Bike Tours and Rentals in New Orleans

One of the best ways to explore New Orleans is on a bike. We’re a small city, with most of our visitors’ favorite neighborhoods within a short distance of each other, so you can see a lot without having to go too far. And particularly in areas like the French Quarter, where parking a car can be difficult and expensive, riding a bike can make getting around affordable fun instead of an expensive hassle. Below, we’ll share a few bike shops that we think offer the best convenience, quality and value for both rentals and tours.


Best Areas to Explore by Bike

Self-Guided Tour of New Orleans

Free Things to Do in New Orleans

 

Bike Tours

Bike Rentals

Tips for Biking in New Orleans


Bike Tours

New Orleans is a fantastic city to explore on wheels! While more costly than walking tours, bike tours tend to be longer (typically three hours), more comprehensive, and smaller in terms of group size (usually with a maximum of 10-12 people). Because of the faster means of travel, a bike tour can also go where a walking tour can’t – which makes for a couple of common routes that you’ll see repeatedy.

Popular Routes

Most companies offer a tour that spends most of its time in what’s called the “back of town” area – the part you enter when you leave the French Quarter going away from the Mississippi. New Orleans is famously shaped like a bowl, and while the French Quarter is on the rim, the back of town drops gradually into the famous below-sea-level area. Tours in this area typically pass through the Treme (a neighborhood known for its preservation of West African heritage, especially through music), Esplanade Ridge (a long row of mansions for wealthy 19th-century Creoles), St. Louis Cemetery #3, and City Park. Sometimes the Marigny, a Bohemian neighborhood adjacent to the French Quarter, is also included.

Another common tour route goes to the Garden District, the neighborhood of wealthy 19th-century Americans, and the other American-influenced areas between, especially the Business/Warehouse/Arts District and the Lower Garden District.

Some companies offer other, less common tour concepts. Buzz Nola offers a tour combining the French Quarter and Garden District. Confederacy of Cruisers and Free Wheelin’ Bike Tours both offer a culinary tour with stops at several restaurants, and Confederacy even has a cocktail tour. On an as-requested basis, Flambeaux Bike Tours and Confederacy of Cruisers can take your group to the Lower Ninth Ward. Free Wheelin’ Bike Tours also mentions a nighttime ride on its website – at the time of writing this tour is not available, but if you’re interested, it’s worth making a call to them.

Average Ratings

All of the companies listed here have a 5-star rating on TripAdvisor and are in the website’s top ten tour activities for New Orleans. When there are negative comments from reviewers, they tend to focus, regardless of the company, on the heat (New Orleans is hot for at least half the year) and the quality of roads (which can be rocky in much of the city). Price is often brought up as well, but $49-50 as a base price for a three-hour tour is fairly standard in New Orleans, with higher rates for tours that are longer or involve special commodities like food or drinks. Because the city is flat and many patrons are not regular bikers, it’s standard for bike tour companies to use cruiser bikes with coaster brakes rather than hand brakes; notes below indicate when other sorts of bikes are available. In this post we will be focusing on praise and criticism distinctive to each establishment, rather than the challenges common to all of them.


Bike Tours with Free Tours by Foot

We do more than just walking tours! In addition to the paid tour companies below, Free Tours by Foot offers a light schedule of bike tours. With these, just like with our walking tours, we stick with our name-your-own-price philosophy – our partner, Flambeaux Bike Tours, will rent you a bike for $15 for three hours, and your Free Tours by Foot guide will take you around town for whatever price you see fit.

Currently we offer these tours on Friday and Saturday mornings at 9:00am. From a starting place in the French Quarter, our Friday tour goes on to focus on the American part of the city – the Garden District and its surroundings – while our Saturday tour focuses on the Creole portion of the city, including the Marigny, Treme, and Esplanade Ridge. 

Availability and Pricing (with Free Tours by Foot discount):

  • Friday and Saturdays at 9am 
  • $15 for bike rental + name-your-own-price for the tour

Flambeaux Bike Tours  – 626 N Rampart St. in the French Quarter 

This shop at the edge of the French Quarter provides the bikes for our Free Tours by Foot bike tours. If you use promo code FTBFbike when reserving, you’ll get a discount of $5/person for rentals or tours; you can also mention us in person to receive the discount.

