by Jeanie Riess
On the heels of its third annual Bike to Work Day earlier this month, the New Orleans bicycle advocacy group Bike Easy has powered up weekly bike trains to keep people self-propelled on their commutes.
Bike trains are groups of bikers who ride to work together, led by a volunteer conductor. The trains are for everyone, from experienced riders to new ones, and aim to not only help beginners negotiate routes, rules of the road, potholes and other obstacles, but also to encourage a solid biking community for commuters.
Two Mid-City routes leave Bayou St. John at Orleans Avenue each Thursday at 7:45 a.m. One train heads to UNO and the other ends in the CBD. A Friday Uptown ride leaves the St. Charles Avenue entrance of Audubon Park at 7:45 a.m. and ends in the CBD. That train will stop at St. Charles Avenue and Antonine Street at 8:15 a.m. to pick up more riders.
Bike Easy is considering additional routes, too. Visit the organization's website for more information and to see route maps of the weekly rides.
Thanks to efforts like these, the Alliance for Biking and Walking recently ranked New Orleans eighth in the nation for bike commuting for 2014. That's up two spots from 2013, when New Orleans ranked 10th.