In the earlier part of June, there was quite an artful display of bicycle riding along the streets of western St. Tammany Parish. As soon as I saw this bright yellow bicycle built for two at a local snowball stand, it was obviously summertime!
On the morning of Sunday, June 8th, the historic downtown Covington area became the backdrop for the Criterium stage of the 43rd annual Tour de Louisiane three-stage bicycle race. It’s promoted by the New Orleans Bicycle Club, and distinguished as the oldest club-promoted stage race in North America.
Luke and I had missed seeing both the Juniors’ and Women’s Criterium stage races, but were able to watch the men race through the city. A colorful pack of racers whizzed by us while we were on our way to Mattina Bella’s restaurant for breakfast. I have to say, the contrast between the older buildings and the contemporary bikes ridden by the color-coordinated competitive cyclists really caught my eye!
The following weekend, on the Saturday before Father’s Day, a wide variety of artful cycling enthusiasts traversed in a ‘spontaneous ride’ (not a parade) at a more casual pace during the 14th annual Louisiana Bicycle Festival in the Town of Abita Springs historic district. It was a whimsical display of rusty old classic bikes, home built eccentric rides, art bikes, vintage cruisers, trikes, tandems, velo-cars, a handmade ornithopter bicycle (with flapping wings!), and even a bicycle-canoe.
It was really a laid-back day, and everyone just rode around like they did when they were a kid. Without a doubt, riding a bicycle is about having fun! I imagine that Grant Petersen, founder of Rivendell Bicycle Works and author of Just Ride, might enjoy attending this festival, too.
Being around all of these bikes really motivated me to want to start riding again (with a helmet, of course). I know it’s good for my health, will improve my fitness, and will give me more energy. I enjoy being out in nature, and seeing all the different sights while bike riding. Plus, I just love it!
We’re very fortunate to live in a bicycle-friendly area in Louisiana, and so close to the Tammany Trace with wonderfully popular biking trails. I don’t currently have my own bicycle (yet), but there are a few places near the Trailheads along the Trace, like Brooks’ Bike Shop in Covington and the Shiver Shack Snowballs in Mandeville, with rentals that we can ride in the meantime.
Most of the bike rentals I’ve come across are beach cruiser style bicycles, similar to those made by Sixthreezero, Schwinn, and Firmstrong. I’d love to eventually own a Rivendell, Pashley, Biria USA, Linus, or Pilen beach cruiser bicycle that’s custom built to my own personal specs (if you’d like, check out my preferences of bike styles, accessories, riding apparel, and all things bicycle-related on my Pinterest board).
But before I buy anything, I need to determine where and how I’m going to store a bike inside our home. I’ll be back soon with a follow-up post where we’ll talk about unique, stylish, and creative storage solutions for displaying a bicycle indoors like a piece of art.
Have you gone on a bike ride lately? Where do you enjoy riding a bicycle? Do tell!