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Louisiana Cycling Laws
Popular New Orleans Area Training Rides

Map ArchiveFinding a good place to train in New Orleans can be a real challenge to visitors and beginning riders, and is one of their most commonly asked questions. For riders in Metairie, New Orleans, and eastern New Orleans, Lakeshore Drive  has been a focal point of cycling activity for over 40 years. The popular weekend Giro rides follow Lakeshore Drive east as the group warms up every Saturday and Sunday year-round. Another popular place to train is the "Mississippi River Trail" aka the Levee Bike Path atop the river levee beginning at Audubon Park. On the North Shore, the Tammany Trace linear park is a popular site for warmups and access to other roads, running atop an old railroad bed from Covington to Abita Springs and then east to Slidell, with Ranger Stations and parking just North of I-12, at the Covington trailhead, and at the Mandeville trailhead. There are usually a few weekend training rides on the Northshore starting from various locations including the Lee Road Middle School and Cucumber Corner.


The Giro Ride




GIRO RIDE SPEED CHART

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This is the standard big group weekend training ride in New Orleans. These very informal training rides leave every Saturday and Sunday at about 7:00 a.m. Saturdays tend to be a bit faster and larger than Sundays. Most riders meet at the Starbucks on Harrison Avenue, leaving at about 7:00 am, and riding toward the lake on Marconi Blvd., picking up additional riders at Robert E. Lee Blvd. and hitting Lakeshore Drive at about 7:05 am. (Jan. '12). Feel free to contact the Webmaster for updated information if you are new or visiting. The Giro Ride route, while a good choice for weekend mornings, is not necessarily the best option for solo weekday riding.

This 45-mile ride traditionally follows Lakeshore Drive (you can catch the group there if you're a bit late) east to Hayne Blvd., continues on Hayne to Paris Road, and heads south to Chef Menteur Hwy (Hwy 90), turning East to Venetian Isles and returning essentially the same way. In-season rides can be tough, with sprints at the end of Hayne, Chef Highway, the Service Road, and the top of the two bridges. Group size varies from about 10 in the dead of winter to about 50 in mid-summer. These rides were started many years ago by Glenn Gulotta as a traning ride for his West End team, and subsequently became one of the most consistent training rides in town. A great way to get in a hard training ride and still be home before 10:00. The group does a slow warm-up on Lakeshore Drive on the way out, with the pace picking up to the high-20's and low 30's once it crosses the Industrial Canal bridge. Take a look at the Giro Ride Map and Speed Chart or search Strava to see the route and to get an idea of what a typical mid-summer Giro Ride (in this case, June 2012) is like. This is a traditional training ride that is not organized or conducted by any particular club or bike shop.


Training Races

Wednesday Traning Race Map

 


MAP OF NORTHSHORE RACE CIRCUIT


Wednesday Lakeshore Dr. Training Races

Currently (March '14) the informal Wednesday Worlds training races are starting at 6:00 pm every Wednesday from the southside parking area just east of the Elysian Fields Avenue traffic circle on Lakeshore Drive (2240 Lakeshore Drive). Mandatory, standing start, foot down at 6:00 pm sharp from the East end if the parking lot, turning right out of the parking lot. 3 laps (18 miles), increasing to 4 laps as the days get longer. There is a Facebook page for the ride.

Northshore training races are held on Tuesdays. This is a standing ride - 5:00 PM start at Caboose (Koop Drive Trace Trailhead) - route is posted here - note that we take the Trace up to Josephine St north of Abita Springs (not Hwy 36 as shown on the map). We will normally be by Abita Springs trail head around 5:20 PM and St Benedict's Church on Smith Rd at 5:35 - 5:45 PM. The course is about 45 miles with some rolling hills and the pace can get fast. .

NOTE: These training races are done only during the summer months while we're on daylight savings time.


River Levee


[SEE A MAP OF AUDUBON PARK BIKE PATH START]

[SEE A MAP OF THE MORNING LEVEE TRAINING RIDE ROUTE]

MAP OF CONTRUCTION AREA (2013-15) AND SUGGESTED DETOUR



Click to see photo albumWeekday Morning Levee Rides

NOTE: As of July 2014 access to the levee bike path upriver of the Huey P. Long bridge has required riding out along River Road, which is not recommended. As a result, riders from the uptown New Orleans area have instead been meeting on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the north end of Nashville Avenue (where it meets Fontainbleau) for 5:45 am in order to ride out to the lakefront and meet another group of riders near the west end of Lakeshore Drive at around 6:10. The combined group then rides a lap of Lakeshore Drive and continues west onto the Linear Park along the lake out to Williams Blvd. and then returns. The mileage works out to around 42 with most riders back home by 8 am. There are some riders who live in Jefferson Parish who are still able to conveniently ride the river levee bike path.

