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Mayor Greg Fischer Newsroom 

Mayor's Hike Bike and Paddle Set for Memorial Day

Wednesday May 18, 2011

Canoeists and kayakers will join cyclists and walkers on May 30

One of Louisville’s most popular outdoor family events is being expanded this Memorial Day weekend as paddlers join cyclists and walkers for the Mayor’s Healthy Hometown Subway Hike, Bike & Paddle on May 30, 10 a.m. at Waterfront Park.

“We wanted to expand this great event and make it even better,” Mayor Greg Fischer said. “Canoeing and kayaking are good exercise and a fun family activity and having a paddling course is a great way to connect to our roots as a city that was born along the Ohio River. It’s also an opportunity to enjoy and explore our beautiful Waterfront Park.”

Subway Restaurants is the title sponsor of Hike, Bike & Paddle, with presenting sponsors, Norton Healthcare and Coca-Cola.

The new 3-mile paddling course gives canoeists and kayakers the option of heading up Beargrass Creek as far as the MSD pumping station at Brownsboro Rd. or staying on the Ohio River and paddling through the land-side channel of Towhead Island.

Paddling participants will launch their canoes or kayaks at river ramp behind the new University of Louisville Garvin Brown III Rowing Center, located near the Turquoise parking lot off River Rd. Paddlers can take a shuttle from this area to the Waterfront Park Great Lawn for event information and activities, then return by shuttle for the start of the paddling activity.

Police, Fire, Coast Guard, MSD and other officials have worked closely to develop a safe paddling route. 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.

For cyclists, a 15-mile route will journey 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, which is wheelchair-accessible, will allow walkers to explore eastern sections of Waterfront Park and enjoy scenic views of the river. Walkers can bring dogs to participate in the hike, but must keep their dogs on a leash and pick up waste during the walk as required by law.

Both the cycling and walking routes will be marked with signage and will include plenty of water stops. The Louisville Bicycle Club is 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.

A healthy marketplace with nutritional snacks, free children’s activities and informational booths will begin at 8:30 a.m. at Waterfront Park. Free T-shirts will be available for the first 3,500 participants, and the Brain Injury Association will distribute 600 helmets to riders who don’t have one. A “bike rodeo” with safety education activities for youth will be offered and there will be live bands following the hiking, biking and paddling.

This is the seventh year for the 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

Additional support is provided by Waste Management, Metro Councilwoman Tina Ward-Pugh and Louisville Public Media.

If You Go:

Mayor’s Healthy Hometown Subway Hike, Bike & Paddle

Memorial Day, May 30, 10 a.m. at Waterfront Park

Starting point for cyclists and walkers is near the “Dancing Waters” feature on Witherspoon St. Paddlers will put in at the Ohio River ramp behind the UofL Rowing Center, near the Turquoise parking lot off River Rd. Booths open at 8:30 a.m. offering paddling instruction and safety lessons, cycling information and assistance, healthy snacks 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

The following live bands will perform after the hiking, biking and paddling:

12 p.m. – Corey Brumbach and Stacey King 1 p.m. – St. James Hotel

Another Healthy Hometown Event:

  • Mayor’s Healthy Hometown Hike, Saturday, October 15, Jefferson Memorial Forest.