The shop features a random dog, substantially more pleasant to converse with than the employees. But hey, its Nawlins. Regrettably, the spiffy Surly track bike pictured here would not be my rental. No, that honor would be bestowed upon this mighty steed:
Looks like it's Andy for the Schwinn! The front shock has essentially no damping and the frame geometry is right off the rack at WalMart, so sure go ahead and say what you will. But know this - that big dumpy saddle is quite comfortable on NOLA city streets, which are horrible. After a day of riding, that racy Surly was looking a little less comfy. But easy seat aside, the thing resonates every little bump in the asphalt through my joints like any lousy cheap-o aluminum frame bike.
Bike rental is a must-do for me now in any city. I did a couple days in Seattle last summer and it was awesome. Same here. Leave the bike shop and start rolling further east through the Marigny and Bywater - neighborhoods I never would have walked to (and this city does not appear to have any buses at all) - and it's so awesome. What a cool place. Then ride back through the Quarter and the narrow, traffic-choked one-way streets become like an urban-biking proving grounds. Splitting the hairs between the stopped cars and the parked cars (puhleeze don't pop open, door up there!), riding a foot off of moving cars, passing horsey carriages, disobeying almost all traffic regulation for no reason. All from the bicycle-hooligan bag of tricks I picked up in my riding days in Madison/Chicago. So beyond this basic enjoyment of riding, the big pro is I can get to all the neighborhoods now, double back when I don't find what I'm looking for, loop through all the endless photogenic sidestreets, etc. But to recommend it to anyone I'd have to say you need to be comfortable riding with traffic.
At any rate, here's Bourbon Street early going on a Saturday night.
About all I needed to see. It's like a condensed version of the worst of Las Vegas. The douchebaggery is so rampant that I figure it could only exist in the world as a parody of itself. Looking at it that way, I'm cool with it. Like Vegas, everyone should experience it once and assume that you'd be having so much more fun if you were the guy urinating against that pickup truck. I'll head back to Frenchmen and the Spotted Cat, which has a pretty wailing dixieland jazz group going with no cover. Abita time. And of course a blurry, oops-I-forgot-it-detected-night-conditions-and-set-the-exposure-crazy-long-and-I-moved-the-camera-before-it-was-done-but-oh-well-it-might-be-a-cool-picture-anyway-like-I-meant-to-do-it.