Most of their fleet is comfortable cruisers, but they have a few hybrid bikes with hand brakes as well. You won’t find a better price, and the quality of the bikes and the knowledgeable staff make this place a great deal.

As for their tours, reviews are overwhelmingly positive. Besides those that include nearby neighborhoods like the French Quarter and Esplanade Ridge, Crescent City Bike Tours also has unusual options for visiting Algiers Point – the second oldest neighborhood in the city, a trip across the river on a ferry – or the Lower Ninth Ward (by request). Reviewers praise the knowledge and friendliness of both of their two guides and comment on the easy pace and comfort of the ride, as well as on its accessibility for those who are not frequent bikers.

Availability and Pricing (with Free Tours by Foot discount):

  • Open 9:30am-5pm daily, closed Tuesday.
  • 4 hour rental – $20
  • Same-day return past 4 hours – $25
  • 24 hours – $35
  • 2 days – $55
  • Base price per person for a three-hour tour – $44
  • Tour times:
    • 9:30am-12:30pm Wednesday to Monday (Heart of the City Tour)
    • 1:30-4:30pm Wednesday to Monday (Creole Odyssey Tour)
    • By request (private tours and Lower Ninth Ward Tour)

Capital City Bike Tours 

This company offers 2 different tours of New Orleans: The Neighborhoods of New Orleans Tour and the New Orleans French Quarter Tour and Garden District Tour. Both are approximately 3.5 hours and include a bike helmet. The former takes you through the French Quarter, down the the Avenue of the Creoles”, and along the Mississippi Rive. The latter, on the other hand, visits the Garden District in addition to the major highlights of the French Quarter. Both tours have excellent reviews, with guests praising the high quality of the guides and interesting information (read the reviews). 

Availability and Pricing: 

The Neighborhoods of New Orleans Tour

  • Daily at 9:30am and 3pm 
  • $35 per adult 

New Orleans French Quarter Tour and Garden District Tour

  • Daily at 10:30am
  • $35 per adult 

A Bicycle Named Desire – 632 Elysian Fields Ave. in the Marigny

If your Marigny/Bywater B&B doesn’t include bikes, this is the place to go for rentals; it’s also easy to get here from the lower end of the French Quarter. Mostly cruisers, a few of which have hand brakes. Competitive prices.

Availability and Pricing:

  • Open 10am-4pm daily, 10am-5pm Friday and Saturday, closed Tuesday.
  • 4 hour rental – $20
  • Same-day (return by 4pm) – $25
  • 24 hours – $35
  • Each additional day – $25

Confederacy of Cruisers – 634 Elysian Fields Ave. in the Marigny 

Confederacy of Cruisers offers culinary and cocktail tours by bike, which are unusual, as well as one of the Lower Ninth Ward; because of the subject matter and geographical range covered, their various tours range from three to five hours in length, while most companies uniformly offer three-hour rides. They also limit their tour groups to a maximum of eight people, while tours with most other companies will cap around twelve. Many reviewers praise CoC for adapting their tours to the interests of individual visitors, including accommodating dietary limitations on their culinary tour, and for getting to know their guides well.

Availability and Pricing: 

  • Open 9am-5pm daily, closed Tuesdays during the summer.
  • Base price per person for a three-hour tour – $49
  • Tour times by request

Free Wheelin’ Bike Tours – 318 N. Rampart St. in the French Quarter

Free Wheelin’ Bike Tours is located at the edge of the Quarter, near the Rampart Streetcar and a short walk from Canal Street. While its address is on Rampart Street, the entrance is on the opposite side of the building on Burgundy Street. Review sites show many compliments to their guides and to the comfort of the bikes. Their fleet for both tours and rentals consists of cruisers.

In addition to tours covering the Garden District and the Marigny/Treme/Esplanade Ridge/City Park area, they also advertise other intermittently available tours, including a food tour in the Marigny/Bywater area and an electric bike tour covering a greater than usual distance (described as a three-hour tour covering 20 miles and best suited to experienced bikers).

The rental arm, called the American Bicycle Rental Company, operates out of the same address. They are the only company offering a 24-hour self-return option, but they also don’t accept rental reservations in advance.

