Word on the Street

A blog about bikes and the Big Easy

JULY VIRTUAL BIKE EDUCATION WORKSHOPS

Posted by Laura Harris on July 6, 2020 in

Learn everything you need to know about biking from how to choose a bike to how to navigate different roadway infrastructure at this month’s virtual education workshops.

SMART BIKING BASICS 1
Tuesday, July 14 6:00-7:30 PM
Session 1 will cover bike selection, bike & helmet fit, bike handling, equipment, clothing and basic mechanics – ABC Quick Check
RSVP for Smart Biking Basics 1

SMART BIKING BASICS 2
Thursday, July 16 6:00-7:30 PM
Session 2 will cover rules of the road, principles of traffic law, bike infrastructure, communicating and crash prevention
RSVP for Smart Biking Basics 2

Participation in both Session 1 and 2 is encouraged but not required. Participants will be notified when we will be able to offer the third on-bike session when in-person classes become possible.

BIKE INFRASTRUCTURE
Tuesday, July 28 6:00-7:00 PM
This workshop will cover how to use and safely navigate different types of infrastructure for people on bikes in and around New Orleans, whether you’re walking, biking or driving. We’ll also give some updates on new Complete Streets projects currently taking place around the city!
RSVP for Bike Infrastructure Virtual Workshop

These workshops will take place via video conferencing on Zoom. Visit https://zoom.us/ to install.

For more info, contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Complete Streets Policy, Coming To All Of Us In The Coming Weeks

Posted by Elon Glickman on July 3, 2020 in

Mayor Cantrell’s administration promised to unveil a new Complete Streets policy for New Orleans within the next 30 days!

After 4 years of advocacy by the Bike Easy community, staff, and our friends and partners in the New Orleans Complete Streets Coalition, Mayor Cantrell’s administration promised to unveil a new Complete Streets policy for New Orleans within the next 30 days!

In case you can’t tell from the photo, WE’RE EXCITED!

Even better, leaders in City Hall and City Council spoke to the importance of a Complete Streets policy being data-driven and equity-focused — that’s at the heart of what we recommended over these many months.
With robust publicly-shared data, every future City Councilmember, neighborhood leader, advocate, and, most importantly, the public will be able to know where new bike lanes, walking paths, bus shelters, bio-swales, etc should be located to increase our city’s connectivity and sustainability, especially for neighborhoods and residents most in need of safe, affordable mobility options.

We want to thank Mayor Cantrell, DPW Director LaGrange, Councilmember Palmer, Councilmember Giarrusso, and everyone else who’s worked for safe, accessible New Orleans streets!
We can’t wait to see the new Complete Streets policy in the coming weeks and continue working together to ensure every New Orleanian enjoys the benefits of more safety and less stress on their streets.

A good Complete Streets policy always includes robust community engagement, and the City is making that happen right now with their upcoming Moving New Orleans Bikes – Community Design Teleconferences happening next week.

RSVP right now to attend a Moving New Orleans Bikes teleconference for your neighborhood:

Marigny & French Quarter – Community Design Meeting — Tuesday, July 7th, 6 – 7:30pm

Central City & Lower Garden District – Community Design Meeting — Thursday, July 9th, 6 – 7:30pm

On these video teleconferences, you’ll get a presentation of the mobility improvements coming soon to these neighborhoods, and will have a chance to ask questions and share your thoughts with City officials.
This is an exciting moment in the years-long movement for safe, accessible biking here in New Orleans as the Moving New Orleans low-stress bikeway network construction moves to Eastbank neighborhoods!

We hope to see you there.

Learn to Ride

Posted by Elon Glickman on June 22, 2020 in

It doesn’t matter whether you’re just getting started getting on a bike, haven’t ridden in 20 years and need a refresher or helping a child or friend to get their balance, these tips and tricks will help you out.

Biking is big in the Jones family. The photo below shows three generations of riders: Grandma Sylvia taught Papa Warren, and Papa Warren taught Jasmine.

They have generations of experience (and patience) when it comes to teaching their family how to ride. But not everyone has that, so we wanted to share some tips to help you or help you teach someone else how to ride a bike.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re just getting started getting on a bike, haven’t ridden in 20 years and need a refresher or helping a child or friend to get their balance, these tips and tricks will help you out.


