Back in March, at the beginning of the pandemic, we experienced a ‘bike boom’ in New Orleans. More people were riding bikes than had ever been recorded before. It’s one reason we’re happy that bike shops are considered an essential business in New Orleans. As we expect more people to use riding a bike as a way to maintain physical and mental health, let’s all make sure we’re doing our part to keep biking safe and equitable in New Orleans.
First off, if you feel sick or experience any COVID-19 symptoms, we suggest that you do not ride and get tested immediately. Unfortunately, no activity is completely safe at this point, and we must all decide what level of risk we’re willing to take. Still, it is relatively safe to bike. Disease transmission is less likely to occur outside than inside, and you can lower your risk by wearing a mask or a buff. 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).
Like we said before, biking is relatively 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, neworleans.com
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, neworleans.com
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, neworleans.com
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.
You can also ride along any of the new protected bikeways currently being built in New Orleans. Some of our favorites are on Elysian Fields by the river and in Algiers. Check out the New Orleans Complete Streets Coalition’s page on the Moving New Orleans Bike plan to see where those bikeways are.
For more detailed guidance on biking during COVID-19, check out this helpful article from Bicycling.com.