Word on the Street

A blog about bikes and the Big Easy

Bike Safety and Maintenance Virtual Workshop

Posted by Laura Harris on April 1, 2020 in Bicycle Safety , Education, Events

Join us for Bike Easy’ first ever virtual bike maintenance workshop and get your bike in gear for the Bike Easy April Challenge!

This workshop will focus on the basics of bike maintenance , and participants will leave with an expanded knowledge of how to diagnose problems on their bikes. We’ll also have short discussion of commuting basics, safe riding tips and being a vehicle on the road. Instructors will be happy to answer questions about bike fit, equipment, and rules of the road.

Zoom meeting link: https://zoom.us/j/886997168

If possible, to get some practice with working on your own bike, it’s suggested that you have your own bike on hand for reference.

If you want to practice fixing a flat tire in real time, it is recommend to be ready with:

  • your bike
  • a crescent wrench if needed to remove your wheel
  • a tube with a flat you want to fix
  • tire levers
  • a pen
  • a tub of water
  • patches and rubber cement

Please RSVP at: https://bikeeasy.nationbuilder.com/bike_easy_bike_safety_and_maintenance_virtual_workshop

The workshop will be also be recorded to be added to our Youtube Channel!

The Bike Easy April Challenge Begins TODAY!

Posted by Elon Glickman on April 1, 2020 in Events

The Bike Easy April Challenge, powered by Entergy, is a month-long, friendly competition that aims to get more people on bikes, and it starts today! The concept is pretty simple, the more you bike and the more people you get to bike, the more points you earn. It uses competition to build the biking community and help more people experience the joy of biking.

For many people, today marks the first day of April, for others it’s April fools day. But for New Orleans’ biking community today is particularly special: the beginning of the Bike Easy April Challenge!

The Bike Easy April Challenge, powered by Entergy, is a month-long, friendly competition that aims to get more people on bikes. The concept is pretty simple, the more you bike and the more people you get to bike, the more points you earn. It uses competition to build the biking community and help more people experience the joy of biking.

It doesn’t matter if you ride every day or if you haven’t been on a bike in years. You only have to ride for ten minutes to take part and you will also be rewarded for encouraging others to ride. Indoor rides count, too!

Already, we have over 380 people and 79 organizations (will you get us to 80?)
registered to take part in this year’s April Challenge. Luckily, it’s definitely not too late to register or invite your friends, coworkers, and family members to join. Just click this link, it only takes 1-minute.

Before going on any further, we want to address the changes we’ve made to this year’s challenge in the face of COVID-19. A lot of events we look forward to in the spring have been cancelled or postponed because of COVID-19, and we’ve similarly cancelled all in-person events. We’re sad to miss those events this year, and we know that the priority right now is saving lives by keeping our community as healthy as possible so we can save lives.

That’s why, after consulting with local and state health officials, we decided to only do solo rides or rides with your family/household in this year’s April Challenge. But you can interact virtually with other riders through this platform, emails, and social media. If you’d like to read more about our decision, here’s our blog post announcing the changes.

Getting on a bike can provide so much in this moment. Whether it’s being able to quickly and easily pick up your medication or get some fresh air and exercise, biking feels essential right now. We at Bike Easy want to support and encourage everyone to enjoy the many benefits of biking, while also maintaining social distancing practices. For more information, read our blog post about safe biking practices during COVID-19, and this great article from bicycling.com

Now, we’re all for friendly-competition, and we see you folks who got an early start and logged their rides this morning, but this year we’ll be more focused on individual health and community-building via the online platform as our main motivations to participate.

Normally, the teams are workplace-based, but this year, we recognize that work is non-existent or uncertain for many, so teams can be formed by any “organization”. Maybe you’ll organize a team of the parents (who are now also acting as teacher) at your kids’ school, or maybe you’ll create your team with fellow furloughed employees from a local bar, or maybe it’s just a big group of your friends.

And of course, workplaces are still great, and this can be a fantastic way for folks to continue building workplace culture with employees who are now working from home, and for our essential service workers biking into work.

