When you think of great places for cycling you may think of France, Amsterdam, and California . . . but could Southwest Louisiana be included on that list? Thanks to a push by an unprecedented number of organizations, governments, and businesses, this region is buzzing with bicycle advocacy, bike lane construction, and group rides on any kind of bicycle you can think of.Below are some groups, events, and locations that will encourage you to dust off your 10-speed, pump up the tires, and hit the road.
The Slow Spokes Biking Social: Slow Spokes Rides are easy and relaxing. Enjoy a pleasant cruise around Lake Charles, often stopping along the way for beverages, art classes, live music, or whatever is going on in town. These rides are the perfect place to show off your beach cruiser or festival bike. https://www.facebook.com/Lakechuckbrewscruise/
Group Rides from Southern Bicycle Company: These group rides are a safe and fun way to enjoy or break in to road cycling. Three groups -- beginner, intermediate and expert -- leave Southern Bicycle shop on Prien Lake Road Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m., and Saturdays at 7:00 a.m. for a 20-40 mile ride. Helmets and road bikes are required.
Bon Temps Triathletes Tri Tuesdays: This fun loving Triathlon Club hosts a mini triathlon at I-10 beach every Tuesday at 5:00 p.m. A short open water swim is followed by a bike ride down River Rd., and finishes with a run down the beach and boardwalk. This is a great way to break in to triathlon and try something new.https://www.facebook.com/groups/bontempstriathletes/
Sam Houston Jones State Park has some of the best mountain bike trails in Louisiana. Start with the family friendly Orange Trail that follows the river and work your way up to the more technical Blue, Yellow, Purple and Red Trails.
Cycling Louisiana's Outback on the Creole Nature Trail is a great way to experience our area’s natural beauty. Ride from Chessons Grocery to Gibstown Bridge and back. You will see many species of wildlife, birds, wild flowers, and fish as you ride along wide bike lanes South through Cameron Prairie National Wildlife Refuge.https://www.fws.gov/refuge/cameron_prairie/
Tour Lafitte: The Tour is SWLA’s premier cycling event. This massive road tour takes place every first weekend in May, with a choice of 10, 27, 50, or 62.5 mile routes. Starting and finishing at the Lake Charles Civic Center, each route is fully stocked with aid stations and plenty of volunteer support. After the ride, stick around for food, music, and big giveaways like bicycles from Specialized and Trek! https://tourlafitte.com/
Wheels of Hope: The Wheels of Hope Bike Ride is a charity ride to benefit the St. Nicholas Center for Children. Routes range from 5 to 75 miles and include fully supported aid stations and the natural beauty of Calcasieu Parish, from Moss Bluff to DeQuincy. Post-ride, enjoy a Taste of Louisiana with some of the best gumbo, jambalaya, boudin, and other local delicacies. http://wheelsofhopelc.com/
While participating in any cycling activity, please ride safely and responsibly. Always wear a helmet. Have several reflectors on your bike, and front and rear bike lights installed if you ride after dark. Always ride with (not against) traffic and obey all traffic rules as if you were a vehicle. Never ride your bike while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Most importantly, remember to have fun!
Better Block and Bicycle Advocacy: A diverse coalition of organizations will host a "Better Block" demonstration on April 28th from 3:00 – 8:00 p.m., in conjunction with the annual Spring Art Walk in Downtown Lake Charles. The demonstration will take along Pujo St. near Botsky’s and Lake Shore Dr. between Clarence and Broad Sts. These stretches of road will be outfitted with temporary bicycle lanes, as well as other quality of life improvements with an aim of advocating for a Complete Streets Policy.A Complete Streets Policy is a policy adopted by a municipality that states that any infrastructure improvement has to consider bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, as well as public transportation, regular traffic and freight. It shifts the thinking about transportation planning toward moving people, and not just moving cars as fast as possible.
Bike Shops: We have two great local bike shops in Lake Charles for all your bicycle needs. Bicycle Superstore and Southern Bicycle Company, both located on Prien Lake Road.