Thousands of cyclists, paddlers and walkers will be in motion at the Mayor’s Subway Fresh Fit Hike, Bike & Paddle Monday, May 27th as it returns for a 15th consecutive Memorial Day at Waterfront Park.
“One of our goals is to make Louisville a healthier city, and one way to do that is to ensure we are a more active and accessible city for people of all ages,” said Mayor Greg Fischer. “I look forward to seeing thousands of people gathering for this traditional start of summer in our city and starting or recommitting to a personal fitness goal.”
Subway Restaurants is again the title sponsor of Hike, Bike & Paddle, with presenting sponsors, Coca-Cola Bottling Company Consolidated, Norton Healthcare and Neil Huffman Subaru. Academy Sports + Outdoors is a contributing sponsor.
“Subway Restaurants is proud to again be the title sponsor of the Mayor’s SUBWAY Fresh Fit Hike, Bike & Paddle, celebrating its 15th year. The events happening today give people an opportunity to be outside in the fresh air and lead healthy, active lifestyles,” said Umang Patel, Louisville SUBWAY Board Chair.
“Coca-Cola Consolidated is passionate about serving the Louisville community,” said Brian Outland, Vice President of Retail Sales at Coke Consolidated. “That’s why it’s an honor to support wonderful events like the Hike, Bike, and Paddle, that bring so many people together in the community for family fun during the holiday weekend.”
“Norton Healthcare is pleased to support events and activities that promote good health for our community,” said Russell F. Cox, President and Chief Executive Officer, Norton Healthcare. “We encourage everyone to come out and participate in the Mayor’s Hike, Bike & Paddle, a fun, family-friendly event.”
“Neil Huffman Subaru is proud to again be a partner with Mayor Greg Fischer and the Office of Special Events for the Memorial Day edition of the Hike, Bike and Paddle,” said Dow Huffman, Managing Partner, Neil Huffman Auto Group. “Throughout the Neil Huffman Auto Group’s 50-year history, community involvement has been one of our core values and we salute this signature healthy city initiative and applaud the thousands of members of our community who participate each year.”
For hikers, this year features three routes, including a 5K route, that will all travel along Waterfront Park to the Big Four Bridge, all ending back at the Great Lawn. All routes are dog friendly, except for the route across the Big Four Bridge. The dog friendly route will take hikers with animals on a path leading to the Louisville Community Boathouse and back to the Great Lawn. All dogs must be leashed, and their owners must pick up waste during the walk. For those needing a shortened route, a third route will travel along Waterfront Park and circle back at the Big Four Bridge. All routes are wheelchair and stroller accessible.
The first 500 hikers will receive a 4-person or family free day pass to Abbey Road on the River, the world’s largest Beatles-inspired music festival, good for entrance on Monday.
For cyclists, this year’s 13.5-mile route will start near the Flock of Finns on Witherspoon Street, travel east on River Road to Witherspoon Street, circle back toward Waterfront Park and then travel west through the Portland and Shawnee neighborhoods to Shawnee Park and back to the Great Lawn. Bikers may elect to turn around at any point along the route, keeping in mind their safety and those of other cyclists.
All of 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 stationed 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.
The paddling activity will begin at the Harbor Lawn in Waterfront Park and go upstream to Towhead Island. The Ohio River will be otherwise closed to traffic, giving paddlers the ability to cross the river to Southern Indiana and then continue downstream to the 2nd Street Bridge and paddle back across the Ohio River to the Louisville side, ending at the Harbor Lawn. Paddle participants also can take a short excursion in a large Voyager Canoe at Harbor Point.
Paddlers can enter from the University of Louisville Rowing dock located at the east end of Waterfront Park near the Community Boat House, where paddlers will proceed downstream to the Harbor Lawn to await the start of the event. Free parking is available at this location. Volunteers will be on-site to assist paddlers at both locations.
Back by popular demand again this year, 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 www.hikebikeandpaddle.org.
Police and safety boats will be nearby during the paddling activity, and participants can get 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.
More than 50 vendors and information booths will open at 8:30 a.m. at Waterfront Park. Yoga, Tai Chi, Zumba and Pickleball demonstrations will be offered starting at 8 a.m., along with group participation.
2,500 free t-shirts will be available for those arriving early and completing a brief survey. Thanks to sponsor support, this year’s t-shirt is an upgraded performance sport material.
Subway will be handing out free cash gift cards to be used at any Subway location, while supplies last. The Brain Injury Association will distribute 500 helmets to riders who don’t have one. Neil Huffman Subaru will be giving away a free bicycle and kayak at the event. Participants are encouraged to be “green” and bring their own water bottles, which they will be able to fill at Waterfront Park and at various water stations along the routes, 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 Metro Corrections Honor Guard will take to the stage at 9:25 a.m. before the cyclists, paddlers and walkers leave Waterfront Park.
This is the 15th 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, a full schedule and for more information, visit hikebikeandpaddle.org. RSVP on the Hike, Bike and Paddle Facebook event page. Follow along on Twitter and Instagram @AroundLou!