You can only be on one team (choose wisely!), and there are some no-go’s for teams (i.e. no bicycling club teams) in order to keep the competition fair and accessible to new riders. The whole point is to help get more people, and especially folks who don’t normally do so, to experience the joy of riding!

And maybe even more fun than the actual riding is *connecting virtually with the biking community of New Orleans. *Through our partnership with LoveToRide, you can access a whole platform filled with other people biking in New Orleans, sharing stories, posting photos, meeting personal goals, and earning achievement badges.

Even though we can’t physically bike together, thanks to LoveToRide and our sponsors and partners at Entergy, Bike Law Louisiana, and Blue Bikes, we can still stay connected.

Get connected and get started biking in this year’s Bike Easy April Challenge today!

Smart Biking Basics Virtual Workshops

Posted by Laura Harris on March 26, 2020 in Bicycle Safety , Education, Events

Join Bike Easy’s bike safety instructors for our first ever set of virtual workshops!

Get in gear for the April Bike Easy Challenge and join Bike Easy’s bike safety instructors next week for our first ever set of virtual workshops!

While the spread of Covid-19 is keeping us from meeting in person, Bike Easy is adapting our bike safety education workshops to the virtual realm.
These workshops will take place via video conferencing on Zoom. Visit https://zoom.us/ to install.

Monday, March 30 5:30-7:00 PM
Session 1: Bike selection, bike & helmet fit, bike handling, and basic mechanics – ABC Quick Check
RSVP for Session 1.

Tuesday, March 31 5:30-7:00 PM
Session 2: Principles of traffic law, equipment, clothing and communicating, crash prevention and bike comfort
RSVP for Session 2.

Follow this link to join the virtual workshop: https://zoom.us/j/860147433
Please be sure to test your video and audio before joining!

Rising to the April Challenge

Posted by Dan Favre on March 26, 2020 in Bicycle Safety , Education, Events

The Bike Easy April Challenge will go on! … with significant changes

By Dan Favre, Executive Director

I hope you and yours are hanging in there right now. I wanted to take a moment to tell you why I’m excited that we’re moving forward with the Bike Easy April Challenge, powered by Entergy, and modifying it to adapt to this moment.

These are unsettling times, but for me, going on solo bike rides has helped me maintain balance, and only riding by myself helps protect me and everyone else from COVID-19.

At Bike Easy, we want to support and encourage everyone to bask in the stress-relieving, health- and immunity-boosting benefits of biking. That’s why we are moving forward with the Bike Easy April Challenge, powered by Entergy, while limiting it to solo rides, or riding with members of your household only.

Unfortunately but necessarily, Bike to Work Day, Bike to Worship Weekend, and all the associated in-person events have been cancelled or postponed.

But you can still register for the fun, free Bike Easy April Challenge today!

We made this decision after consulting with local and state health officials, and all of us are excited about offering this fun, free competition as a safe and healthy way to get outside and stay active during this time.

The Challenge begins on April 1st, less than a week from when I’m writing this, so make sure to register today!

Most importantly, this year, only solo and family rides are allowed. Social distancing and staying home are crucial to overcoming the COVID-19 crisis. Riding can only be done by yourself or with the family members that are hunkering down with you. When you’re out riding, make sure to maintain a safe social distance of at least 6 feet from anyone else you pass or come across.

For more general tips on riding during the COVID-19 crisis, check out our blog post and this great article from bicycling.com. For general information on staying healthy and protecting our community, check out the detailed resources at www.ready.nola.gov.

The Bike Easy April Challenge, powered by Entergy, is a month-long, friendly competition that aims to get more people on bikes. You earn points for yourself and your team by riding your bike, you get even more points by encouraging other people to ride their bikes. And then you earn even more points if the people you inspire to join the Challenge are new to riding. It uses competition to build the biking community and help more people experience the joy of biking.

This year, while the competition still exists, we’ll be more focused on individual health and community-building via the online platform as our main motivations to participate. Register today and be entered into a prize drawing just for signing up!