(from left to right) Warren, Sylvia, and Jasmine go for a ride.

THINGS YOU’LL NEED

  • A bike (keep it basic). The bike must fit so that the new rider can put their feet flat on the ground while sitting on the seat.
  • A helmet.
  • Tools adjust seat height to remove the pedals (allen keys, crescent wrench, pedal wrench)..
  • Air pump.

SETTING UP THE BIKE

  • Inflate tires to proper pressure
  • Adjust seat height. The new rider should be able to rest their feet flat on the ground while sitting on the seat

WEARING A BIKE HELMET

  • Wearing a bike helmet improperly is the same as not wearing a bike helmet at all.
  • Fit the helmet so it’s level on your head with two finger widths between your eyebrow and the helmet. Do the “eyes, ears and mouth test” – with your eyes, you should be able to see the top of the helmet, the straps should form “Y” and meet below your ears, and if you open your mouth all the way, it should pull the helmet towards your head.

KEEP IT FUN

If teaching someone else, coach them, don’t criticize. Be patient and positive. Tell them what they should be doing instead of what they shouldn’t be doing. Take breaks and keep a time limit. If it’s not working one day, try again the next!

LEARNING BALANCE FIRST

  • Try removing pedals from the bike to learn balancing before pedaling.
  • Sit on the seat (and stay seated). Keep your eyes forward and not down in front of the wheel. Scoot the bike forward using your feet on the ground. Try picking up speed. While rolling, try lifting your feet off the ground. Put a foot down to prevent falls and tip-overs.
  • Only use your right/rear brake to control speed or stop. Steer into/towards the direction of a lean (if you start to tip over, steer slightly in that direction). It’s best to have a little speed and momentum to get rolling – a bike that’s barely moving will want to fall over.
  • Reinstall the pedals only when the new rider can glide forward in a straight line without losing control, tipping over, or wobbling around.

FIND THE PEDALS

  • Don’t look down while the bike is rolling
  • Continue gliding or start pedaling forward with feet on the pedals

OVERCOMING COMMON PROBLEMS

  • The seat may be too low and cause the rider to lose balance while pedaling through the top of the pedal stroke – raise the seat to hip height to get a close to full leg extension.
  • A kid’s bike with coaster brakes will stop when the first foot touches the pedal and rotates backwards. Be sure to remind the new rider that their first foot goes forward on the pedal.

SAFETY REMINDERS

It’s exciting to learn how to ride but important to know how to stop!

STOPPING

  • Use both brakes
  • Keep your weight on the seat until you’re fully stopped
  • Keep your feet on the pedals until the bike stops

TURNING

  • Keep inside pedal up and lean into the turn

Learn even more tips and techniques for learning to ride a bike at our first ever Virtual Learn to Ride Class, Thursday, June 25th at 6:00 PM.

Learn to Ride students will learn techniques to teach themselves or someone else how to balance, pedal, start, stop, and steer a bike, as well as adjust a helmet for proper fit.

The workshop will take place on Zoom. Join info will be sent out to RSVPs the week of the class.

RSVP: https://bikeeasy.nationbuilder.com/learn_to_ride_virtual_workshop

Contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) for more info.

Solidarity Statement

Posted by Dan Favre on June 2, 2020 in Advocacy

Bike Easy stands in solidarity with people throughout the nation and globe that are fighting racism in all its forms.

Bike Easy stands in solidarity with people throughout the nation and globe that are fighting racism in all its forms.

Transportation has long been a central element in the broader fight for racial justice, and it is long past time that racial justice be placed at the heart of transportation advocacy. It is impossible for those of us advocating for safe and accessible streets to achieve our goals without dismantling racist social structures that have been perpetuated for generations. From police brutality to traffic casualties to broken criminal justice, Black people are killed in public spaces at a horrifyingly disproportionate rate, year after year after year. This must end now. Black lives matter.

