Happy trails Nola Social Ride lights up Mid-City Thursdays

Written By: Meghan Henoumont

Thousands of lights winked from bike tires and handle bars as Nola Social Ride coasted through Mid-City. Costumed cyclists yelled, “Happy Thursday!” to residents waving from their porches. Only in New Orleans could a Thursday night inspire a Wizard of Oz-themed party. On bikes.

Nola Social Ride is a bicycle enthusiast collective made up of hundreds of riders from every New Orleans neighborhood and walk of life imaginable. Dreamed up in October of 2010, the organization began as an idea for a weekly ride where bike lovers could meet up while promoting bike culture in the Big Easy.

In the four years since the organization’s inception the initial weekly rides have expanded to themed rides on every day of the week except Monday and now include events such as bike-in movies. The group has become so popular rides have spilled out of Orleans Parish to the North Shore and the Westbank.

Nola Social Ride is run as a collective, meaning anyone with a bike can join or start a themed ride. Some of the regular weekly rides include Tuesday’s “It’s all about the music” ride, Wednesday’s “Rabid” rides and Thursday’s “Happy Thursday!” rides. The themes are created by members and executed with carnival-like zeal.

One of the most striking features of attending a Social ride are the personalized bikes. Like a nomadic village of cyclists, the group brings the comforts of home along for the three-hour ride, by attaching dog carrier wagons and speaker systems to the rear of their bikes. Everyone embraces their inner firefly by wrapping Christmas lights and Fiber-optics around their bike frame.

While most of the rides begin at bars, the rides can be tracked on the Nola Social Ride website: www.nolasocialride.org, in case anyone gets separated or wants to meet up after the ride has taken off.

There is no need to sign up ahead of time. Interested cyclists can just show up at the meet-up point and ride with the group which is near 200 members. There’s no need to know anyone. The atmosphere is relaxed and festive with an out-going vibe where everyone shares drinks and laughs.

If you have a bike, love to ride and want to meet others in the cycling community, here’s a list of upcoming rides and events. Happy pedaling!

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