Thousands of hikers, bikers and paddlers will hit the streets and the Ohio River on Labor Day, Sept. 3, for the 28th Subway Fresh Fit Hike, Bike & Paddle at Waterfront Park.
“One of Louisville’s core values is to create a healthier city, and there’s no better time than the annual Hike, Bike & Paddle to come together with residents from all parts of our city for fun and exercise,” 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 Subaru, and contributing sponsor Academy Sports + Outdoors.
“SUBWAY Restaurants is proud to be the title sponsor of the SUBWAY Fresh Fit Hike, Bike & Paddle events for the 14th year! The events give people an opportunity to be outside in the fresh air and lead healthy, active lifestyles,” said Umang Patel, Louisville SUBWAY Board Chair.
“As Louisville’s local bottler, Coca-Cola Consolidated is pleased to support the Hike, Bike & Paddle again this year,” said Brian Outland, Vice President for Retail Sales at Coke Consolidated. “This event truly exemplifies Louisville’s community spirit by bringing people together to enjoy the Labor Day Holiday and some outdoor fun.”
Starting at 8 a.m., Hike, Bike & Paddle participants can warm up on the Great Lawn with various fitness activities including Yoga, Tai Chi, Zumba, Pickleball and Rock Climbing. From the main stage, 106.9 Play! radio personality Jordan Rivers will kick off the event with announcements and energetic music throughout the morning. Patrons can also walk down to Harbor Lawn and try their hand at stand-up paddle boarding until 1 p.m.
More than 50 vendors and information booths will open at 8:30 a.m. at Waterfront Park. Participants can take home one of the free 3,000 free Subway Fresh Fit Hike, Bike & Paddle T-shirts commemorating the event. These are available while supplies last.
Along with free T-shirts, participants can expect to take home other giveaways as well. The event title sponsor, Subway, will be passing out $2 cash cards at their tent. Neil Huffman Subaru will be giving away a chance to win a free bicycle and kayak, and free reusable water bottles. Coca-Cola Bottling Company Consolidated will offer free Powerade to hikers.
Participants are encouraged to be “green” and bring their own water bottles which they will be able to fill at Waterfront Park, the Iroquois Park Spray Grounds near the Amphitheater, and the base of the Big Four Bridge, as part of Louisville Water’s Pure Tap To Go.
The hiking route features three different routes to accommodate all participants, including those with four legs. Nu Image Fitness will lead the 5K hike along Waterfront Park and over the Big Four Bridge to Jeffersonville, and back to the Great Lawn. Because dogs are not allowed on the bridge, hikers with animals will be directed on a separate path leading to the Louisville Community Boathouse and back to the Great Lawn. For those needing a shortened route, the third option will travel along Waterfront Park and turn around at the Big Four Bridge. It is wheelchair and stroller-accessible. 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, and there will be water stops at the halfway points to refill water bottles.
For cyclists, a 15.5-mile route will leave Waterfront Park and go west to Shawnee Park and back to Waterfront Park. Bicyclists choosing not to complete the entire route to Iroquois Park can simply turn around to return to Waterfront Park.
The Brain Injury Association will distribute 500 helmets to riders who don’t have one.
“Bike doctors” will be in Waterfront Park before the ride and along the route to assist cyclists with 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. The Louisville Bicycle Club and Scheller’s Fitness and Cycling are providing “bike captains” to help cyclists obey the rules of the road.
For the paddle portion, patrons will have the opportunity to try their hand at stand-up paddle boarding provided by Kentucky Paddleboarding LLC until 1 p.m.
Paddlers will begin their adventurous five-mile course at 10 a.m., taking their canoes and kayaks through the McAlpine Locks and Dam to the Jaycees Boat Ramp in New Albany. Participants will launch their canoes or kayaks at the 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.
Paddlers are encouraged to enter from the University of Louisville Rowing Center/ Louisville Community Boathouse off River Road and paddle upstream toward the start at the Harbor Lawn. Parking will be available at the Louisville Community Boat House, and volunteers will be on-site to assist paddlers at both of these locations.
Like on Memorial Day, the Louisville Kayak Company will be offering kayak rental services at the event. You can reserve your kayak at the event or before you go by visiting hikebikeandpaddle.org.
Police and safety boats will be nearby during the paddling activity, and all participants will have assistance if needed in launching their canoe or kayak. Safe paddling instruction and demonstrations will take place in the harbor area of the Great Lawn. Paddle participants must wear a life jacket and carry a noise-making device.
After the event, TARC will offer a shuttle service from New Albany back to Waterfront Park for paddlers to retrieve their vehicles at the launch site.
This is the 14th 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. To view interactive route maps and for more information, go to hikebikeandpaddle.org.
Already know you’re coming? RSVP on our Facebook event page. And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Instagram @AroundLou!
Additional support is provided by Academy Sports + Outdoors, Greater Louisville Sports Commission, Kentucky Paddleboarding LLC, Louisville Water Company, Louisville Waterfront Park, River City Paddle Sports, Scheller’s Fitness & Cycling and Yoga East. Media Sponsors include 106.9 Play!, Louisville Public Media, Outfront Media and WLKY.
If You Go:
Paddlers will put in canoes or kayaks at the Ohio River ramp on the Harbor Lawn of Waterfront Park or at the Louisville Community Boathouse and paddle upstream toward Harbor Lawn.
Booths at Waterfront Park open at 8:30 a.m. offering paddling instruction, safety lessons, cycling information and assistance, yoga, tai chi, Zumba, Pickleball, rock climbing and stand-up paddle board demonstrations with group participation and more.
On-street parking is available near Waterfront Park. All TARC buses are equipped with bicycle racks for cyclists who want to leave the car at home.