The history of transportation in America, and right here in New Orleans, holds salient examples of racist social structures. Bicycle clubs of the late 19th century in New Orleans fought integration of the sport nationally. Planners and politicians upended the heart of Black commercial and social life along Claiborne Avenue with the development of I-10 in the 1960’s and ‘70’s. Hugely disproportionate numbers of crashes involving people walking and biking in recent years have occurred in low-income and neighborhoods of color. Diversity in the sport of cycling is sorely lacking, and people of color who ride for transportation are often overlooked.

Transportation, our individual and collective mobility, is directly tied to personal liberation and justice. Bus boycotts, Freedom Rides, Rosa Parks… winning back access to transportation and freedom of movement are major pieces of the civil rights story. In New Orleans, the first efforts to desegregate the streetcar were successful two years after the Civil War, and until the Jim Crow era, all street cars were available to everyone. Today, the buildout of the bikeway network is being guided by the Bicycle Equity Index, and a diverse coalition has come together to ensure Complete Streets promote equity.

Bicycling can be a tool that breaks down barriers between people, enabling shared experiences where there otherwise would be none. It can be a resilient and affordable form of transportation and recreation – as we’re seeing in this time of pandemic – helping people overcome life’s challenges. We believe in bicycling’s power to move us toward a healthy, prosperous, happy, and just future.

But, like all tools, it’s role is not certain. If people of color can’t even feel comfortable and safe in public space, what good are the benefits of bicycling? Bicycling cannot live up to its full promise if we do not also address the broader violence of racism, from selective enforcement and police brutality to poverty, health inequities, and so much more.

Bike Easy is proud of the work we’ve done to promote racial equity, but we must do more; we must do better. We must move thoughtfully, guided most by the people who experience oppression, while questioning our own assumptions and privilege. We do not have all the answers, but we are committed to anti-racism and to playing a role in creating new and revitalized public spaces across the New Orleans region where everyone can experience the joy and freedom of riding a bicycle.

Fix-A-Flat Virtual Workshop June 12

Posted by Laura Harris on June 1, 2020 in

Learn how to fix your own flat and support your bike autonomy!

Spend your lunch with Bike Easy and up your bike maintenance skills! This free Fix-A-Flat Virtual Workshop will be conducted on Zoom. Students will learn how to repair a flat tire – the most common mechanical breakdown. This knowledge will save you time, money, and the headache of being stranded with a flat tire bike. Students will learn how to remove the wheel from a bike, dismount the tire and tube, inspect the tire for damage, and install a new tube. Students will also learn how to patch a tube and handle a large cut in a tire so they can ride home.

Date: June 12, 2020
Time: 12:30-1:30 PM

To get the most out of the class, have handy your bike, a punctured bike tube you’d like to try patch, a bike tube repair kit, tire levers, and bike pump.

Please click here to RVSP for the class.

Details and Zoom join info will be sent out the week of the class.

Results - Bike Easy April Challenge - powered by Entergy

Posted by David Meza on May 27, 2020 in Events

Thank you to everyone that participated this year!

The 2020 Bike Easy April Challenge built our momentum of promoting biking in Greater New Orleans by encouraging everyone to ride a bike as much as they could during the month of April. With COVID-19 hitting our community just prior to the start of the Challenge, Bike Easy worked with city and state health officials to make the necessary modifications to the event. All of the community events that are usually a staple of the Challenge were cancelled but thanks to the Love To Ride platform, the Challenge was able to operate as a virtual challenge only encouraging solo or indoor rides.

Overall Participation

2020 BEAC Stats

Individual Results

Most Points

most miles male

most miles female

most commutes

Most Trips

Most trips with kids

Organization Results:

2000 plus staff

500 to 1999 staff

200 to 499 staff

50 to 199 staff

20 to 49 staff

7 to 19 staff

3 to 6 staff

View the entire Organization Leaderboard for the 2020 Bike Easy April Challenge

Thank you to our sponsors!

