New Orleans' bike infrastructure has grown significantly over the last decade. The city now has more than 100 miles of shared lanes, dedicated bike lanes and buffered bike lanes — and hordes of brightly lit, technicolored bicycles are using them on any given night of the week. You've likely passed dozens, or hundreds, of neon LED hoops swarming neutral grounds and sidewalks outside bars and restaurants and lighting up the night across town. With rims decked out with pink, blue, rainbow-flecked and tie-dyed rope lights, riders and their bikes congregate at weekly meetups called social rides, a growing scene of informal bike rides — caravaning street parties, bar crawls, networking events, potential meet-cutes — cropping up in neighborhoods throughout the New Orleans area.
Riders don't have to be particularly fit (no all-over spandex required), but having a bike (or renting one) and knowing how to use it well enough for a relatively slow, three-hour-long stroll-pace ride are required. Here are several social rides hitting the streets and trails.
Get Up N Ride
Known for tricked-out LED lights, Bike Rite's weekly rides meet at spots throughout the city and stop at bars and events along the route. Blake Owens and Nick Reed co-founded the group in 2010. The rides now attract up to 600 riders each week. Follow the group's Twitter and Instagram (@getupnride_nola) for updates.
It's All About the Music Bike Ride
The group typically meets in Armstrong Park and stops at music venues during the night. Follow the group's Facebook page for schedule changes, special rides and other updates.
Recent Wednesday rides met at Harris Playground and stopped at the 7th Ward's Prime Example Jazz Club. Search for the group on Facebook.
Happy Thursday Social Ride
NOLA Social Ride's slow-paced weekly ride stops at bars and restaurants on its route and ends about 10 p.m. A recent ride through Mid-City started at Parkway Bakery and Tavern and ended at Treo. Follow the group's Facebook page for updates.
NOLA Social Ride
Since its launch in 2010, the group has gained thousands of followers on social media and is a one-stop shop for social ride activities in the New Orleans area, including weekly and special rides, workshops and more. The ride meets at different neighborhoods each Thursday. Check the calendar for a schedule.
Algiers Street Riders, Gretna Social Ride, Terrytown Social Ride and West Bank Social Riders groups meet throughout the week for rides on the East and West Banks. A Friday Night EZ Ride rolls most Fridays, meeting up where Huey P. Long Avenue meets the Mississippi River, then rolling through Old Gretna and Algiers. Find the various groups and their upcoming ride information by searching their names on Facebook.