Availability and Pricing:

  • Open 9:00am-5:00pm daily
  • 1 hour rental – $10 (Mon-Thurs only)
  • 4 hours – $25
  • 8 hours – $30
  • 24 hours – $40
  • Multi-day rental rates available as well
  • Base price per person for a three-hour tour – $50
  • Tour times:
    • 10:00am-1:00pm and 2:00-5:00pm daily, other times intermittently (Creole and Crescent tour)
    • 9:30am-12:30pm daily, 1:30-4:30pm daily except Friday (Queen of the South tour)


Buzz Nola – 214 Magazine St. in Business/Warehouse District

A bike is an especially good idea if you’re staying in the Warehouse/Arts/Business District; attractions here are more spread out and a car is more hassle than help. This shop stocks cruiser bikes with coaster brakes and also offers a variety of tours.

Buzz NOLA’s location in New Orleans’ business district makes it convenient to many hotels, but often means tours will start and end in substantial car traffic, so those who are less at ease with biking may find this an intense starting point. However, reviews are consistently positive regarding safety, pace, and assistance provided by staff. They offer an uncommon option to see the French Quarter and Garden District in a single tour.

Availability and Pricing:

  • Open 9:30am-5pm daily, closes at 12:30pm Wednesday.
  • 1 hour rental – $10
  • 4 hours – $25
  • 8 hours – $30
  • 24 hours – $40
  • Base price per person for a three-hour tour – $50
  • Tour times vary by week

Bullfrog Bike Tours – 214 Decatur St. in the French Quarter 

Located in the French Quarter near many of the major hotels located on or around Canal Street, Bullfrog Bike Tours offers both tours and bike rentals. Their bikes are cruisers, as is usual in the city, but unlike most other rental companies, Bullfrog’s bikes primarily have multiple gears – not necessary for riding in New Orleans but preferred by some riders – and hand brakes rather than coaster brakes.

Bullfrog’s tours are 3.5 hours versus the typical company’s three-hour timeline. They also offer a French Quarter/Garden District combo tour. The base price is lower than those of competitors by a few dollars. Reviewers find Bullfrog particularly kid-friendly, and they offer a published child rate ($35). Finally, Bullfrog also offers Segway tours, and customers interested in both can bundle them as a discount price.

Availability and Pricing: 

  • Open 9:00am-6pm daily
  • Full day rental – $35
  • Base price per person for a 3.5-hour tour – $45
  • Tour times:
    • 9:30am-1pm daily, 3-6:30pm Friday to Wednesday (Beyond the French Quarter tour)
    • 10:30am-2pm daily (French Quarter and Garden District tour)

A. Musing Bikes – 1818 Magazine St. in the Lower Garden District 

Visitors lodging in uptown/Garden District New Orleans will have an easy time reaching this shop on Magazine Street, one of the city’s main shopping and dining strips. Prices below reflect cruiser bikes at the lower rates; the higher price is for 21-speed hybrid bikes with hand brakes.

A Musing Bikes does not offer tours, so it is a best fit for those who are lodging in the uptown area or spending a day uptown and would rather be their own navigators. They accept reservations in advance during quieter times of the year.

Availability and Pricing: 

  • Open 10am-5:30pm daily.
  • 1 hour rental – $8-11
  • 4-24 hours – $30-45
  • Weekend (Friday-Sunday) – $75-100
  • 7 days – $110-145

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Bike Rentals

There are a few things all bike rental companies have in common. If possible, it’s a good idea to go online and make a reservation in advance – most companies allow this if the rental is for 24 hours or longer. This will mean paying in full in advance, but with the option of canceling up to 48 hours beforehand. Some companies will ask about the height and sex of different members of your party so as to make sure the best-suited bikes are set aside for you. During spring and fall, and especially during high-traffic times like Jazz Fest, it’s also likely that shops will sell out, so think ahead. (You may see higher rates or longer minimum rental periods during these times, too.)

