Thousands of cyclists, paddlers and walkers will be in motion Memorial Day at the 23rd Subway Fresh Fit Hike, Bike & Paddle May 30 at Waterfront Park.
“This has become a true signature event for Louisville – a demonstration of how much our residents love being outdoors and participating in family-oriented healthy exercise and recreation,” Mayor Greg Fischer said.
SUBWAY Restaurants is the title sponsor of Hike, Bike & Paddle, with presenting sponsors, Coca-Cola Bottling Company Consolidated, Norton Healthcare and Neil Huffman Automotive Group.
“SUBWAY Restaurants are proud to once again be the title sponsor of the SUBWAY Fresh Fit Hike, Bike & Paddle events. The events give people an opportunity to be outside in the fresh air and lead healthy, active lifestyles,” said Doug Messmore, local board chairman for Kentuckiana Subway Restaurants.
“Coca-Cola Consolidated is proud to be a Presenting Sponsor of the Mayor’s Hike, Bike & Paddle activity on Memorial Day,” said Brian Outland, vice president of Retail Sales for the Coca-Cola Bottling Company Consolidated. “This activity supports our most recent initiative, ‘Fit Family Challenge,’ which challenges people in Louisville and Lexington to be more active. We recognize the uniqueness of consumers’ lifestyles and dietary choices. All of our products can be part of an active, healthy lifestyle that includes a sensible, balanced diet, proper hydration and regular, physical exercise.”
“We at Norton Healthcare are not only repeat supporters of the Mayor’s Hike, Bike & Paddle event, we look forward to participating,” said Allison Ledford, director of Employee Wellness at Norton Healthcare. “Norton has been recognized both locally and nationally as a leading healthy employer, so we embrace opportunities like this to promote health-oriented activities among our 13,000 employees. By taking part in the various Hike, Bike & Paddle events, we all can be proactive in adopting healthy lifestyles, and have fun while we do it.”
“Neil Huffman Automotive Group is proud to be a five-year sponsor of the Mayor’s Hike Bike and Paddle event for Memorial weekend,” said Dow Huffman, Managing Partner.
This year, patrons will have the opportunity to try their hand at stand-up paddle boarding until 1 p.m. or they can ride in a large “Voyager Canoe” along the Ohio. For the second year, paddlers will enter from the Harbor Lawn in Waterfront Park and paddle upstream to Towhead Island. The Ohio River will be closed to traffic, giving paddlers the ability to cross the river to Southern Indiana. They will continue downstream to the Second Street Bridge and paddle back across the Ohio River to the Louisville side, ending at the Harbor Lawn.
Paddling participants will launch their canoes or kayaks at the river ramp located at the Harbor Lawn of Waterfront Park. Paddlers can drop their boats off at the “Green” parking lot near River Road and Witherspoon Street from 7:30-9:30 a.m.
For cyclists, a 15-mile route will roll through Old Louisville, down Southern Parkway and into Iroquois Park, one of Louisville’s signature Olmsted-designed Metro Parks. Turnoffs will provide options for cycling routes as short as two miles.
The hiking route will be led by the Greater Louisville YMCA. It is wheelchair-accessible and will allow walkers to explore downtown along Third Street before turning at York Street in front of the main branch of the Louisville Free Public Library. Walkers may bring dogs to participate in the hike, as long as the animal is on a leash and owners pick up waste during the walk, as required by law.
Both the cycling and walking routes will be marked with signage and will have water stops at the halfway points to refill water bottles. The Louisville Bicycle Club and Scheller’s Fitness and Cycle are providing “bike captains” to help cyclists obey the rules of the road. “Bike doctors” will be in Waterfront Park before the ride and along the route to assist cyclists with any equipment problems. Louisville Metro Police will provide traffic assistance at key intersections, and the Louisville Metro EMS bicycle team will patrol the route. All cyclists are asked to remain behind the lead Police vehicles.
More than 40 vendors and information booths will open at 8:30 a.m. at Waterfront Park. Again, patrons will have the opportunity to try their hand at stand-up paddle boarding until 1 p.m. There will also be free tours on the river in the large “Voyager Canoe.” Yoga, Tai Chi, Zumba, Nia and Pickleball demonstrations will be offered, along with group participation.
Beginning at 8:30 a.m. there will be 3,000 free T-shirts for those arriving early and completing a brief survey. The Brain Injury Association will distribute 500 helmets to riders who don’t have one. Participants are encouraged to be “green” and bring their own water bottles which they will be able to fill in Waterfront and Iroquois Parks as part of Louisville Water’s Pure Tap To Go.
In honor of Memorial Day, Flags 4 Vets will be setting up 15,000 flags at Waterfront Park on Saturday of that weekend, and they will still be in place during the Hike Bike & Paddle event. As a special tribute, the LMPD Honor Guard will take to the stage before the cyclists, paddlers and walkers leave Waterfront Park.
This is the twelfth year for the Hike, Bike & Paddle events, which are held each Memorial Day and Labor Day. The events are part of the city’s Healthy Hometown Movement, created to encourage Louisville residents to be more active and make healthier lifestyle choices. For more information, go to hikebikeandpaddle.org.
Additional support is provided by Louisville Public Media, Outfront Media, 106.9 Play, and Scheller’s Fitness & Cycling, Quest Outdoors, and the Greater Louisville YMCA.