Thousands of people will hit the streets and the Ohio River this Labor Day as cyclists, walkers, canoeists and kayakers turn out for the 16th Mayor’s Healthy Hometown Subway Fresh Fit Hike, Bike & Paddle, Monday, September 3, at Louisville’s fantastic Waterfront Park.
“Events like this help bring a city and its people together and we continue to add new ways for families to have fun, exercise and be healthy,” Mayor Greg Fischer said. “People have really enjoyed the new activities we’ve added to these events 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 Subaru.
A 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 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.
Persons without a boat who would like to paddle can rent a canoe or kayak. However, boats must be reserved in advance by contacting River City Canoe & Kayak at 384-3737 or firstname.lastname@example.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 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 allow walkers to explore eastern sections of Waterfront Park and enjoy scenic views along the newest section of the Louisville Loop adjoining the new marina at River Park Place. 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 will begin at 8:30 a.m. at Waterfront Park. Mobile food trucks 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.
More than 3,000 free T-shirts will be available for those arriving early and the Brain Injury Association will distribute 500 helmets to riders who don’t have one. The Kosair Children’s Hospital Bike Safety Rodeo will offer safety education activities for young cyclists.
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 eighth 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. 3, 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. A DJ will provide music after the hiking, biking and paddling.
Note: Helmets are highly recommended whenever you bike. However, you MUST wear a helmet if you are under 18 years old and you are riding in any Metro Park. See the bike laws page  to learn more.