1st Lake Blog

Get Pedaling! Biking in Elmwood and River Ridge

Biking in Elmwood, Harahan, and River Ridge is a great way to enjoy the outdoors, and get some exercise. Whether you pedal around Lafreniere Park or use online tools like Map My Ride or Trail Link, riding your bike is one of the best ways to explore Elmwood, River Ridge, and beyond.

One of the most popular areas to bike in this area is the Mississippi River Trail, a 60-mile-long series of paved trails along the levee of the Mighty Mississippi, sometimes also known as the levee bike path. The section that stretches between Audubon Park in New Orleans and the Bonnet Carré Spillway in St. Charles Parish is a favorite among local cyclists.

Take a look at some of the best reasons to incorporate biking into your fitness routine, as well as tips for cyclists and motorists to keep everyone safe as they share the roads.

Why Bike? Top 3 Fitness Reasons

  1. You’ll build strength and muscle tone. Of course, riding your bike is good for your legs, but it’s also an activity that can strengthen your full body, including your core and arms. As you’re riding, notice how you use your abdominal muscles to help stabilize you and keep you balanced – they’re constantly contracting to keep you in motion, which can help lead to lean, toned abs. Even your feet will benefit from a bike ride! The pedaling motion helps strengthen muscles in the feet including the dorsiflexors and plantar flexors.
  1. It’s a stress buster. Any kind of exercise can aid in stress reduction, but bike riding in particular can help you feel relaxed. As you breathe in fresh air and admire the scenery of nature around you, you’ll be able to put your stress in perspective and save it for another day.
  1. You’ll see improvement in your coordination. Biking is one of those full-body activities where everything needs to be working together in order to keep riding. Arm-to-leg coordination, feet-to-hand coordination, eye coordination as you watch the road, and overall balance are all required to ride a bike – not to mention your brain as you work out which paths to take during your ride.

How to Bike Safely

Biking is a fun and healthy activity, but it’s important to take safety precautions whether you’re a cyclist or a motorist sharing the road with bike riders. Here are a few best practices from the Louisiana Department of Transportation & Development:

For Cyclists:

First things first, remember that bikes on the roadway are vehicles, meaning they have all the same rights and responsibilities as a car, truck, motorcycle, or any other vehicle on the road.

  • Follow the rules of the road. Cyclists are required to stop at stop signs, follow traffic signals at traffic lights, and be mindful of any other rules of the road.
  • Ride in the direction of traffic. And stay as far to the right as you can!
  • Shine bright. If you’re riding at night, you are required to use bike lights and reflectors (white for the front and red for the back).
  • Give yourself a hand. Use hand signals when you are stopping and when you turn.
  • Respect vehicles and pedestrians. Remember, you don’t always have the right of way! If you’re exiting a driveway, for example, you’re required to yield to pedestrians and any oncoming traffic.

For Motorists:

First things first: you have your lanes, and bicyclists have theirs. Be mindful of any bike lanes!

  • Pass safely. If you need to pass a bicyclist, give as much leeway as you safely can. You’re required to provide at least 3 feet of passing space.
  • Remember to share. If you’re in a shared lane, it’s your responsibility to make room for any bicyclists.
  • Easy open. Remember to check for bicyclists before opening your car door!
  • Be respectful. Avoid harassing bicyclists by yelling or honking your horn.

Where Local Biking Enthusiasts Choose To Live

Bella Ridge Apartments in River Ridge is located just minutes away from the Mississippi River Trail, and these spacious luxury apartments offer plenty of closet and storage space for storing your bicycle and cycling gear. This apartment community also features a 24-hour fitness center on-site as well as “Bella Bark,” a gated dog park just for your four-legged friends!