When you arrive to pick up your bikes, the first order of business will be signing a liability waiver. This is a requirement for the rental, taking upon yourself the responsibility for any injuries you incur or damage to the bike. In the spirit of safety, they’ll offer you a helmet – it isn’t legally required in New Orleans, but in an unfamiliar city not known for its smooth roads, it’s a good idea even if you’re a confident biker. What is legally required, and also wise, is to have lights on if you’re biking at night – some shops may not include these, so it’s best to ask. You’ll also get a lock – some parts of New Orleans have a problem with theft of bikes or bike parts, so make sure you know how to use the lock and, when possible, make sure you put the lock around both the frame and the front wheel. After papers are signed, they’ll fit the bike to you, making sure the seat is at the right height to give you the safest, most comfortable ride possible. Often this adjustment requires tools, so unless you carry around a set of Allen wrenches, it’s a good idea to ride around a little and see how the seat position feels so as to make sure you get it right before you leave. A map with bike routes and a list of the shop’s recommendations for food, bars, etc. are often thrown in as well.

There are also a few differences from shop to shop. Prices do vary; for the best price and value available, we recommend Flambeaux Bike Tours, who will give a $5 discount per person on rentals or tours if you mention Free Tours by Foot. Furthermore, while cruiser bikes with coaster brakes – where you stop by pushing the pedals backwards – are the most common type to find here, some shops also stock road bikes or hybrids. This is addressed in the description of each shop below. Hours also vary, so before you choose a shop, it’s worth taking time to consider not only when you want to pick up your bike, but also when you want to return it. The American Bicycle Rental Company is the one shop in New Orleans to offer 24-hour self-return, so if for some reason you need to drop your bike off at an odd hour, they’ll be your best option.

For our suggestions about the best places to ride, check out the last section of this article.


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Tips For Biking in New Orleans

New Orleans almost completely flat – so it’s an easier city to bike in than most. No need to change gears.

New Orleans has lots of bike lanes – and knowing where they’re located can help you plan the safest, most comfortable ride. Check out a map of all of them by Bike Easy, our local bicycle advocacy organization. 

New Orleans city buses are equipped to carry bikes – you just load them onto a rack on the front of the bus. This way you can ride your bike to go shopping on Magazine Street and not worry about how you’ll carry what you’ve found. You can find a map of all the city buses here. Streetcars don’t include this amenity.


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Best Areas to Explore by Bike

St. Charles Avenue – the tree-lined home of late nineteenth-century mansions, which runs by the Garden District, Tulane and Loyola Universities, Audubon Park, and lots of restaurants. Bike paths much of the way.

The Mississippi Riverfront – the levee of the Mississippi has a paved path for biking and walking. One section runs along the edge of the French Quarter, between the Riverwalk shopping mall and the Frenchmen Street music district; another starts behind the Audubon Zoo in uptown New Orleans and continues for miles into the suburbs, making for a beautiful option for those looking for a lengthier or more athletic ride.

The Marigny and the Bywater – the neighborhoods downriver from the French Quarter are more spread out and full of art galleries, restaurants, and music venues that are not within easy walking distance of one another. A bike is the primary means of transit for many neighborhood residents. Crescent Park runs along the riverfront through these neighborhoods for those who prefer to stay off the streets.

Esplanade Avenue and Bayou St. John – impressive nineteenth-century homes along a tree-lined boulevard and a natural waterway. Together these two routes border along St. Louis Cemetery 3, Parkway Bakery (one of the best po-boy restaurants in town), and City Park. And from the end of Bayou St. John it’s an easy trip back into the downtown area along the Lafitte Greenway.

City Park – at one and a half times larger than Central Park in New York, City Park is an immense place to explore and full of paths for biking and walking. These can lead you to an arboretum, the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Besthoff Sculpture Garden, Morning Call (a 24-hour coffee and beignet joint), and views of south Louisiana wetlands in their natural state.

Metairie Cemetery – the #91 Jackson-Esplanade bus, which picks up on Rampart Street along the edge of the French Quarter, finishes at a stop called Cemeteries beside Metairie Cemetery, the home of the city’s most ostentatious tombs and large enough that it is best seen by bike. Throw your bike on the front of the bus and save your pedaling for the most scenic part of the trip.

Lake Pontchartrain – on the opposite side of town from the Mississippi is the Pontchartrain Lakefront, and it’s a whole different face of New Orleans – from a small art deco airport to the remains of Spanish forts to a marina that feels more Floridian than Louisianan. From the French Quarter, this is an ambitious ride, so if you’re looking to cover more distance, you can add this on after some riding through City Park.

For more ideas, and for maps of the above, check out New Orleans Online’s excellent comprehensive list of bike routes. Or you can pair a bike ride with one of our Free Tours by Foot self-guided tour routes.


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