New Orleans impressions:
Trolleys grinding, with hinged wooden seats, houses built on top of one another, music, music, music, brick streets; there are hundreds of wonderful reasons to visit New Orleans. But is it a good place to ride bikes?
Yes! Though New Orleans is not the most progressive city in which to cycle, it has some distinct advantages. In the French Quarter, the streets are narrow and distances are not great, so it makes far more sense to bike than to use a car. In the Garden District, streets are wide and many of the side streets are traffic light. There are also Neutral Zones (medians to people outside the area) where joggers and mountain bikers traverse without worry. Currently there is also a ferry across the river, free to pedestrians and cyclists. The city and its population are making extensive progress in its bike friendly endeavor, building bike lanes and paths and creating bike centered maps.
We rented bikes from Crescent City Bike Tours, located on North Rampart. They worked to find us bikes we would enjoy riding (we are more the road bike type than the comfort bike type). The day began with a tour, which was led by a guy who obviously loves New Orleans and was very down to earth. The tour was very small, so you could hear the guide and were not constantly waiting for the back of the pack to catch up. They gave us a map, which we later used independently to travel up to City Park and Lake Pontchatrain.