Entergy logo Entergy New Orleans bike law logo Bike Law Louisiana

New Orleans Bike Shop Hours

Posted by Elon Glickman on May 22, 2020 in

With more people biking than ever, and with bike shops are busier than ever. We want to make sure people are up to date on our local bike shops’ changing hours. We’ll keep regularly updating this page so stay tuned! If you’re a bike shop and would like your hours updated, please email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

More people are biking in New Orleans than ever before, and that means bike shops are busier than ever before. We’re proud to have been a part of the effort to get bike shops declared an essential service in New Orleans, and we want to keep supporting our local bike shops. With things changing so often during this pandemic, we’re doing our best to keep an updated list of New Orleans’ bike shop hours so you know how and when you can get your bike needs met.

If you’re a bike shop and would like your hours updated, please email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Thank you.

Leveling Up: A Friendly Guide to Distance Biking in New Orleans

Posted by Elon Glickman on May 19, 2020 in Bicycle Safety

To help with your exploring of distance bike rides, Kyler Blodgett put together a list of some middle-to-long-distance routes with a few technical details and tips he wish he’d known before embarking. Remember that during COVID-related park closures, access to these trails could change.

This is a guest blog post written by a member of the New Orleans biking community, Kyler Blodgett. All of the information here is from Kyler’s experience and perspective. These routes may also have changes and Bike Easy can not take responsibility for the accuracy of every detail in this blog post

In the time of COVID-19, many recreational bikers might have a desire to explore routes further afield but aren’t certain where to start. I’m one of you. I’m a casual biker – riding the Greenway with my bungee-corded milk crate – but have been fortunate enough to spend more time on my bike in recent weeks. I even set the outlandish goal of biking from New Orleans to Baton Rouge in a single day before the summer, several times the distance of any of my pre-2020 rides.

This window for adventure raised the question of where to find pleasant paved places to ride long distances. A quick internet scan about New Orleans biking wasn’t much help; most articles suggested leisurely rides through the French Quarter or City Park, preferably with beverage in hand. Bike Easy publishes a great map of Orleans Parish routes, but I wanted to push the edges of the map as my rides climbed from 20 to 30 then to 40 miles and beyond.

To help with your exploring, I put together a list of some of my middle-to-long-distance routes from this spring with a few technical details and tips I wish I’d known before embarking. Remember that during COVID-related park closures, access to these trails could change.

Throughout this adventure, I couldn’t help but notice that often wealthier and whiter neighborhoods had safe, well-maintained trails and lower-income communities of color did not. I hope that this resource doesn’t just help you find more biking trails but also illuminates the need for us to keep pushing for investments in safe recreational options for all area residents, a realization I certainly experienced trying out these different trails.

Eastbank Mississippi River Levee Trail (36 miles, protected bike lane with some interruption)

Arguably the most popular long-distance one for local bikers, this paved trail runs from Uptown to Reserve, LA. Starting at The Fly Riverview Park, the well-maintained path lasts 27 miles until just past Norco, where you meet the Bonnet Carré Spillway. Don’t be fooled by Google Maps which suggests that River Road easily bypasses the Spillway – as of April 2020 the road was covered by 4 feet of water and, according to a park ranger I asked while gazing out over the wet expanse, has been that way for 2 years. You have to work your way 1.5 miles up to Airline Hwy to bypass this.

On the other side of the Spillway the levee trail continues as gravel for about 6 miles until you leave St. Charles Parish. It’s then paved until the trail ends rather unceremoniously in Reserve, 36 miles from the New Orleans trailhead. Audubon Trailhead Parking here, Reserve parking here at Our Lady of Grace Church.

Westbank Mississippi River Levee Trail (33.5 miles, protected bike lane with some interruption)

A beautiful under-appreciated cousin of the popular Eastbank trail, this trail stretches from Algiers to Hahnville. Starting from Algiers Point, the paved path only lasts for 3.5 miles before dropping you unexpectedly by the Parish Courthouse. But don’t despair, you can follow the industrial and moderately-trafficked 4th St to River Rd for about 5 miles until you hop back on a paved levee bike path in Westwego. At that point you have a fairly peaceful 25 miles out to Hahnville, the trail’s western terminus.

The only interruption is long-term construction blocking the trail just after Bridge City. Follow River Rd west for 2 miles until the paved levee trail begins again. Alligators, bald eagles, and copious ducks flocking for seeds falling from the massive grain elevators adjacent to the path are all part of the natural beauty surrounding this trail. Trailheads at Algiers Ferry Terminal with parking and near the Hahnville Economy Supermarket.

