We talk with the guys of Get Up and Ride about social biking and creating safer roads ahead of their biggest ride of the year, the BikeRite Classic on June 1st.
Photo: Michael Tucker
What’s y’all’s story? When did y'all start Get Up and Ride, and what inspired it?
Me and Nick both went to St. Augustine and Xavier University together, and years later in October of 2015 we both decided to start a Tuesday social ride just because. After only 8 people showed up for the first ride, it quickly grew into hundreds as people fell in love with the vibe we created – riding bikes with lights in the wheels and playing good music as we rolled through the city. We really had no idea it would turn into this, but with both of us being involved in the entertainment and promo business, we were able to make it a 'thing' using social media, word of mouth, and creative programming for our rides. In 2016 we decided to turn it into a social bicycle touring company called BikeRite.
What changes have you seen in the community since starting Get Up and Ride?
We have seen a ton of changes since: more social rides starting on their own, more people riding bikes on their own – for leisure, transportation, and exercise. We've changed the culture of biking by putting more people (mostly black) on bikes, increasing the total number of bikers overall. In business, we've seen companies like Blue Bikes decide to take their business to New Orleans because of the increased amount of bikers. We also play a role in money coming into the city to change infrastructure and make biking easier and safer to accommodate the growing demand for it. As a bike touring company, we see a lot of new companies (locally and around the country) copying our model and offering bike tours with lights and music.
What makes us different from everyone else is our involvement with the community. We design rides and collaborate with other organizations that give to the homeless, raise money for a variety of causes, and focus on health and wellness.
What challenges do you face with growing the community and increasing bicycle visibility?
The biggest challenges are getting bikers and drivers to co-exist on the road. Drivers feel like they own the road and bikers feel like “you better not hit me”. These roads are also not set up for the amount of bikers we have in the city now. Infrastructure changes are underway in the near future (more bike lanes, protected bike lanes, etc.) and education for both riders and drivers has to be pushed harder. Getting more drivers on bikes helps them to see it from another view and gives them more patience and understanding while driving among bikers. And bikers need to make sure they are following the rules of biking so that drivers don't have another reason to be mad with cyclists.
“Getting more drivers on bikes helps them to see it from another view and gives them more patience and understanding while driving among bikers. And bikers need to make sure they are following the rules of biking so that drivers don't have another reason to be mad with cyclists.”
What other projects are you involved in?
Both of us are involved in other projects constantly. Blake Owens is a locally well known hip-hop artist that plays with a live band at various venues in the city. Nick Reed is a co-owner of Bar Culture and a new venue called Culture Park, as well as a Jameson Ambassador who is heavily involved in the night life scene.
What does DNO stand for?
To us, DNO represents the resiliency and love we all have for our city. No matter what we go through down here, we always bounce back. And even though we talk shit about New Orleans and it's countless issues everyday, if you're not from here, you better not say a word.
In support of cycling in New Orleans and in collaboration with Dashing and Get Up N Ride, the ‘Slow Your Roll’ shirt is a reminder to be present on the road, keep streets safe, and enjoy the ride.
Pre-orders ended May 12, 2019.
Get Up N Ride’s inaugural BikeRite Classic is June 1, 2019.