New fathers often experience a wave of new thoughts and emotions from the birth of their children.
For Thibodaux native Paul Ledet, one of those thoughts was about bicycles.
Ledet, and his group of bicycling enthusiasts called Slow Tribe, are working to make Thibodaux more bike-friendly.
“From a commuting standpoint to just a recreational standpoint to just exercise, as small of a town as this is, I should be able to take me and my family to the park on bikes,” Ledet said. “Neighborhoods should be able to connect to the park, on foot, by bike, something.”
Slow Tribe is a group of bicyclists who get together periodically to ride through Thibodaux together. Another such group, the Eastside Riders, does the same, and the two often work together for their shared goal of making Thibodaux a place where traveling by bicycle is easier and more widespread than it is now.
“I’ve lived in New Orleans, I’ve lived in Baton Rouge, I travel a lot. When you go to any other city, one of the biggest things is you can get anywhere and everywhere on a bicycle,” Ledet said. “When my kids were born, I was like, we need to do something here.”
Ledet said that he is starting to generate some interest for his idea, simply by talking about it.
“They’re listening. ‘That’s not a bad idea, maybe we should be able to ride a bike to the park,’” he said.
Ledet said the next step is asking for dedicated bike lanes on the stretch between Nicholls State University and downtown Thibodaux. And the ball is apparently starting to roll for the project.
“We’re starting to see some positive feedback from it,” Ledet said. This week “they’re voting on applying for a grant for the whole Menard area, from Nicholls all the way to downtown. Just asking questions and suggesting things has been good.”
His discussions with members of the city and parish councils have given Ledet just a bit of optimism that he will be able to bring his small children on safe, family bike rides throughout the city before they are grown.
“I’m kind of encouraged,” he said. “I’ll be more encouraged when I see some substance behind it.”