You're visiting NOLA and think you need to rent a car? Foolishness! You already live in NOLA and don't have a bike? Nonsense! After 10 days I can assure you that with the tiniest bit of planning for tours that require you take interstate, everything else can (and should) be done by bike. Instead of credit cards and your Valium, pack your bike helmet and lock and give NOLA's bumper-to-bumper traffic and copious one-way streets a giant FU by biking it instead. Trust me. It's the way you want to roll.
Drag Queen brunch with bottomless mimosas at The Country Club followed by antique- and thrift-store shopping? Check.
Cafe au Lait and beignets to go from Cafe du Monde for your cruise on the Steamboat Natchez? Check.
French Quarter for branded cocktails on Bourbon Street, late night jazz on Frenchmen, and the haunted history of pirate (or patriot) Jean Lafitte? Check.
Wildlife and nature? HECK YEAH!
Dollar General and WalMart for sunscreen, bandaids, bike tools, and antihistamines? Check.
Chalmette Battlefield and Malus-Beauregard Plantation for some historical reference? Check.
Ferry (for $2!) across the Mississippi to Algiers Points for some Appetite Repair Shop food? Check.
CVS on Canal for 24-hour squeezable frozen drinks and (very) late night munchies? Check.
Freebies like festivals and parades, cemeteries (the Metairie Cemetery was a racetrack - you want to bike it), Gentilly-Hastings Pool (summer only but still), and the trail systems at City Park? All covered.
These bikes are not fancy, but they are totally functional. "Lilly" the Huffy was bought from the NOLA Youth Empowerment Project (YEP) and is a coaster-brake (backpedal) Cruiser bike. Lilly comes with a free multi-tool so you can loosen up her handlebars, turn them 90 degrees, and shove her in your trunk. If you like, you could take Lilly back to YEP and they can probably help you get her in tip top shape with a truing stand and spoke key...
"Gregg" the Pacific Vista is a mountain bike found on Craigslist from a bike enthusiast with possibly some bike hoarding tendencies like my husband. (No judgments, just an observation.) Gregg has a quick-release front tire so he will fit in your trunk with Lilly fine so he comes with a free tire repair kit instead. Gregg could use a little love with the brakes, but again, did I mention YEP can probably help you out with that?
HOW MUCH WILL OWNING THIS MUCH AWESOME COST?
You can buy either one for $60 or take the pair - that's TWO WHOLE BIKES - for just $100 and we will throw in the can of WD40 we used to lube them up for absolutely NO EXTRA DOLLARS! You can take a bus to pick up the bikes, and most buses are equipped with a bike rack so even those further-away locations you're worried about being too hot and tired to reach are at your disposal for just $3/day for unlimited bus travel on the RTA.
Want to see the adventures of Lilly and Greg? Check out the pics. Then buy the bikes. Be a part of the legacy. #holanola
See the Craigslist ad (and buy the bikes) here, then check back for the complete story of Hope and Bill in the Big Easy with Lilly and Greg (and Stu) right here, later.