St. Tammany Trace (27 miles, separated bike path)

By far the most pleasant trail I have had the privilege to sweat on, this paved path connects western Slidell to downtown Covington. Wonderfully shaded and passing through backyards, Fontainebleau State Park, and fun small towns like Abita Springs (which might have the coolest trail-side inclusive playground for kids in the world), this trail is a biker’s joy. It can even be forgiven for ending oddly at a somewhat hidden and rather unlikely statue of Ronald Reagan in Covington.

The Slidell trailhead has convenient parking just off Gause Blvd., and the Covington one ends a stone’s throw from the St. Tammany Parish Justice Center with ample parking.

Lakefront Levee Trail (18 miles, mix of protected trails and street-level paths)

The best of this Lakefront biking runs from the Leon C Simon bridge to Duncan Canal in Kenner. As a mid-city resident, I often pedal my way up Robert E. Lee Blvd. and across the 17th St Canal, hopping on the levee trail from there. From this point the trail yawns out to the west, dipping under the Causeway and passing the Treasure Chest Casino but precious little else in the 10 miles before it hits Duncan Canal in western Kenner. Follow the canal south for 2.5 miles before you meet a series of “Parish Property: No Trespassing” signs warning that it’s time to turn around.
The Kenner trailhead is at the southern tip of Grand Lake Blvd. on Duncan Canal, and plenty of parking along Lakeshore Dr. near the Leon C Simon bridge as the eastern terminus.

St. Claude Ave. (15 miles from Canal St. to Poydras, LA, designated bike lane and shoulder)

For my circumstance this is a nice out-and-back for a 20 mile ride to Paris Blvd with an extension for adventurous riders seeking a longer route. My curiosity had been piqued by the bike lane that starts downtown on N Rampart St., becoming St. Claude Ave. How far did extend? Would it lead to new biking adventures southeast of the city whereas most well-known routes are west and north?
The lane gets bumpy as it crosses the Industrial Canal and over various train tracks in the Arabi, but overall makes for an enjoyable ride which includes Chalmette Battlefield. The bike lane ends at Paris Blvd., 8 miles from Canal St. downtown. Continuing straight onto E St. Bernard Highway leads to green pastures (literally) and the town of Poydras, pleasant despite the occasional narrow shoulder.

Chef Menteur Highway & the East (various routes, mostly on the shoulder)

The East has less biking infrastructure than most of the city, so please be careful. With so much land, access to nature, and over 100,000 residents, it’s a shame the city hasn’t invested in more biking and walking infrastructure here. Still, if you can catch it on a quiet day (and we all know there’s less traffic on the roads right now), Chef Menteur Highway heading east is a beautiful spot for a ride, especially once you pass the split with Route 11. Don’t let the name “Highway” scare you off; there’s a wide, smooth, uncluttered shoulder and only the occasional car. This road goes all the way into Mississippi and beyond with beautiful wildlife, stilt houses with clever names like “Someday Came”, and bayou views to make it worth your while.

If you’re looking for a shorter ride closer to downtown, there’s also a concrete levee path for bikers and pedestrians that hugs the lakefront side of Hayne Blvd., proceeding mostly uninterrupted from just past the lakefront airport to Paris Blvd., approximately 5 miles. If you want to extend this, don’t count on Google Maps; the apparent road that continues on the levee past Paris Blvd. is a patchily cobbled cinder blocker surface that proves totally unbikeable.
If you don’t live in the East, your ticket out there is the Leon C Simon Bridge with a narrow sidewalk to walk your bike, which you can access from the biker-friendly Lakeshore Dr.

If you’re biking Chef Highway, there are good parking options at Dong Phuong Bakery (and what better post-ride treat could you ask for?) and Bayou Sauvage Ride Trail and Boardwalk 2 miles further east.

