I’ve been taking some time off the bike to give my poor knees a rest, so today’s ride just took me to the hair salon and back. On my return, I stopped to snap this photo of the Bike Route sign on Coliseum and Antonine. I pass this sign almost every single day. It makes me laugh when I notice it, because taking your next right doesn’t feel any better or safer on the bike than turning on Amelia or Delachaise or most other streets (though I don’t recommend Marengo below St. Charles, unless you’ve got shocks). But what makes a bike route? There’s a bike lane on St. Claude, yes, and it works. It’s clearly marked, smooth asphalt, and mostly free of parked cars. Unfortunately, it doesn’t go that far–just from Elysian Fields to the Industrial Canal. The levee path is awesome, and City Park has some good asphalt. But what’s a “bike route” on the streets of New Orleans? I know what’s not one, from my perspective: Camp Street, that bit of Magazine in the Lower Garden District right before the bridge, Bourbon Street on weekend nights. And no streets are free rides. I mean, this is New Orleans–we’ve got potholes galore, not to mention the many ripples and folds of piecemeal street construction. Fortunately, there are folks in this town working on making it easier to know where to ride. Check out NOLA Cycle Bike Map Project; I for one am real excited for that map. And excited for my knees to start feeling better so I can hit the streets again.