Normally, the teams are workplace-based, but this year especially, we recognize that work is non-existent or uncertain for many, so teams can be formed by any “organization”. Maybe you’ll organize a team of the parents (who are now also playing teacher) at your kids’ school, or maybe you’ll create your team with fellow furloughed employees from a local bar, or maybe it’s just a big group of your friends.

And of course, workplaces are still great, and this can be a fantastic way for folks to continue building workplace culture with employees who are now working from home and for the essential service providers biking to work.

Sign up your organization or workplace now!

You can only be on one team (choose wisely!), and there are some no-go’s for teams (i.e. no bicycling club teams) in order to keep the competition fair and accessible to new riders. The whole point is to help get more people, and especially folks who don’t normally do so, to experience the joy of riding!

To keep the competition fair, organizations, even under this loose definition, need to be able to approximate how many people are part of the organization. This is different from the size of the team, which is how many people are registered for the Challenge, and it defines how many people are able to join the team. Since the focus is on bringing new people to biking, you’ve got to recruit people from your organization to join that organization’s Bike Easy April Challenge team. For example, Bike Easy has 7 staff, so we’re in the “6 – 10 Person Organization category”, and it’s up to our Champion, David, to ensure that we’ve all joined the Challenge team and are logging our rides to earn points.

Each team is led by a Champion that organizes, informs, and motivates their team members to log rides and participate, and we provide lots of resources and support for Champions. Please note: if you are the first person on a team to register, you’re automatically tagged as the Champion, but you can easily switch that later.

Register today!

Through our partnership with LoveToRide, you can do a lot more than earn points for the competition. You can set personal goals and watch your progress towards them, learn tips and tricks for biking and bike maintenance, read other people’s stories & share your own, interact – with proper social distance! – with members of the bike community, earn special badges by completing certain tasks, discover great routes, and track your rides. And, of course, there is still the friendly competition, if that’s what motivates you. The full details and rules are available at http://www.lovetoride.net/bikeeasy.

These are extraordinary times, and we agonized over the decision to continue with the Bike Easy April Challenge – Powered by Entergy this year, especially as literally everything else we had planned for this spring has been cancelled or postponed. After consulting with local and state health officials and hearing from so many of you, we’re confident this is the right call. Of course, if anything changes, we’ll adapt quickly and accordingly.

Along with the incredible benefits to individuals from riding alone to make it through these strange days, this is about keeping up the incredible momentum that currently exists for better biking. The City of New Orleans just completed a new protected bike lane in Algiers that is kicking off a rapid expansion of the low-stress bikeway network, we’ve been pulling together regional stakeholders to develop a unified vision for the regional Bootlace Trail Network, more and more people are participating in safety education workshops – for biking and driving around people biking… and to keep a strong base of support for all that work, we want to help people keep riding (alone for now!).

Speaking of sustained momentum, Bike Easy wouldn’t be able to do this without our long-time sponsors and partners at Entergy, Bike Law Louisiana, and Blue Bikes. Huge props to them for continuing to support this important work despite all that’s happened in recent weeks.

This year, the Bike Easy April Challenge, powered by Entergy, is our opportunity to provide a little light in dark times and keep us moving towards a brighter future for Greater New Orleans.

Sign up today to participate!

It’s not goodbye, it’s see you later!

Posted by Ashley Mills on March 26, 2020 in Membership

The Spring Bicycle Second Line is postponed, but there are still ways you can stay connected to Bike Easy and the greater bicycling community! A message from Traci Birch, Vice President Bike Easy Board of Directors.

It’s spring in New Orleans and we all know that usually means festivals, crawfish boils, and Bike Easy’s Spring Bicycle Second Line. It is something I look forward to every year, and over the last few years as a Bike Easy Board member it has taken on even more meaning for me.

The hundreds of people who come out on their bicycles with their friends, families, and pets is a reminder of how great biking and the bicycle community is in New Orleans. The routes we take through the neighborhoods of New Orleans have fed my love for this city, and taught me the value of high quality, safe streets for every day cycling, not just days with a police escort.

