RideTHISbike: A New Orleans Shop created in response to Hurricane Katrina

RideTHISbike New Orleans

RideThisbike is the only full-service bike shop in the French Quarter of New Orleans.  They have been carrying Monkey Lights for a number of years, and after a recent Automatic A15 order, we were inspired to ask Larry some questions about his shop.

(note, all photos are used with permission courtesy of @ridethisbike on Instagram!)


 


MonkeyLectric: You started your bike shop after Katrina hit as a way to provide alternate transportation especially if a disaster hits after working in IT. How hard was it to get started, and did you ever wonder if you were doing the right thing?  Were there moments where you were thinking, "Wow, this is a crazy idea, what am I doing???"

Larry from RideTHISBike: The key to a happy life is doing what you love and doing it with all your heart. I love riding a bicycle. Imagine how blessed and appreciative I feel earning my living by sharing what brings me joy. It's awesome!

Was it hard? Ha. Is the sun bright?
Starting the business at a time when New Orleans was still depopulated, people DID say I was crazy. Bike industry experts were extolling on the demise of the local bike shop. Family and friends begged me to do anything else. Getting a loan to start was out of the question.

What saved me was my IT knowledge combined with a "can-do" attitude and lots of hard work. I went on a limb and opened a tiny, quirky, neighborhood bike shop that people love. I have loyal customers from around the world. Vacations are trips I'm paid to lead to bicycle on the world's best bike trails! My only regret is that it took a hurricane to chase my dream.



MonkeyLectric: As someone who's never been, what's it like biking around New Orleans compared to other places?

Larry from RideTHISBike: New Orleans is a compact city surrounded by water. All the land here formed eons ago through silt deposited by the mighty Mississippi River and by pumping the water out of the former swamps and marsh. As a result, the land is flat and most local ride destinations are within easy riding distance.


https://www.instagram.com/p/B06J9k3lX_H/

 


MonkeyLectric: When customers rent bikes from you, where do you recommend they ride? Or what are some highlights on your tours? 

Larry from RideTHISBike: Each New Orleans neighborhood has unique qualities due to when it was settled and which immigrants settled there. In fact, within the city limits, there are antebellum plantations, multiple parks with bike paths, places that look Spanish, Caribbean, French. In fact, New Orleans has the largest number of Greek Revival style buildings in the US. Still, my favorite rides are on trails along the river or out to City Park. There's something different on the river every day and riding in City Park is so tranquil.


https://www.instagram.com/p/BxlfQNlh4fX/


MonkeyLectric: I've often wondered this: many bike shops are closed 1 day a week, that makes sense, but how do you pick which day to take off? Why'd you pick Tuesday?

This is a common question but it has to do with our location. The French Quarter is a popular destination year 'round, but particularly on the weekends. Since the slowest days of the week in the Quarter are Tuesday and Wednesday, we flipped a coin and picked Tuesday as our day off.



MonkeyLectric: You guys have a lot of pictures with that chopper-style ebike. What's it like riding it around?

Larry from RideTHISBike: Remember Fonzie from Happy Days? Riding the chopper makes me feel like his character. Strangers give you the thumbs up, nod approvingly, smile, wave and shout out things like "Nice Bike!" More importantly, though, it tells me that I'm visible to motorists and pedestrians and that's a big part of bike safety.

 

Thanks for answering our questions, Larry!

If you're in New Orleans, visit RideTHISbike:

231 Dauphine St.
New Orleans, LA. 70112
Open 10am to 5pm (except Tuesdays!)

Email: [email protected]
Phone: +1 (504) 324 2492

They offer sales, service, rentals and repair and carry a nice assortment of bikes from Brompton, Brooklyn Bicycles, Montague, Strida, EVO, REID, and 3G.  And of course, Monkey Lights.

And check out many more of their photos on Instagram: @ridethisbike