Sunday, March 10, 2013

New (used) wheels!

I've ridden bikes my whole life, for transportation and for fun. I moved to New Orleans with a racing bike that got stolen. I bought a "hybrid" Trek that is really great for riding on trails and off-road but not really good for tooling around town OR crappy New Orleans streets.

I decided to use some of my Christmas money and get a cruiser. I never rode a cruiser until last summer when my friend and I rented a pair in Florida. I was hooked. I decided to go used. Our weather is unforgiving and if this bike got stolen I wouldn't be devastated. I went to The Bike Shop on Freret. They have a great variety of used bikes for sale and the guys who work there are nice. They recondition and paint the used bikes before reselling them. There were a number of cruisers but I took the one with fenders. With all the rain we get, I thought that would be a good call.

I've slowly been tricking it out. Today I added the rear basket. I have a cup holder, rear view mirror, horn, light and little pouch that holds my iPhone so I can see the screen.

It's been such a rainy winter I haven't been able to ride her that much. The first ride was to a friend's to watch a Mardi Gras parade. Parking can be such a nightmare I decided to bike it. I didn't have a light yet so I put several light-up Mardi Gras beads on me. Her second ride was an Irish Pub crawl on bikes. It was a hoot riding with 80 other people all on bikes, all wearing green. We got some funny looks!

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Mardi Gras Madness - Part 4 - Super Bowl

What does the Super Bowl have to do with Mardi Gras? Nothing really except when Mardi Gras parades have to be rescheduled because of the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl fell on the weekend before the weekend prior to Mardi Gras and there are usually parades Friday night through Sunday so it was sandwiched between parades and festivities.

Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, in New Orleans was really REALLY hoping that this year's Super Bowl would include the Saints. A few years ago we finally made it to, then WON, the Super Bowl, so we wanted our return to be in our home town. But alas, that was not to be. Hosting the BIG GAME is a BIG DEAL for the host city and New Orleans has been busy spiffing up the downtown and French Quarter for the game. Road were repaved, new streetcar lines were built*. Homeless were moved.

Personally, I was going to avoid the whole thing. I joked I was going to hunker down at home as if riding out a hurricane. The last time the Super Bowl came to New Orleans, February 2002, it was the first game after 9-11. The area around the Superdome was locked down few days before the game but that was about it. This time, blocks all around the Superdome were locked down a week or more before the game. And there were all these events that didn't happen before. Fan Zones and Fan Experiences. CBS took over Jackson Square and ESPN took over the huge parking lot in the French Quarter both broadcasting from these remote locations. What caught my eye was the FREE concerts along the Mississippi of local, New Orleans bands and artists! This all started happened about the Wednesday before the BIG GAME. Super Bowl Sunday, I broke down and G and I headed down to the CBD to go see what the hoopla was about. It was early and I figured the tourist would be either sleeping their hang overs off or at brunch. But no, there was SF and Ravens fans walking around. But what struck me was how many Saints fans were out and about, wearing the black and gold. You would have thought the Saints were also in the Super Bowl judging by the number of jerseys I saw.

I wasn't really that interested in the game. If I had to root for a team I was going with the Ravens. Went to a pot luck Superbowl party with amazing food and fun folks. The first half of the game was a shut out and the commercials were a bore. Half time with Beyonce, what ever. Third quarter BLACK OUT! Finally things got interesting.

*Loyola Streetcar line - $45 million, took 19 months and goes 9 blocks. Progress!