Creating a Connection to Home

One of the things I knew I wanted to do during my time as a Schwinn Ambassador was to highlight my hometown of Lafayette, Louisiana. I grew up simply riding the streets of my neighborhood with my mom or dad jogging along, and when I got older, it turned into night rides with friends as a way to hang out.

Over the past few years, bike rides with my husband, Phillip, have become part of our relationship. We enjoy taking rides together, whether there’s a destination in mind or not. I started off borrowing one of his extra bikes until I finally purchased my first adult bicycle: a teal Schwinn Gateway from Target.
Riding my bicycle has given me a new perspective of this place where I’ve lived my entire life. It’s given us a deeper connection to the streets and the neighborhoods we’re so familiar with.

Lafayette may not be a large city, but it’s growing and becoming more bike-friendly with the inclusion of dedicated bike lanes. And when it comes to cultural events in town, we appreciate leaving our cars in the driveway and hopping on our two wheels, traveling the eco-friendly way.
The last weekend of April sees Downtown Lafayette transformed into the grounds of Festival International de Louisiane, the largest free Francophone music festival in the world. Happening only a few short miles from home, artists from all over the world perform for crowds, vendors set up shop, and some of the best Cajun dishes can be found all in one place. It’s an explosion of our unique culture and it brings hundreds of thousands to our city.


And for the past five years, my husband and I have ridden our bikes to and from Festival International each day, establishing one of my favorite traditions. We’ve ridden in the blazing sun and even sometimes the rain, but we always pack up our necessities and hop on our bicycles. My Gateway, with its rear cargo rack, was my trusty ride until this year, when I enjoyed pedaling the Mifflin and Candis models. Each year, I pack my backpack with the essentials that allow me to be both eco-friendly and comfortable for the weekend, so I’m definitely the girl carrying a cloth napkin, reusable straw and a reusable cup. Gotta be the eco-friendly example for others!
By biking, we are able to bypass the traffic and parking, and we roll up and lock up just feet away from one of the music stages. An added bonus is that biking home helps to work off that delicious fried Cajun food!
We’ve got another Festival International behind us, and I relished in all eight bike rides we went on throughout the weekend.
My bicycle story inevitably becomes a showcase for my hometown, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Home is where I ride.


 Caitlin Russo

My name is Caitlin Russo, and I’m a native of Lafayette, Louisiana. As the blogger behind Eco Cajun, I’m all about living an eco-friendly life, and I love to promote bicycle riding as a healthy hobby and alternative form of travel. My husband, Phillip, and I love to ride together to festivals, community events, football games, and around town with our friends. Bikes hold a special place in our life together, and we even incorporated my Schwinn cruiser into our recent wedding!

By day, I’m a full-time marketing and public relations specialist, and in my off-time, I enjoy hot yoga, traveling, concerts, and quiet nights at home with my husband and our cat, Dax.