Bayou Boogaloo Bicycles
Bicycle Valet and Bicycle Second Line help make the Bayou Boogaloo the best ever!
The number of bikes at festivals in New Orleans this year has been incredible. Bike Easy is doing its part to make cycling to the festivals more easy, safe, and fun for everyone. Through Bike Valet, and the Bicycle Second Line, Bike Easy’s presence at Bayou Boogaloo is a perfect example of the impact this organization has on New Orleans.
Just about anything that stood still long enough at Bayou Boogaloo had a bicycle locked to it. Cyclists looking to station their steeds while they attended the festival commandeered street signs, light posts, police barricades, and even trees. Bike Easy obliged by providing one of its signature programs: Bike Valet.
Bike Valet coordinator JJ Smith has the routine down cold to accommodate hundreds of bikes at the same time, and have fun doing it. “Thanks to our Spring Sponsor Regions Bank and all our dedicated volunteers, we’ve parked almost 2000 bikes,” Smith said at the event, “and got them all back to their owners safe and sound!” The setup at Bayou Boogaloo was a 35-foot diameter corral made of police barricades open every hour of every day that the festival was running. With the help of trusty volunteers (full disclosure: I volunteered) the team was able to park 151 bikes over the course of the festival.
In addition to providing a safe, and legal, place to park bikes, the bike valet station also proved to be a useful spot to spread the word about Bike Easy’s advocacy work; in particular the potential de-funding of the New Orleans ferries. Bike Easy had a table set up with a petition to sign and several volunteers to help inform passersby on the economic, transportation, and social impacts that a closure of the ferry system would bring.
Bicycle Second Line
Festival Sunday, May 19, Bike Easy held its largest Bicycle Second Line to date. Over 600 bikes and cyclists showed up for the family friendly 11 mile route from Bayou St. John, through Treme, French Quarter, the CBD and back with stops at the Backstreet Cultural Museum and Rouse’s in the CBD– all at a modest pace of 7-10 MPH. Eleven NOPD police escort officers provided a safe and easy path, free of car traffic, aside from the two brass bands mounted on trailers pulled by volunteer drivers.
As the mass of cyclists gathered to line up for the ride, a team of Bike Easy staff and volunteers put the finishing touches on the event they had been planning since March. A group of desk bound volunteers signed up over 161 new members, helping to not only raise funds but also put more weight behind Bike Easy’s advocacy work. Others sold handsome maroon t-shirts, or served coffee, bagels, and fruit to the hungry crowd. A crew of generous bike mechanics donated their time to deftly sort out any equipment issues like flat tires, loose brakes, or skipping gears.
All in all, Bike Easy staff and volunteers put in hundreds of hours of work to make Bayou Boogaloo a more accessible by bike. Over 150 people were able to park their bikes safely and legally using the Bike Valet service. Countless festival goers were exposed to the diligent advocacy and encouragement work that Bike Easy does year round. And over 600 local cyclists got to experience 11 miles of New Orleans by bicycle and have a blast doing it. Festivals are a big part of life in New Orleans and Bike Easy is there to make sure that cycling is easy, safe, and fun for the whole city.