Bike enthusiasts of all types will gather in downtown Abita Springs Saturday, June 16, for the 12th annual Louisiana Bicycle Festival to swap, buy, sell or just admire human ingenuity on two wheels. (Photos shown here were taken at past festivals.) Event times are stated as 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., but insiders say the wheeling and dealing starts about 8 a.m. Anyone is welcome to display, sell, trade or buy bikes, parts or other items. The festival does not charge vendors or buyers.
The festival’s website, characterizes it as a “casual affair” that “officially starts when people show up. … This event is not officially organized by anyone.” It does, however, have quasi-scheduled events such as a “spontaneous bike ride” that beings about 12:30 p.m. and takes riders on a half-hour tour of Abita Springs’ historic district.
The range of bi-pedal transports drawn to the festival range from home-built, custom and vintage bikes to unicycles, racing bikes, recumbents, tandems, mountain bikes and new cycles. There also is a bicycle garage sale, a parade, live music, food and competitions, including several prizes for restorations (categorized by the years they were built). Other competitions judge custom bikes, decorated bikes, novelty bikes, art made from bikes or bike parts and Best in Show. Exactly what prizes will be awarded hasnt been revealed, but past winners have received new bikes, bicycle books, memorabilia, posters, T-shirts and more.
Because the festival is downtown, it is in walking distance of Abita Springs restaurants, shops, museums and art galleries. The festival also is close to the Tammany Trace, a 31-mile-long asphalted path that runs along the former Illinois Railroad trackbed, which is popular among pedestrians, equestrians, runners, bicyclists, skaters and others using nonmotorized transportation.