There are lots of bicycles in New Orleans, but finding one to rent is not exactly straightforward as one can experience when he looks plans for a two-wheeled tour! At the tourist offices in the French Quarter, the employees look at the “want to bike” guy like at a Martian! Finally I got an address and I headed there immediately, thinking bikes to rent are an exotic product here!
No, not at all, there are plenty of bikes, of all types and for all kind of bikers at Michael’s!
The shop is well stocked and during the time I waited for my city bike I could see the bikes were in good condition. The staff here is competent and friendly, provides maps and advice, listens to your enquiries, and is helpful in route choices if you ask for best routes for your trip; they know what they are talking about.
On picture 1, you see customers returning their bikes to the shop, and on picture 2, the bike I rented next to the Katrina sculpture in the City Park.
Visit New Orleans by bike, it is worth! Many places I discovered here , I reached them on the bike.
622 Frenchmen Street
I think the French Quarter would be an ideal place for biking, for as New Orleans magazine comments, "it's flat here, the winters are usually mild and the city is laid out in a grid".
We noticed numerous bikes secured along the sidewalks on our stay here, so it seems some of the populace agrees. When I was gathering facts regarding the bus/streetcar system, I came across a notice* stating that bikers can ride right up to the bus stop, attach their bikes to a rack, then hop on to travel further.
In the French Quarter, the best way to get around is to walk. The worst way is to have a car.
There are actually bike tours of the city, and you can rent bikes - regular and recumbant from Laid Back Tours, LLC at 625 Hagan Ave. For instance:
The Adventure has an aluminum frame, 24 speeds, front and seat suspension and a very comfortable double density seat. It is a "hybrid" bike which is a cross between a mountain bike and a road bike. The Adventure is the major bike in our two-wheeled standard upright touring fleet. Hybrid bicycle rentals are $25 per day, cruisers are $20 per day.
I noticed that most local youths were highly efficient on the number people riding each bicycle. In some cases, I saw three kids on one bike, making the most of each investment in riding.
Since this is a high tourist area, you are probably better off walking to avoid cars and people, but the locals will come zooming by!
Bicycle rental in New Orleans is the way to go, we rented bikes for the 4 days we were there. The place we rented from, Confederacy of Cruisers, was easy. Brought the bikes, Schwinn cruisers, we didn't need anything fancy in NO to us in the Marigny and gave us an idea of where to go. The first day we went down to the lower 9th, Wow, is all you can say, I'll leave it to everyone else to see for themselves, but this alone was a reason to rent bikes, a van tour wouldn't have done it for us, and we got to see everything first hand and close up, and talked for a little while to a guy working on his house. They got it tough still. Stopped at a seafood restaurant with the biggest plate of fried shrimp I've ever seen.
Also headed uptown to see the mansions, and eat a snowball (important while biking) and headed out to the lak, we headed everywhere, but not far out of our neigborhood at night, we heard it was safe, but we were always tired by then anyway, plus what more do you need than Frenchman street at night, anyhow.
I think Confederacy of Cruisers and Bicycle Michaels are the only places in town that rent bikes right now, at least thats what we were told, but thats enough, and something way better to do than taxiing everywhere.
We wanted to see a bit more of the city than the French Quarter, and luckily ended up in a long conversation in a bar with the guy who just started this company. He was pretty darn funny and seemed to know all kinds of crazy history we didn't know, so we convinced him to give us a dry run of his tour even though he said he wasn't officially opening for bike tours for a few weeks. We are sure glad we did.
He took us around the outer neighborhoods that surround the French Quarter, places we never would have seen otherwise...he showed us the local bars and food joints, and the really cool St Roch cemetary, but more importantly, he stopped everywhere to tell us the stories about what make New Orleans tick, the parades, the mardi gras Indians, the hurricane...the guy was certainly passionate about New Orleans. We also got lucky as the tour never really ended, we just drank with him afterwards at the R Bar (recommended, too). Anyway, he gave us a real different perspective on the history of the city, and what its been through.
Of the few tours we did, this was the funnest, funniest and most eye opening. Oh yeah, its true...New Orleans is flat where ever you go, bikers have it lucky there.
The neighborhoods of New Orleans are very walkable. In fact, I would go so far as to say that in some areas like the French Quarter walking is a must due to the narrow streets and lack of easy parking options. Other interesting areas like the Garden District could be viewed in a car or on foot. I made the poor decision to walk from the French Quarter to the Garden District (about 2.5 miles each way!) and there really wasn't mush to see along the way.
The French Quarter is less than a mile long by about 1/2 mile wide. Some of the streets, such as Bourbon, are traffic free at night, while other streets, including Pirates Alley are always reserved for pedestrians. You'll miss a lot if you speed through this area.
We stayed in the French Quarter and got there by taking a cab from the airport.
Best way to get around within the French Quarter is walk. Streets are narrow so I wouldn't want to drive there. Taxis and buses are convenient.
Expect to walk! If you are visiting the French Quarter, everything is very close, but bring comfortable walking shoes. You'll definitley be doing a lot of walking! You can take a taxi or a shuttle from the airport to your lodging accomodation. Prices are a little cheaper for the shuttle, but it may take longer to get to the hotel as more than likely there will be other passengers to drop off.
Having a rental car and staying in the French Quarter did not work out well for me. I walked and biked for my site seeing and never did use the rental. The cost for parking your car is steep at the hotels.
I rented a bike from Michael's Bicycle at 618 Frenchmen St. (504) 945-9505 and it worked out great for me.
I think the best thing to do would be to park somewhere outside of Bourbon Street and walk over. Part of what ruined this experience was trying to drive through a crowd of people.
Definitely opt for walking up and down Bourbon Street.
There are even parts that you are not allowed to drive through.
either car or plane...you will definately know what a swamp is if you drive there.
get around by WALKING. Don't drive drunk, please. You really only want to go to the french quarter, new orleans really isn't that great a city outside of the drunk quarter, I meant french, sorry.
This was a fun way to get from Canal Street to the Superdome! Pedicab operators are everywhere, it seems. Our pedicab operator charged us $15 to go about 10 (loooong) blocks. Yes, we could have walked it, but it was fun to take the Pedicab and wave and hoot at hollar at the other folks walking to the Dome! Kinda felt like being on a mini-float (are my New Orleans roots showing??)
Anyway, I can totally see this as an option after a long night of bar hopping and you just can't walk another step to get back to your hotel! :-)
There are prices posted inside the cab.
Take anything but your car. Parking is not a fun experience.
Walk. to enjoy it to the fullest you have to have the frredom to explore all the allyways and paths. Make sure to walk the french quarter. It's only walking space.