With Spring upon us, I am trying to think of ways that families can enjoy the days lasting later into the evening.  Earlier I posted about kayaking; today it will be cycling!Lafayette has come a long way in keeping up with (and even surpassing) other cities in technology and resident-friendly spaces:  LUS Fiber, the Horse Farm and new bike paths, just to name a few.

Horse Farm (Facebook)

Many "mid-sized" cities that I have visited in the past few years seem to be much more biking/walking friendly than the Lafayette area, but we are improving.  With communities like River Ranch and Sugar Mill Pond and other "new" subdivisions coming up, more and more areas are including walking/biking paths in their plans, including UL.

Bike Lane on UL's Campus (Staff Photo)


On my trip to Des Moines, Iowa (which is French for "The Moines") last weekend, we took Violet out for a walk on one of the many walking/biking paths in the city.  That's when we came across this little "bicycle service station".

Bicycle tools on a bike trail in Des Moines (Staff Photo)

Replete with tools and an air pump, this little station is perfect for cyclists who experience a low or flat tire or other mechanical problems with their bicycles.

Maybe we will see these starting to pop up around Lafayette with the new bike paths that are being constructed!

Anyway, to get into cycling, all you need is the proper gear and the want!  I spoke with the staff at Capitol Cyclery on Johnston Street, and they told me that you could get into a basic bicycle for about $199.  (Or, you could pull that rusty, cob web-riddled bike you used to use in college out of the corner of the shed and take your chances with it).  Don't forget that you'll need protective gear and hydration devices (water bottles!!).  Louisiana law requires that all bicyclists under the age of 12 wear an approved helmet, but it's a good idea for EVERYONE to wear one!  (Check your local ordinances for additional helmet laws).  The Louisiana Bike Guide offers some awesome tips!

Bike Lane on UL's Campus (Staff Photo)

Once you are "geared up", you can hit the road!  Remember, when riding a bicycle, you are treated as a motor vehicle: you must obey all traffic laws!  Ride to the right, signal turns and stops, and always yield to the right-of-way.  Sidewalks are sideWALKS, not siderides, so stay on the road.  (Don't confuse the bike paths with sidewalks; they look similar, but the bike paths are clearly marked as bike paths, but you must yield to pedestrians!)  Lafayette Consolidated Government has posted its "Bikeway Plan" on-line (and it's exciting to see the plans in the works!).

And finally, don't forget that the cycling community has several groups to help you stay connected and motivated!  Whether you are looking to compete, exercise, get more family time, or make a difference, it can all be done on a bicycle!

Spring is here, so let's get out there and ride!!