Thursday August 8, 2013
Booths, activities begin at 8:30 a.m./cycling, paddling, walking at 10 a.m.
Thousands of people will hit the streets and the Ohio River Labor Day as cyclists, walkers, canoeists and kayakers turn out for the 18th Mayor’s Healthy Hometown Subway Fresh Fit Hike, Bike &Paddle Sept. 2 at Waterfront Park.
“It’s an amazing, high-energy scene when you have 10,000 people filling Waterfront Park ready to jump on their bikes, paddle the river or hike the waterfront,” Mayor Greg Fischer said. “More people discover this event every year and they’ve enjoyed the new activities we’ve added, including the paddle sports, yoga, tai chi and free canoe tours on the river.”
Subway Restaurants is the title sponsor of Hike, Bike & Paddle, with presenting sponsors, Coca-Cola, Norton Healthcare and Neil Huffman Subaru.
Paddlers will have two options at the event. At 10 a.m., they can take a 3-mile course up the Ohio River to Beargrass Creek following the channel along Towhead Island. A more adventurous course at 11 a.m. will take canoeists and kayakers through the McAlpine Locks and Dam to the Jaycees Boat Ramp in New Albany. TARC will offer a shuttle service for paddlers to retrieve their vehicles back at the launch site.
All paddle 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 Rd. and Witherspoon Dr. from 7:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.
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 starting at 8 a.m.
For cyclists, a 15-mile route will leave Waterfront Park and go west to Shawnee Park, one of Louisville’s signature Olmsted-designed Metro Parks. Turnoffs will provide cycling routes as short as two miles.
The hiking route, which is wheelchair-accessible, will take walkers west along the Riverwalk and wharf to the Belvedere Connector and through portions of downtown. Walkers can bring their dogs on the hike, but must keep them on a leash and pick up waste as required by law.
Both the cycling and walking routes will be marked with signage and will have 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 begins at 8:30 a.m. at Waterfront Park. Vendors will offer a variety of foods and snacks, and there will be free tours on the river in the large “Voyager Canoe.” Yoga, tai chi and Zumba demonstrations will be offered along with group participation.
Free T-shirts will be available for the first 3,000 participants and 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 can fill in Waterfront Park through the Louisville Water Pure Tap To Go program.
This is the ninth 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 www.hikebikeandpaddlelouisville.com.
Additional support is provided by Louisville Public Media.
If You Go:
Mayor’s Healthy Hometown Subway Fresh Fit Hike, Bike & Paddle
Labor Day, Sept. 2, 8:30 a.m. at Waterfront Park
Starting point for cyclists and walkers is on Witherspoon Street near Preston St. Paddlers will put in at the Ohio River ramp on the Harbor Lawn of Waterfront Park. Booths open at 8:30 a.m. offering paddling instruction and safety lessons, cycling information and assistance, yoga, tai chi and Zumba demonstrations and group participation, 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.