In 2019 I took my dedication to Bike Easy one step farther, volunteering to serve as the Board Vice President. In this position I am responsible for helping the organization meet its fundraising goals while still being true to our mission to make bicycling easy, safe, and fun for everyone in greater New Orleans. A major portion of this funding comes directly from community members through sponsorship of the Spring Bicycle Second Line and during May Membership Month. These efforts not only sustain the organization financially, but provide the political power and community backing needed to effectively advocate for bicycle safety and accessibility.

After much thought and consideration by Board Members, our Executive Director Dan Favre, and the staff at Bike Easy, we have decided this spring is not the right time to hold the Bicycle Second Line. As soon as the future becomes a little more clear, we will look for a date to ride together (thinking cooler months!). We will however, still be holding the Bike Easy April Challenge – which encourages people to ride their bikes and record this time online, all while practicing responsible social distancing. You will be able to connect to friends, co-workers, and loved ones safely online while still logging those solo miles in real life! It’s free, and registration is now open at http://www.lovetoride.net/bikeeasy.

May will still be Membership Month and we would love to hear from you what makes being a member of Bike Easy meaningful and what we could do to enhance our membership benefits. If you aren’t a member, consider adding your voice to the hundreds of others who are supporting the Bike Easy mission in Greater New Orleans.

Thank you all for taking this time to read this! I look forward to seeing you online for the Bike Easy April Challenge, meeting up in person sometime this fall for the Bicycle Second Line, and standing with you in support of better biking as a Bike Easy Member!

Biking in New Orleans During Covid-19 — Some Safety Tips

Posted by Elon Glickman on March 18, 2020 in Bicycle Safety

COVID-19 is a serious and scary situation. As many of us start practicing social distancing and spend significantly more time at home, we want to make sure our community is up to speed on questions and guidance around biking in New Orleans during this time.

COVID-19 is a serious and scary situation. As many of us start practicing social distancing and spend significantly more time at home, we want to make sure our community is up to speed on questions and guidance around biking in New Orleans during this time.

As of right now, public transportation throughout New Orleans is operating on a reduced Saturday schedule (for more information visit – www.norta.com/COVID19). That means biking will become an even more important means of transportation in our city, especially for those roughly 20% of households without access to an automobile.* Let’s all make sure we’re doing our part to keep biking safe and equitable in New Orleans.*

First off, we are not encouraging anyone who is sick to ride. If you’re at all symptomatic, don’t ride a bike – please rest, self-quarantine, and seek medical advice. In general, we are recommending that even healthy people just stay home, and we also understand the benefits of getting outside and getting physical activity as we all cope with the stress of our current situation.

For now, it’s safe to bike. In fact, disease transmission is less likely to occur outside than inside. That being said, we do suggest riding solo and avoiding crowded routes (keep reading for some suggestions on secluded routes). If you do ride in a small group, be sure to maintain social distance of at least 6 feet.

Especially during these times, biking is a great way to get outdoors, get some exercise, and stay healthy. Study after study demonstrates the health benefits of biking: lower rates of diabetes, longer life expectancies, improved immune system, and better mental health. But, in these times, make sure to also closely follow the health recommendations of experts like the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

If you’re using Blue Bikes, wipe down the handle bars before and after with sanitizing wipes, and use gloves if you have them. Also, make sure to wash your hands before and after and avoid touching your face throughout the ride.

Like we said before, biking is safe right now, but we recommend solo rides and going on more secluded routes. Here’s a few of our favorite, less-crowded bike routes you can check out.

City Park

As one of the largest green spaces in the country, City Park not only has miles of bike paths, it also has plenty of secluded grassy areas to hang out in the sun.

Lakeshore Drive

If you’re looking for a longer ride, the Lakeshore Drive won’t disappoint. It’s about 22 miles and hugs the edge of Lake Pontchartrain most of the way, so you’re guaranteed a nice view and a breeze most of the way.

Crescent Park

On the edge of the Bywater lies Crescent Park. With beautiful paths and a great view of the Mississippi River, it’s a great park to bike through. Crowds can vary though, and we recommend checking out the other paths if it happens to be crowded.

For more detailed guidance on biking during COVID-19, check out this helpful article from Bicycling.com.

