NEW IBERIA, La. – Ready to take a ride through Cajun Country? Cycle Zydeco–Louisiana’s Cajun and Creole Cycling Festival–is returning once again this spring. This year the ride will have a very special guest, five-time Tour de France winner Bernard Hinault.
On April 4-8, cyclists from around the world will gear up for four days of riding and five days of parties as they make their way through the towns, cities, and countrysides of Acadiana. The ride offers participants the chance to taste authentic cuisine, take in live performances from local bands, and mingle with friendly locals.
The Iberia Parish section of the tour has this tentative itinerary/list of activities:
- Arrive April 5 from 2 p.m. - 5 p.m
- Stay overnight in New Iberia City Park.
- Eat dinner in local restaurants.
- Issued "Zydeco Bucks" vouchers to spend at participating businesses.
- Partake in the city's annual Downtown Art Walk.
- Performance at the Steamboat Pavilion by Grammy winner Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band.
- Shadows-on-the-Teche post ride party on the lawn with food, music, mint juleps and other specialty drinks.
The five-time Tour de France champion, Bernard Hinault, will ride alongside other Cycle Zydeco participants as the first ever capitaine de Cycle Zydeco. Cycle Zydeco organizers say that having Hinault as the guest of honor in this year’s tour is an amazing opportunity.
"To be able to ride with a cyclist like Hinault is a great honor. He is such a hero to many who follow cycling so the fact that he is interested in our event makes us incredibly proud.” said Matt Holland, a lead organizer of the tour.
Hinault is one of only six cyclists to have won all three Grand Tours and is the last French winner of the Tour de France. Known for his aggressive riding style, the Frenchman was nicknamed “the Badger,” and remains one of the most celebrated characters in the cycling world.
Hinault, a Brittany native, will be attending Cycle Zydeco to help strengthen the existing links between Brittany and Louisiana. The two regions share a historical and cultural connection through the exile of the Acadian people, many of whom were from the Brittany area.
In addition to fostering these relations, Hinault will also be raising funds for Souffles D'Espoirs, a French charity in his native Brittany. The charity aims to raise money for the Eugène-Marquis cancer center in Rennes, France.
Cycle Zydeco is Louisiana’s largest bicycle tour, and it has grown significantly over the years. Now in its 17th year, the cycling festival has earned its reputation for being one of the most fun and unique rides in the country.
While the ride itself may be flat and easy, the celebration of Zydeco, Creole, and Cajun music and food is unlike any other riding tour in the country. Holland said that one of the main appeals of Cycle Zydeco is the opportunity for riders to fully immerse themselves in the culture of Acadiana.
“At Cycle Zydeco you do not just ride through Cajun country,” said Holland, “You experience it. You eat the food and party to live Zydeco music every night.”
In addition to mouthwatering cuisine and live performances, participants can expect their favorite traditions to continue at Cycle Zydeco. The highly-anticipated Scavenger Hunt never fails to disappoint.
Other activities include a Breaux Bridge crawfish boil, tours of the Henderson Swamp, Mint Juleps at Shadows on the Teche, a visit to the Scott Boudin festival, and sharing craft beers at Bayou Teche Brewery–always a huge hit with participants.
Cycle Zydeco will also feature some of the most amazing bands in Louisiana. Grammy award winner Chubby Carrier, the world-famous Rockin’ Dopsie Jr., and Nathan Williams will all perform for the participants.