a safe and sensible route before you go, and enjoy the ride!
Posted by Heather Haylett on October 24, 2018 in Advocacy
Take the Connect The Crescent - Transportation Choices Survey
Have you experienced the Connect The Crescent pop-up transportation network yet? Show your support and give us your detailed feedback by taking a few minutes to fill out this survey!
Connect The Crescent is a 3-month demonstration project to highlight how we can transform our streets to be safe and equitable for everyone, no matter how they get around. Of course, figuring out the specific details of protected bikeways, safe walking features, and better connections to transit can be tricky, and we want to make sure that all perspectives are being considered.
Connect The Crescent is all about the community conversation. Show your support for improved mobility and the health, economic, and quality-of-life benefits it brings by filling out our online survey today.
Unfortunately, we’re at risk of letting a few loud voices dominate the conversation surrounding this community-lead project. We can handle one or two misleading stories, but a volunteer who gave countless hours improving their city even got shouted down in a public meeting in front of the Mayor! Thankfully, Mayor Cantrell never wavered in communicating a vision of safety-improving protected bikeways for New Orleans’ future. Now she needs to hear from you about your experiences with Connect The Crescent and why the community desires better biking, walking, and transit. Please make sure your voice is heard by filling out our online survey!
Thanks to the over 150 volunteers who’ve given over 2,000 hours of their time conducting outreach and installing Connect The Crescent protected bikeways and crosswalks! It’s truly been a community-driven effort, working with all of you to make our streets built to share. As we continue to build momentum for a permanent, protected bikeway network, please support all the hard work of Connect The Crescent volunteers by sharing your thoughts (and critiques) and showing some love in the survey!
P.S. For the folks paying close attention – the installation phase of Connect The Crescent is complete! The Decatur Street plan has been postponed indefinitely. Though with your help it was certainly possible, the experience gained during this process showed us it was simply too complex an operation for an organization of our modest size. If you’d like to see the vision of a protected bikeway for Decatur Street tested in a later demonstration, or better yet, as a permanent installation, make sure you let it be known in the survey!
Posted by Heather Haylett on October 22, 2018 in Events
The Bike Easy Spoketacular, hosted at Seven Three Distilling Company, included highlights from Bike Easy’s 15-year history, current endeavors, and special recognition of longtime advocate Willis Rey. Attendees noshed on food from several local restaurants, and enjoyed drinks from our beverage sponsors. In addition to dancing and conversation, there was a silent auction, wine pull, and a chance to wish Bike Easy happy birthday with well wishes for the future.
Check out the Spoketacular slideshow and the profile of Bike Easy advocate and former Board Member, current bookkeeper and volunteer Willis Rey below.
Thank you to Spoketacular sponsors!
Thank you to Spoketacular food donors:
Big Boyz BBQ
Eatable Art “Vegas”
St James Cheese Co
Thank you to Spoketacular auction donors:
Audubon Nature Institute
Brad Walton Massage
C Ben-Iesau Creative Arts
Creole Cuisine DTB
Harrah’s New Orleans
Higherpower Yoga Cycling TRX
Malay Ghose Hajra
Marsh and Bayou Outfitters
Oak Ally Plantation
Travel Central WWII Museum
Spoketacular design by:
Special thanks to the Spoketacular Host Committee:
Paul Langenwalter III
Posted by Heather Haylett on October 20, 2018 in Advocacy
Looking back on 15 years of bicycle advocacy
Why did you join the Board?
Susan Kleese (2008 – 2016) – “I joined because I saw other areas with much better bicycle infrastructure, and I recognized the New Orleans metro area had the potential to be as good or better for cyclists than the best of these areas. Bike Easy was the perfect organization to further this goal.”
Dan Jatres (2008-2011; 2015-2017) – “To help create strong citizen’s voice to support efforts to improve bicycling in the New Orleans region.”
List three highlights (organizational, administrative, or other) from your Board term
Karen Parson (May 2006 (founding member) to around 2009/2010) – “1) The establishment of MBC!!! dba Bike Easy today 2) Mayor Nagin’s signing of the League of American Bicyclist’s Bicycle Friendly Community pledge in August 2004 3) $4 M for bikes in the November 2004 City Bond Program 4) Inclusion of bicycle accommodations in the post-Katrina Submerged Roads Programs 2007+”
Musa Eubanks (1999 to 2003 (before a Board of Directors was formed) – “1) Getting the City of New Orleans to recognize the importance of safe bicycle transportation in the city. 2) Helping identify streets that should have on-street bicycle lanes and convincing the City to put those into the City’s Master Plan.”
Looking ahead for the next 15 years, what is your birthday wish for Bike Easy?
Rob Henig Bell (staff) – “To see the creation of a connected, protected network of bikeways that touches every major neighborhood in New Orleans, alongside youth educational programs for each of those neighborhood’s kids.”
Melissa Lee (current Bike Easy Board President) – “Being a leader in celebrating a joyful, healthy, inclusive prosperous and equitable City with bicycling as a means to that end.”
Posted by Heather Haylett on October 18, 2018 in Events
Saturday, October 20th
Did you know, in 2003 members of the New Orleans Regional Bicycle Action Committee attended a Thunderhead Alliance training in bicycle advocacy and created the Metro Bicycle Coalition – what we now know today as Bike Easy!
In 2018 we commemorate 15 years of making bicycling easy, safe, and fun for everyone in Greater New Orleans. Join us at Seven Three Distilling Company on Saturday, October 20th to celebrate our history, successes, and the dedication of so many individuals who have brought us to this point!
Bike Easy 15th Anniversary Spoketacular
Saturday, October 20th – 7pm to 10pm
NEWLOCATION: Seven Three Distilling, 301 N. Claiborne Ave.
Growing from one paid staff starting in 2010 to eight staff members currently, the passion of people who love biking in our region continues to propel the success of Bike Easy. From advocacy for better bridge crossings such as the newly opened Wisner Bridge, securing inclusion of bicycle accommodations in the post-Katrina Submerged Roads Programs in 2007, to increasing bicycle safety education for youth across our region, Bike Easy volunteers and staff push for Greater New Orleans to be the best place to ride a bike in the country.
Online ticket sales will end at NOON on Saturday, October 20th and all tickets will increase by $10 at the door.
The Bike Easy 15th Anniversary Spoketacular is a party you don’t want to miss! Your ticket includes an impressive spread by local restaurants including shrimp and grits from Dooky Chase, bread pudding from Dicky Brennan’s, late-night pizza from Reginelli’s and so much more! Raise a toast to Bike Easy with Abita Beer, Jackson Family Wine, or Seven Three Distilling batch cocktails all while dancing to the sounds of Meryl Zimmerman. Throughout the night you will learn about the origins of Bike Easy and have the opportunity to share anniversary wishes for continued success in making our region easy, safe, and fun for everyone riding bikes in Greater New Orleans!