The Dirt

Weston McWhorter

What is it about cycling that gets you so passionate?

I've been riding and racing bikes since the late '80s. And in all that time, the one thing I love the most is just the sense of freedom and the ability to explore the world in a way that is not hurried or disconnected. I especially love sharing that experience with others and providing opportunities for them to engage a deeper part of themselves through cycling. You can truly enjoy it for a lifetime. And there are not many other things in the world like that.

What are the top 5 rides in the Nola area?

Louisiana and Mississippi are really beautiful places to ride bikes. We may not have high mountains or ocean-front highways, but there is so much to be explored and enjoyed by bike. That being said, New Orleans itself is a bit of a quandary. Being jammed between the lake and the river makes it a little challenging to have a lot of diversity in rides. That being said, if you're creative and a bit adventurous, there's a lot of fun to be had! My rides usually consist of 3 types: my daily commutes, my training rides and my epic adventure rides. My commute takes me from the Irish Channel through the Garden District into the Lower Garden District through the Warehouse District and into the CBD. That's a nice sampling of NOLA neighborhoods. For my training rides, it's usually the river levee (which has been under construction for sometime now) or the lakefront. I really enjoy wrapping up my morning sessions right as the sun begins to break over Lake Pontchartrain. On a beautiful day, it's breathtaking. My last two favorite areas to ride are up in the Enon area on the Northshore and the area around St. Francisville that comprises much of the course for the Rouge Roubaix. In both cases, you're surrounded by a beautiful rural landscape with fairly light traffic and there's always opportunities to get on some gravel roads to mix things up a bit.

What should someone add to their bucket list for experiencing New Orleans and the surrounding parishes?

There really is something for everyone here. Folks who enjoy the outdoors can find spectacular hunting, fishing, camping and more. I hardly need to mention the food, music and architecture because it's just so diverse and special.

But if I keep with the theme of cycling, what I would recommend is that if you're considering coming to New Orleans and you're going to bring your bike and you're looking for adventure, you should consider booking a Rouler Ride Camp experience. It's four nights and three days of riding, eating, drinking and fellowship. Guaranteed to give you a different perspective on the type of riding we have available to us in this region.

What does it mean to be a New Orleanian?

I moved to New Orleans in the summer of 2006 with the hope of becoming involved in this community and contributing in some meaningful way to the nascent recovery and rebuilding efforts. This question has been floating around a lot since then -- of folks who came in after Katrina as well as those who left and never came back. In my experience, New Orleanians by their very nature are bon vivants. In almost all situations we find beauty and inspiration. That's a way of looking at the world we carry around with us wherever we go. True New Orleanians are cultural ambassadors of a celebratory way of life that informs our personal and professional lives alike. I've never seen New Orleans as a new home that I adopted. Rather, it's the city that adopted me. And I've never felt more at home.

What neighborhood do you live in? What is great about your street and block?

I live in the Irish Channel with my wife Melinda, our two kids Abby & Arlo, and our dog Luna. We renovated and moved into our home in 2010. It's great because we're very close to Magazine Street (but not too close) which means access to restaurants, bars, public transportation, shopping and more. Our neighborhood is filled with very familiar sights and sounds of young families as well as old-timers who have been here forever. We can hear marching bands practicing for Mardi Gras and if the wind is just right sometimes I can even hear the rumble of the St. Charles streetcar line.

Who do you respect as creators of culture and great community members and why?

One of my favorite culture creators in New Orleans is Justin Shiels. He's a designer and creative thinker who has pulled back the curtain on urban culture in our community. His creative lifestyle magazine, GoInvade, showcases the music, fashion and individuals who are shaping a vibrant and dynamic cultural ecosystem in New Orleans.

Snowball flavor(s):

I'm kind of a half and half guy. I love half mocha (or coffee) and half vanilla. Hansen's is my jam.

Who would be your ultimate festival headliner?

If I had to choose a dead person, I'd say Billie Holiday, Chet Baker or Miles Davis or some other jazz luminary of equal brilliance. If I had to choose a live person (or persons), I'd say Willie Nelson & Waylon Jennings (also dead, unfortunately). I find it hard to believe that I grew up in Texas and have never seen Willie. But that's the truth. And I feel like I'm running out of opportunities!

How do you do Mardi Gras Day?

I've only ever really done Mardi Gras day twice since I've lived here. The first year, my girlfriend (now wife) and I dressed up and walked around the Marigny, French Quarter and Carrollton underpass. We found Mardi Gras indians. It was a fun and really authentic way to be indoctrinated into the traditions. Now that we have kids, we're often in bed recovering from a long night of Orpheus on Lundi Gras. Our kids don't ever seem to mind, and sometimes it's nice to be at arms length from the fray.

Your favorite Dirty Coast shirt design?

I actually have a few favorites: "So Far Behind We're Ahead," "Jean Lafitte: OG" and the "Acadiana Self Reliance" shirts are all awesome.
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