Tammany for nothin’ and your bikes for free.
Okay, so it’s a terrible interpretation of the Dire Straits/Mark Knopfler lyrics; but wait until you get to the end of this description for an even worse lyrical massacre.
However, if you want to skip the beginning and end of the article, you’ll find what’s in the middle to be a gem of bike trail advice.
The Tammany Trace Trail (TTT) or just “The Trace” as the locals call it is a masterpiece trail; it’s no wonder it has one awards for being one of the top-rated trails in the U.S.
Located in the Tammany Parish, the trail is just across Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans in the St. Tammany Parish of Louisiana. It’s easy to find, easy to ride, and easy to fall in love with.
Now back to my opening line: Tammany for nothin’ because, like most rail trails, it’s a lot of entertainment, exercise, and sight-seeing for free. There’s no charge to ride the trail. As for bikes for free, if you stay at the Camillia House B&B in Covington, LA, they’ll let you use their vintage cruising bikes for free. That’s what I did on my visit, and I loved it. Of course, it took some getting used to. The wide seat and raised handlebars were very comfortable, but it’s been many years since I’ve ridden a bike on which I had to pedal backwards to apply the brake. Throughout the trip, I kept trying to activate non-existent hand brakes. This became a bit hairy at a couple of the road crossings.
The other unique & nostalgic quality of the cruiser bikes was the lack of a derailleur. Fortunately, one speed/gear was all I needed on the Trace. It was nice and flat throughout the 31 miles.
Whether you rent a bike, bring your own, or borrow one from your hosts, you’ll love the activities available on the Tammany Trace. For the younger crowd, there are numerous “state of the art” playgrounds right beside the trail. There’s one in Abita Springs, one at the Tammany Trace (Caboose) Headquarteres, and a children’s Splash Fountain at the Mandeville Trailhead.
For the adults, there are also a couple recreation areas in the form of a brew pub and a brewery. The Abita Brew Pub is located right on the trail in Abita Springs and serves great food and drinks. The Abita Brewery is officially located in Covington but is much closer to the actual town of Abita Springs. The brewery is located near Josephine Street which crosses over the Tammany Trace Trail. It offers a free tour and beer tastings at 2:00 on weekdays and twice daily on the weekends.
After a hard ride on the trail, there is a snowcone/snowball stand near the trailhead in Covington. So there are diversions for bike riders of all ages, but the trail itself is enough of a treat.
Cafe DuMonde in New Orleans & Abita Springs Brew Pub in Abita Springs