Wheel on the Neutral Ground at St. Claude & Marigny

I didn’t figure on much of a bike ride today. I was tired and in the mood to hermit away after a long week, which is exactly what I did, reading, cooking, watching Ken Burns tell me stories on the television. Then it was time to head just a mile Uptown for dinner with S., N., and N. The food was great, the wine drinkable, and it was just good to see friends. S. asked for route advice for her ride back downtown to the Marigny, and rather than tell her, I figured it was a good sign that it was time for me to take a ride. We stopped by my place and then took Prytania downtown and zipped through the Quarter on Chartres. The streets were busy tonight, full of French Quarter Fest celebrants and Lady Gaga concertgoers. When we turned on St. Claude, though, all we saw were bikes. There was nowhere to lock ours up as every street sign was piled with bicycles and the handrails on the first few houses on Marigny were already claimed. We found a spot to lock up and then did what I like to do best on nights like these: we lazed about and watched people, chatting up the folks we knew, but generally jsut sitting there as the crowds rolled by. Finally it was time to go, and I noticed that the bike crowds had moved out when I wasn’t looking. I snapped this picture of a wheel left against a tree on the neutral ground that only 30 minutes before had been littered with two-wheeled vehicles. I’m not sure if there used to be a bike attached to this, or if someone swapped out while doing some quick repairs, but regardless, I hope all the bikes I saw tonight made it home with their owners, both wheels intact. I rode home late late in that perfect New Orleans spring thickness, grateful for springtime and good friends and dinner parties and bicycles.

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