Monday, May 26, 2008

Bicycling in New Orleans

Yesterday was so eventful that when I finally came home with intentions of posting; I instead fell instantly into a deep coma (complete with pillow drool and smeared mascara) that lasted until 8 this morning.

Here's the scoop. We decided that since we are leaving soon we should take advantage of the beautiful and strange city that is so close to us. So we loaded up the bicycles, the dog and the kid and headed over to New Orleans for what would probably be our last visit before we leave.

I know I have mentioned before how hot it gets here, but something about New Orleans makes it feel even hotter. Jeremy says it has to do with all the asphalt and concrete; I think it's because the city is so far below sea level and the humidity just sinks into it. Let me attempt to describe for you how hot it was. It's as if the sun reached down with it's fiery sun arms, pimp-slapped you and then made you it's bitch. Still not gettin the picture? It was so hot that even the locals looked at us like we were insane when we told them what we were doing. Were we deterred in any way? Shoot no! Because we're just crazy like that. And I was all: well what the heck did people one hundred years ago do? They didn't even have air conditioning? Suck it up!

Thus the adventure began. I had always imagined New Orleans to be a pretty bike friendly city. And I suppose it is in a way. We were able to get around the French Quarter fairly easily, my bell came in pretty handy when the crowds of pedestrians wouldn't scoot over. And many people took pictures of our bikes and especially the basket with Fairway in it. He was a big hit.

The difficulty began when we headed up St Charles towards the Audubon Zoo. We were staying on the right of the road, but people were driving pretty fast and coming really close to my bike. I don't think many of them even saw me. I asked Jeremy to lead so that if anyone got crashed into, it would be me. Yeah, you do stuff like that when you have kids...sheesh. There is a median On St Charles that is wide enough for two trolley cars to pass at once so we decided to ride in between the tracks.

This at first was not difficult because there was a pretty well worn path made by bikes in between the rails of each track and we just followed those. The problem came when we had to cross over onto the other track for a trolley that was heading our way. Jeremy is a mountanbiker and his bike has some pretty chunky tires.   He could probably climb over a mountain of squirming puppies with that bike, but my bike is not made the same way and I think both of us failed to realize that. When I tried to transverse the tracks it would wobble and I almost lost control. Jeremy was all: you have to take it at a 90 degree angle!  And I was all: I am, now shut up!

So, maybe I took it at more of an 88 degree angle. The fact remains, I wiped out... in slow motion.  As I was falling, two thoughts popped into my head,  A) thank God I didn't wear a dress and B) thank God Ellie wasn't on the back of my bike. The people in the passing trolley were all laughing at me and taking pictures of me and the bike sprawled on the ground and I sat there and waved at them. Partly because if anyone understands the humor in people falling down (unhurt of course) it's me, and also because I had such an adrenaline rush that my whole body was shaking. Ellie was very frightened and seeing her Mother fly off her bike and land on the ground, so as I was sitting there I tried to make her smile by making silly faces. The rest of the day she recounted for us and the Grandparents how "Mommy CRASH".

What truly amazes me is how Fairway managed to fly out of the basket as it was flying off of the bike and still come over to me to make sure I was all right, and all with the use of only one eye. He is my little pirate/doggie knight.

After that fun tumble my bike made a lovely grinding sound and Jeremy (Macgyver) checked it out but was unable to get it fixed without being at home with his booty of tools. We stopped and drank an elephant bladders worth of water and headed back for our car. Ellie fell asleep on the way back to the car and I made up songs to go with the grinding tune from my bike.

I was a little disappointed that I wasn't able to find any chic cyclists out and about. they were probably smart enough to try and avoid heat stroke. I did find this bike though which I thought was pretty cool.

All in all we biked about 10 miles in 90+ degree heat.  It was a good day.

He had a good time, and a good laugh at my expense.

She had a wonderful time and even added a new word to her vernacular.....aww yeah.

He....well, you can see he had a good time.

And me, well, I learned allot about myself and my bike which I will tell you about tomorrow. But for now, I have a BBQ calling my name.


Anonymous said...

I miss you 1000 times over!

mindcaster said...

congrats on your (what I take) first gracious fall! :)

*You've now been Dutchified*

Velveteen Mind - Megan said...

I swear, no one understands the heat in New Orleans until they have traversed ten miles in jeans.

And I love biking stories in New Orleans. We used to live both in the French Quarter and Uptown and hands down Uptown is far more difficult to maneuver. But you can cover the French Quarter in five minutes on a bike, so what are your choices?

Oh, I just remembered! (train of thought in a comment, you gotta love it) Everyone rides their bikes along River Road. You would have loved that!!! They have special bike paths that travel along the levee and dog parks all along the way with tons of dogs playing with their cute owners.

I am quickly falling in loud, passionate love with your blog. Now, ahem, playdate? You big bailer.

dcdouglas said...

In terms of DC housing, you may wish to consider the outer edge of Capitol Hill (either NE or SE). There's lots of stuff close in north of H street NE that's still sketchy enough to have a reasonable cost. You get an added bonus with the nightlife that's opening in the Atlas theater district.

Also, Capitol Hill has some of the better bike lanes in town. I've been bike commuting downtown for four years now, and it's really, really easy.

Roadrider said...

You rode in-between the streetcar tracks?!! Yikes. St. Charles gets much nicer past Napoleon when it goes from two lanes to one. If traffic is bad you can just take any of the parallel streets between there and the river. (I like Prytania.) They all end up at Audubon Park! Glad your fall wasn't too bad and you didn't get run over by the streetcar. I think the heat index was really off the charts that day because of the humidity. Maybe you should have stopped for a snoball!

Jillian said...

Well, thank you for that bit of advice, I wish I had it yesterday. But, on the bright side, I did learn what NOT to do with my bike.

Anonymous said...

Love your blog

In all seriousness - glad to hear you and Fairway survived the bike crash.
In the humor of "people falling down - unhurt of course" it is unfortunate you weren't wearing a dress.
Part of the cycle chic is the fashion and the sexiness;
which preludes the question: Had you been wearing a dress; What vivid color of panties would we have been honored to see?

Jillian said...

We will just never know about that will we. I do often wonder though what kind of undies the women in burqas have on underneath all that black.

pollyhaw said...

that bike you liked, with the box on the front is a christiania i think, we just got one, well almost like tomorrow, cargo bikes, so lovelt, can't wait me and my little girl and going exploring!

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