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Child Riding Low Rider Bike at Louisiana Bicycle Festival
Louisiana Bicycle Festival in Abita Springs

April 20, 2024

In most towns, the words “Bicycle Festival” would mean some kind of green-friendly homage to the pollution-free mode of transportation. There would be workshops on bike repair and seminars on how to select the right bike for you and proper helmet fit.

Not in Abita Springs. The eclectic little town in the heart of St. Tammany Parish has put its own spin on a lot of things. Art, for one. Mardi Gras, for another. Even beer. “Bicycle Festival” here means a ragtag gathering of aficionados, collectors, artists and the curious, who show up for an early morning parts swap meet and flea market, kids' bike races, wheelie contest, and prizes for Best in Show, Best Wheelie and others. The bike ride through town is a parade few may call a parade, a loose meander that will make onlookers do a double take for the crazy-quilt variety of bicycles rolling by. 

There are art bikes, vintage bikes, custom wackadoodle bikes with multiple frames and handlebars, unicycles, recumbents and trikes. Their owners are of every age, some costumed, with little obviously in common but the interest in bicycles and the spirit of fun surrounding the event. Bicycling’s a natural for Abita, thanks to the 31-mile Tammany Trace bike path that dissects the very heart of town.

It’s what you’d expect from the eccentric impresario behind the town’s Abita Mystery House, John Preble, who’s also founder of the Bicycle Festival and who can usually be seen leading its bike ride. Preble founded the festival in 2000, and in 2020 handed the reins to Patrick Brooks, owner of Brooks' Bicycle Shops in Covington, Mandeville and Slidell. The festival continues to draw more than 500 participants and visitors each year, some traveling from out of state to join in the free-form frivolity.

There are no food booths but several restaurants, including Mama D’s Pizza, Abita Springs Café and the popular Abita Brew Pub, are within blocks of all the activity, as well as Artigue's Abita Grocery with grab-and-go meals, sides and a wide selection of craft beers--especially Abita. And, just a few blocks away on Hwy 36, Maple Street Bakery & Café and The Juicery.

See more about this year's event in our event calendar.

Louisiana Bicycle Festival
Man on Chopper Bicycle at Louisiana Bicycle Festival
Man Riding Unicycle at Louisiana Bicycle Festival
Man Riding 2 Bicycles at Once at Louisiana Bicycle Festival in Abita Springs
Woman Riding Bicycle at Louisiana Bicycle Festival
Man Riding Tall Unicycle at Louisiana Bicycle Festival