Bike Easy Responds to Hit-and-Run That Kills A Person Biking in New Orleans East

Posted by Dan Favre on March 17, 2020 in Advocacy, Bicycle Safety , Education

New Orleans has experienced two fatal hit-and-runs of people walking and biking in consecutive days

From nola.com – Man riding bike killed in hit-and-run in New Orleans East, NOPD says

“In these difficult times, the news of a hit-and-run that killed someone biking in New Orleans East is devastating. Our hearts go out to the loved ones of the victim.

As the coronavirus crisis disrupts our economy and transit system, biking will become an even more important transportation option for many people in New Orleans. This heartbreaking crash is a horrific reminder that, especially in times of crisis, we must all come together to support improved safety on roadways throughout Greater New Orleans. From encouraging efforts to build streets that are safe and accessible for everyone to driving safely without speeding or distractions, we all play a part.”

- Dan Favre, Executive Director

Bike Easy’s COVID-19 Response

Posted by Dan Favre on March 17, 2020 in Advocacy, Bicycle Safety , Bike-Friendly Businesses, Education, Events, Membership

A Special Update from the Executive Director

What strange and stressful days.

I hope you are hanging in there alright during these harrowing circumstances of the COVID-19 outbreak. The entire Bike Easy family extends our well wishes and support to you and yours.

In times of uncertainty and rapid changes, Bike Easy relies on our values and long-term vision for the region to guide our decision-making. Bike Easy believes in the power of bicycling to help create a healthy, prosperous, resilient, and equitable future for all people of the region. While we know that biking can play a positive role right now, it goes without saying that this moment is so much bigger than biking. Community and global health is the priority.

You probably don’t need to hear this from me too, but please follow health experts advice to regularly wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, stay home if you’re feeling sick, cover your coughs and sneezes with your elbow, and practice social distancing to stop the spread of this dangerous virus. The Centers for Disease Control have set up a dedicated website with more information, and the City of New Orleans NOLA Ready website has an excellent listing of up-to-date, local resources. Additionally, we found this article particularly helpful for bicycling specific tips.

Even if you are healthy and at less risk personally, please practice social distancing and these other behaviors to help protect our entire community. Along with the increased danger to people over 65 and with underlying health conditions, this virus and the necessary responses will most deeply impact those who are more socially vulnerable, including low-income and communities of color. We must all play our part to flatten the curve.

To help stop community spread, and for the health of our staff, board, and volunteers, Bike Easy is following the recommendations of health experts regarding our own operations. Over the past few days, we have implemented the following policies:

  • All Bike Easy staff and contractors are working from home and the office is closed until further notice;
  • No one will participate in any public events on behalf of Bike Easy until at least April 13 (following Governor John Bel Edwards proclamations for closing schools, bars, and restaurants);
  • No one will participate in any public events with over 50 people on behalf of Bike Easy until at least May 11 (following CDC recommendations).

Of course, this will have a tremendous impact on our work and on our ability to serve and support the bike community. We are working hard to reconfigure strategies, and we intend to remain as deeply engaged as ever in our work to make bicycling easy, safe, and fun for everyone in Greater New Orleans. As COVID-19 disrupts our economy and transit system, biking will become an even more important transportation option for many people in Greater New Orleans. And biking remains a great way to relieve stress, stay healthy, and get outside safely.

First, the bad news:

  • All Bike Easy in-person education events until at least April 13th are cancelled or postponed. We’re incredibly bummed as we had an amazing array of activities scheduled for y’all. Stay tuned for upcoming info about virtual classes and events.
  • All Bike Valet events for the spring are cancelled (as are all the events you would have normally biked to). We’ll be working with organizers to be at rescheduled events.
  • Bike to Work Day and Bike to Worship Weekend are postponed. Stay tuned for more info and new dates, likely in the fall.
  • All in-person activities for the Bike Easy April Challenge are cancelled, but please still register! We are working to ensure the online competition component can run as normal next month.
  • All in-person outreach work with the New Orleans Complete Streets Coalition, like door-to-door canvassing and tabling at events, is postponed until further notice.
  • The Spring Bicycle Second Line, originally scheduled for May 24th, is postponed until the fall. The new date and details will be released in coming months.