As of January 13, 2014 the US Corps of Engineers' contractors have begun breaking up the bike path starting from the Orleans/Jefferson parish line (near Dakin St./Oak St.) and moving upriver. At present the work area is fenced off from there to the upriver end of Ochsner Hospital, about 7/10 of a mile. This is part of a major project to raise sections of the levee that have settled and will be done is sections of 500 to 1,000 feet over a two year period. According to the levee district and the corps, construction will occur in two sections: A 4.2-mile stretch from the Orleans Parish line upstream to Crislaur Avenue and a 4.5-mile stretch from Orchard Road upstream to the St. Charles Parish line. The contractor, Hernandez Consulting, started fencing off one of those sites in December 2013. Though the project will last about two years, Hernandez will work on one section at a time, so each one will be closed for about a year each. Once the work is done, the levee will be two to three feet higher.

Current weekday morning rides (updated 3/12/14): Morning rides on Tuesdays through Fridays are now starting at the Jefferson Playground parking area on River Road next to the River Road Flea Market, 3908 River Rd, Jefferson, LA 70121. The current start times and distances are below. Tuesdays and Thursdays tend to be fairly fast. Wednesdays and Fridays tend to be smoother paceline. If it's dark, you'll want to have a headlight. Riding out to the Jefferson Playground from New Orleans on River Road is not highly recommended.

  • Tuesday & Thursday: 6:15 am start from Jefferson Playground to the Ormond bench near Ormond Plantation and back (32 miles).
  • Wednesday & Friday: 6:30 am start from Jefferson Playground to the "Little Dip" at Club Drive and back (22 miles).

The bike path atop the Mississippi River Levee, officially called the Mississippi River Trail (MRT), is a nice place to train and take in some scenery, particularly when it's not too crowded (early mornings). This silky-smooth asphalt path starts at Audubon Park near the Zoo and extends about 22 miles upriver through Kenner with no intersections and no traffic except for the occasional police car. The path should extend nearly all the way to the Spillway by 2014. It can get a bit windy up on the levee, particularly in the winter, but it still provides one of the only traffic-free places to train. There is a small but fairly regular group that trains on the bike path on weekday mornings.

 

WeMoRi The WeMoRi (Wednesday Morning Ride) group starts near Robert's grocery on Robert E. Lee Blvd. near Pontchartrain Blvd. on, obviously, Wednesday mornings at 5:45 am for a route that includes part of Lakeshore Drive and a loop or two around City Park. The ride includes a few sprint points and can get quite fast.
Summer Northshore LSD Rides
There are weekend long, slow distance (LSD) rides on the Northshore geared toward offering riders a chance to increase base miles and/or recover from any harder rides they have done during the week. If you need a faster weekend ride, consider doing the Sat./Sun. Giro rides on the Southshore or the Saturday Team Earthquake ride on the Northshore. Distances are around 50 miles with a pace of 18-21 mph. This ride changes every week, so you need to check the NOBC e-mail group for details.

Lakeshore Drive

Lakeshore Drive has always been the city's most popular location for individual and group training. For many riders throughout the area, a typical weekday training ride involves a warm-up ride to Lakeshore Drive, 10 or 15 miles along the lakefront, and a cool-down ride back home. The complete 10-mile out-n-back course offers a good surface, relatively little traffic, few intersections and pleasant scenery. The Eastern end from the Seabrook bridge to Bayou St. John is a popular 6-mile loop that has also been used for the summer afternoon Tuesday/Thursday training races. Riders can be found training individually or in small groups on weekday mornings and evenings throughout the year. Feel free to join in with whoever you can catch!

St. Charles/ Audubon Park
[SEE A MAP] 

Some local riders can be found training on St. Charles Ave. and Carrollton Ave. between S. Claiborne and Jackson Ave., along the streetcar line , although this route is not for the faint of heart, and is best before 7:00 a.m. on weekdays. It offers a reasonably good road surface and is sufficiently wide, but has lots of intersections and opening doors. The compete out-n-back distance is 10 miles. Despite the 10 mph speed limit, riders often resort to the Audubon Park loop when traffic uptown is bad. The long loop that crosses Magazine St. is about 3 miles, but you really can't go faster than about 15 in the front section except very early in the morning. This ride can be extended by turning onto the new bike path atop the Mississippi River Levee (see below). In 2013 a bike lane was added on Carrollton Avenue from St. Charles to S. Claiborne and on St. Charles from Carrollton to Nashville Ave.

