It’s Memorial Day So It Must Be Hike & Bike Time

NOTE: I almost never miss the Memorial Day/Labor Day Hike and Bike Events. It’s hard to believe the event that started with Jerry Abramson and not-so-many bikers has turned into a holiday staple with thousands of riders. I’ve done it with each of my three sons and a few other friends. This time we’re going to Iroquois Park and back from Waterfront Park, my favorite route. I hope to see you there.

Booths, activities begin at 8:30 a.m./cycling, paddling, walking at 10 a.m.

LOUISVILLE – Thousands of cyclists, paddlers and walkers will be in motion Memorial Day at the21st Subway Fresh Fit Hike, Bike & Paddle May 25 at Waterfront Park.

 “This has become a true signature event for Louisville – a demonstration of how much our residents love being outdoors and participating in family-oriented healthy exercise and recreation,” Mayor Greg Fischer said.

 SUBWAY Restaurants is the title sponsor of Hike, Bike & Paddle, with presenting sponsors, Coca-Cola, Norton Healthcare and Neil Huffman Automotive Group.

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“SUBWAY Restaurants are proud to once again sponsor the SUBWAY Fresh Fit Hike, Bike & Paddle events. This is our ninth year as the title sponsor.  The events give people an opportunity to be outside in the fresh air and lead healthy, active lifestyles,” said Kevin Patel, local board chairman for Kentuckiana Subway Restaurants.

 “Coca-Cola is proud to be a Presenting Sponsor of the Mayor’s Hike, Bike and Paddle activity on Memorial Day,” said Roy Potts, director, Public Affairs & Communications for the Coca-Cola Company. “We recognize the uniqueness of consumers’ lifestyles and dietary choices. All of our products can be part of an active, healthy lifestyle that includes a sensible, balanced diet, proper hydration and regular, physical exercise.”

 “Norton Healthcare is pleased to once again support the Mayor’s Hike, Bike & Paddle event,” said Allison Ledford, director of Employee Wellness at Norton Healthcare. “We are a leader in promoting healthy habits, lifestyles and choices among our 12,000 employees. This event gives us a chance to help spread that same message across the entire city. Health care is about more than treating those who are ill. It’s also about taking action to promote wellness throughout the community we serve. The Hike, Bike & Paddle event is a fun way to do just that.”

 “Neil Huffman Automotive Group is proud to be a four year sponsor of the Mayor’s Hike Bike and Paddle event for Memorial weekend,” said Dow Huffman, Managing Partner.

 Paddlers will have a very unique experience with this year’s course. Paddlers will enter from the Harbor Lawn in Waterfront Park and paddle upstream to Towhead Island. The Ohio River will be closed to traffic giving paddlers the ability to cross the river to Southern Indiana. They will continue downstream to the 2nd Street Bridge and paddle back across the Ohio River to the Louisville side, ending at the Harbor Lawn.

 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 Road and Witherspoon Street. from 7:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.

 For cyclists, a 15-mile route will roll 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 downtown along Third St. before turning at York St. in front of the main branch of the Louisville Free Public Library. 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 with signage and will have plenty of water stops to refill water bottles. 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.

 More than 49 vendors and information booths will open at 8:30 a.m. at Waterfront Park.  There will also be free tours on the river in the large “Voyager Canoe.” Yoga, Tai Chi, Zumba, Nia and Pickleball demonstrations will be offered along with group participation.

 3,000 free T-shirts will be available for those arriving early and completing a brief survey. 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 will be able to fill in Waterfront and Iroquois Parks as part of Louisville Water’s Pure Tap To Go.

 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 HB&P event.  There will be a special Memorial Day tribute, with Mayor Fischer and Fred Moore of Flags 4 Vets program, which will take place before the Cyclists, paddlers and walkers leave Waterfront Park. 

This is the eleventh 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. For more information, go to