Now, the somewhat-better news:

  • Biking is still an enjoyable and important activity. At this point, going for solo bike rides or rides in small groups while maintaining at least 6 feet of distance from others is still okay. The physical activity from biking is an important way to relieve stress, boost immunity, and take a break from working at home all day. Check out this great article from bicycling.com for tips on how to stay safe and healthy on your rides.
  • We’re still at it! The board and staff of Bike Easy are quickly shifting workplans and efforts to continue being a positive force in these difficult times, whether that’s through bike-related work or other activities.
  • The show goes on…virtually! We’ve already moved our staff and board meetings to ZOOM, and we’re working diligently to offer more of our educational and social activities in an online space. While it wasn’t the same as being in the office, it certainly felt good to see the faces of all our staff together on the screen yesterday.
  • May is still Membership Month. Like so many, our organization has entered a time of financial uncertainty. We’re lucky to have built up a small rainy day fund, but we’ll soon feel the hit of lost opportunities this spring. Your support is more important than ever.

In the nearly 14 years that I’ve lived in New Orleans, biking has played a large role in building my community, from organizing alleycats back in 2007-2008 to leading Bike Easy since 2015. I’m incredibly grateful for that and for all of you. As we all continue to adapt, respond, and eventually recover from the impacts of this outbreak, I, and everyone at Bike Easy, remain committed to ensuring biking plays a role in contributing to bigger-picture improvements for health, equity, economy, and quality-of-life for the Greater New Orleans community.

Thank you,

Dan Favre
Executive Director

BICYCLE SECOND LINE - POSTPONED

Posted by Ashley Mills on March 9, 2020 in Events

Our pedal powered second line complete with live music through picturesque New Orleans neighborhoods has been postponed

Important Update: Due to public health concerns regarding the corona virus, the Spring Bicycle Second Line has been postponed until the fall. Stay tuned for more details.
__________
Spring is here and that means the Spring Bicycle Second Line is just around the corner! On Sunday, May 24th we will gather in front of the New Orleans Museum of Art and take off on a new 10 mile route! We are keeping some of the favorite spots (French Quarter and Esplanade Avenue) and taking a look at some of the new bicycle infrastructure on Marconi and avoiding some congestion spots from years past. As always, Bike Easy members who come out and Second Line with us will get a commemorative t-shirt. Our Facebook event page be the place to get the latest on all the Bicycle Second Line details!.

WHO: Everyone who loves to ride a bicycle! The event is family friendly and free to all thanks to our generous sponsors.
WHAT: A pedal powered version of the New Orleans Second Line with live music leading the ride.
WHEN: POSTPONED UNTIL FALL
WHERE: Start at New Orleans Museum of Art and finish at Second Line Brewing. There will be two refreshment stops announced later.
WHY: Enjoy a leisurely paced ride through the streets of New Orleans building your connection with other bicyclists and demonstrating for onlookers the ease and fun bicycling can be in New Orleans.

Would you like to Sponsor, volunteer or join the planning committee? Email Ashley@bikeeasy.org and let her know how you would like to help make this an amazing event!

RSVP to the Spring Bicycle Second Line Facebook event , invite your friends and watch for more details and great pictures from past Bicycle Second Lines as we rebuild momentum for the fall!

Check out some of our sponsorship levels and benefits here!

Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Operators Learn People Friendly Driving

Posted by Laura Harris on March 8, 2020 in Education

Bike Easy leads People Friendly Driving Class for New Orleans City Sightseeing Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Drivers

Last week Bike Easy teamed up with New Orleans City Sightseeing to offer a People Friendly Driving workshop for Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Operators. These buses spend every day navigating the roadways alongside people on bikes and people walking, so ensuring operators can serve as good examples on the streets is especially important.

The entire team of bus drivers participated in the class, which covered safety tips and techniques to keep people biking and walking safe, including what to expect from people biking and walking, how to navigate bicycle infrastructure on the roadways, and an overview of relevant roadway laws.

Interested in learning more or hosting a class?
Check out our People Friendly Driving guide and contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) about setting up an event or workshop.

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