City Park Loop

[SEE A MAP]

The perimeter of City Park is a popular training route that offers relatively few intersections and a generally good road surface. Considering the ongoing road construction on Lakeshore Drive, this route is particularly popular right now. There are numerous variations of this loop, which can be extended to include a piece of Lakeshore Drive. One circuit follows Wisner, City Park Ave., Marconi, and Robt. E. Lee, and is popular in mid-winter with riders avoiding the piercing North wind coming off the Lake. The distance around is about 10 miles, but can be shortened by cutting through the park in a couple of places. Wisner Blvd. has a wide freshly paved (2010) shoulder and also a meandering bike path along the bayou. Marconi Blvd. and Robert E. Lee Blvd. were both repaved in recent years with Robert E. Lee getting bicycle "share arrows."

Linear Park

The Linear Park was originally an old road, now converted and mostly relocated into a bike path between the lake levee and the lake itself. It runs along the South shore of Lake Pontchartrain the entire length of Jefferson Parish. In early 2014 the last of the bridges across the outfall canals was finished, and an underpass beneath Causeway Blvd. was added in 2012, so it is now a nice continuous path. You can get on at Bucktown, and at most of the major North/South streets like Causeway. The path runs all the way to the West edge of Kenner, then crosses the levee and continues South almost to the Interstate.

Abita Springs & Northshore


[Enon-Plainview
SEE A MAP]

Enon-Pine, 65mi.
MAP

 


See also the Northshore winter ride link above. Abita Springs has long been a popular starting point for "country rides" north of the Lake. Weekend rides generally start at the school in town, near the Abita Springs park, and head north toward Enon, Folsom, Franklinton, and Bogalusa. Various groups organize rides out of Abita Springs throughout the year. Roads in the area are generally lightly traveled and offer some small rolling hills. Typical early spring training rides allow riders to get in 60-80 hard miles before noon. Get there via La.-59 north of I-12. There is a rails-to-trails route (the Tammany Trace) from Mandeville to Abita Springs that may be of interest to "significant others."

Popular rides out of Abita Springs include:

  • The Short Loop: Go North out of Abita Springs on 435 and take the first left after the Quail Farm onto 1080. This is a fine road that continues North, crosses 21 and eventually meets Hwy. 40. Turn left on 40, then left again on Military Road (1082). Go South on 1082 to 21, then a short jog left and immediately right onto 59 and back into Abita Aprings. About 25 miles. Stop at the Abita Brew Pub in Abita Springs to recover.
  • The Talisheek Loop: Follow 435 out of Abita Springs to Talisheek where it meets 41. North on 41 to 40 (there's a nice road to the left off of 40 that cuts the corner, but I forget the name). Follow 40 through Bush until it meets 1082. Turn South on 1082 and follow it back to Abita (same as the short loop). Around 35 miles.
  • The Enon Loop: This is the standard winter training ride, and can be adjusted from 49 miles to 80 miles. Take 59 North from Abita to 1082. Follow 1082 North into the rolling countryside past Dorignac farms to 40. Turn left on 40, which is a fairly busy highway, and continue a few miles to Fairhaven Rd. Turn right on Fairhaven (enjoy the hills) then right again at the stop sign. Continue North until the road curves left and take Louisiana Tung Rd. to 437. Follow 437 (sprint for the parish sign) North over Watchtower hill, and enjoy the long coast down to the Bogue Chitto river and Enon (27 mi.). From Enon there are a number of options. One of the more popular ones is to continue North to Tullos Rd., turning left at the fire station there and eventually meeting 1072 which takes you into Franklinton. Turn left at bumpy Jenkins road (or go a few miles further to Franklinton. This takes you to La.16. Turn left on 16 and follow it back to Enon. One alternate route from Enon includes a ride farther North to Moore Rd, then to Plainview and back to Enon. Distance is about 50 miles from Abita Springs to Enon and back, or about 65 miles to Franklinton and back. The long loop thorough Bogalusa and Plainview is around 80 miles.

Red Bluff

SEE A MAP
(out and back route)


SEE A MAP
(Loop Route)

 


These legendary training rides will consume much of your day (it's about an hour and a half drive), but periodic group training rides to this Mississippi location (click for a map of the area) can serve as valuable tools for assessing your fitness for competitive road racing on courses with significant hills. The out-and-back ride south of Montecello, Mississippi incorporates some significant climbs, even though about half of the ride is essentially flat. What we're talking about here isn't exactly Everest, but it will show you what it's like to have to stand up in a 39x21 and wonder how much farther it is to the top (and whether you'll make it). If you are really looking for a serious workout, an alternate loop of around 33 miles provides much more climbing, and serves as a good test for the masochistic or sadistic rider (depending on fitness level ).