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Biking has recently exploded in New Orleans, pushing the Big Easy into various top 20 lists of best U.S. cities for cycling. (Forbes ranked New Orleans as No. 16 in its 2015 “Most Bike-Friendly Cities in the U.S.,” and the city landed at No. 19 in Bicycling.com’s “The 50 Best Bike Cities of 2016.”)
But New Orleans boasted an avid cycling scene long before that, too.
“Even before Hurricane Katrina, the number of people riding bikes to work in New Orleans increased,” said Dan Favre, executive director of Bike Easy, a local advocacy group for biking in the city. “It’s nearly three times the amount since 2000, and that’s really evident by just looking around the streets of New Orleans.”
There are numerous bike-rental and bike-tour companies throughout the destination, with several located in and around the tourist-centric French Quarter and Central Business District. Here are a few of our favorites.
A Bicycle Named Desire A Bicycle Named Desire — located at 632 Elysian Fields, just outside the French Quarter — rents cruisers for the day, overnight or for the week.
American Bicycle Rental Co.Located in the French Quarter, family-owned American Bicycle Rental Co. rents American-made cruisers. It also offers tours through its Free Wheelin’ Bike Tours.
Arts District Bike Rental Arts District Bike Rental features a unique experience by offering lighted bikes that glow in rainbow colors at night — an option that has been extremely popular with groups. Cyclists can rent these illuminated bicycles for $15 from 6 p.m. to midnight from owner Jane Howard.
The company’s new guided Night Ride Tour includes escorts that lead parties of 10 or fewer through New Orleans after-hours. The guided tour retails for $49.
Wheel Fun Rentals Visitors booking with Wheel Fun Rentals can opt for the approximately three- to four-hour self-guided tour that includes City Park’s massive trails, the French Quarter and several local landmarks.
Located in City Park, at Big Lake near the park’s main entrance, the company rents out fun bikes such as cruisers, tandems and a double surrey that seats four.
Note: In addition to biking the many colorful, historic neighborhoods of the city, riders should also cycle the Lafitte Greenway — a newly opened 2.6-mile linear park from the outer limits of the French Quarter to close to City Park — and Crescent Park, a 1.4-mile route that follows the Mississippi River.