***

These trips have opened my eyes to the encouraging investments people have already made for the health of their communities, and the great deal more to be done to make sure that all neighborhoods – high- and low-income, urban and rural – have close access to safe outdoor recreational options. As you add your own routes to this list, I hope you’ll take the extra step of advocating for all of our city’s walkers, runners, and bikers. This infrastructure isn’t just about recreational bikers like me. Bike Easy, as a member of the New Orleans Complete Streets Coalition, recognizes the health, personal safety, environmental, and economic benefits of investing in better equitable transit for everyone using the road. This is for all of us. See you out there.

Smart Biking Basics Virtual Workshop May 27 & 28

Posted by Laura Harris on May 19, 2020 in Education, Events

Get in gear for riding on the city’s improved bikeway network with this two-session online class

Next week, join Bike Easy’s safety instructors to learn how to feel safe and confident on the road in any traffic situation.

Wednesday, 5/27 Session 1: Bike selection, bike & helmet fit, bike handling, and basic mechanics – ABC Quick Check

RSVP for Session 1

Thursday, 5/28 Session 2: Principles of traffic law, Equipment, clothing and communicating, crash prevention and bike comfort

RSVP for Session 2

These workshops will take place via video conferencing on Zoom. Visit https://zoom.us/ to install.

Participation in both sessions is encouraged, but not required.

Want to learn more? Or want to start on the path of becoming a certified bike safety instructor?

Participants who complete both Smart Biking Basics Sessions will be eligible to complete the Smart Biking program and participate in our in-person on-bike class when it becomes available.

Completing the Smart Biking program is the prerequisite for completing the League Cycling Instructor Seminar, a program to become a certified bike safety instructor, which qualifies you to be able to work for Bike Easy teaching bike safety education. To learn more, visit the League of American Bicyclists at https://bikeleague.org/content/become-instructor or contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Membership is . . .

Posted by Dan Favre on May 1, 2020 in Membership

Executive Director, Dan Favre, reflects on Bike Easy Membership & what biking means to him

Today, Bike Easy kicks off Membership Month. As with most things of spring 2020, it feels a bit strange. Your Membership support is more important than ever, but with the covid crisis, it doesn’t feel right to celebrate this month as we normally would (and in many ways, like the Bicycle Second Line, we just can’t).

Along with scrambling to adjust, we’ve been feeling quite reflective at Bike Easy these days. In preparation for Membership Month, we’ve been asking each other questions like “What does biking mean to you?” and “What is the value in Bike Easy Membership?” and I wanted to share some answers. 

To me, Membership is education, Membership is advocacy, and Membership is community. Membership is the capacity for Bike Easy to do our work, and Membership is belonging & contributing to the movement for better biking. And that movement is growing! With current traffic changes, there are more people out biking than ever and local bike shop business is strong. We want to carry that momentum into Membership Month and beyond.

So, what does biking mean to me? 

As a long-time advocate for protecting and improving Greater New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, I see biking as an equitable and resilient form of mobility that helps build a just, healthy, and happy future for all the people of Greater New Orleans (and the world!). 

More personally, biking is also how I’ve built a lot of my close community in New Orleans. Long before I had heard of Bike Easy, I met many of the folks with whom I’m still good friends through organizing alleycat races, riding in early “social rides” and Critical Mass, and going on the occasional bike date. Now, of course,I’m honored to play a leading role in the bike community.

As for education, biking has taught me a lot about myself. In my years biking in New Orleans, it’s been a mirror to understand how I’ve continued growing and evolving in this place – from coming to grips with shifts in my appetite for risk (i.e. givingup the fixie with no brakes) to better understanding how I keep myself grounded and motivated. 

What does biking mean to you?

All month, we’ll be asking for and sharing your stories to celebrate Membership Month. And, of course, we’ll be asking you to start or renew your Bike Easy Membership with a generous contribution. Whatever your reasons for riding, investing in Bike Easy is the best way to ensure biking is easy, safe, and fun for everyone in Greater New Orleans. 

This year, we’re asking everyone to sign up as a Sustaining Member with an easy, automatic monthly donation to support Bike Easy’s education, advocacy, and community work.

So, let’s get started! Please take a moment to sign up as a Sustaining Member, then answer “What does biking mean to you?” in a quick email to me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). I can’t wait to hear from you!

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