In 2005, the City of Louisville began a Healthy Cities initiative and they wanted to provide a public event to promote the Mayor’s Healthy Hometown Movement, so a twice-yearly hike and bike event was born. Since that time, the Subway Fresh Fit Hike, Bike & Paddle event has grown from a small city gathering to more than 10,000 participants every Memorial and Labor Day. The event is entirely supported by private sponsors, community partners and in-kind services who partner with the city. This will be the 14th year and 27th running of the Memorial Day event. Subway’s support has helped keep this event going strong after all these years.
Subway Territory Manager Kelly Farley said the restaurant chain couldn’t have been a better match as a major sponsor for the event. “This is something our company really promotes – healthy active lifestyles because we serve fresh, healthy food. Being involved in a family-friendly event is important to our local community and to franchisees as well. I feel like this event brings everybody together – no matter who they are, they can be a part,” she said.
The event will feature family-friendly happenings that Farley said offers something for everyone. “One thing I love about this event is that it’s open to all ages and abilities. It’s not a race, so it’s great for people just beginning to check out the workout world who might be looking for a start to make their lifestyles a little more active,” said Farley.
The Subway Fresh Fit Hike, Bike & Paddle will be held from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Memorial Day, May 28 on the Great Lawn at Waterfront Park. Various fitness demonstrations will start the day at 8 a.m. including yoga, tai chi, pickleball and Zumba. New this year, participants can test their strength scaling the U.S. Army rock climbing wall. Families can browse more than 50 vendor booths offering healthy lifestyle information and services. Mayor Greg Fischer will welcome participants at 9:25 a.m. At 10, the public is invited to pick from a 5K hike, 12.5-mile bike ride or a paddle on the Ohio River.
This year, the Hike route will showcase the river as walkers and hikers cross the Big Four Bridge to Indiana and back. There will be three routes, one going across the bridge, one turning around at the bridge and then back to great lawn, and one going around the boathouse. Dogs are not allowed on the Big Four Bridge, but they can use the separate routes. All hikers will receive a free day pass to Memorial Day’s Abbey Road on the River event.
The 12.5 scenic bike route will travel west from Waterfront Park, through the Portland neighborhood to Shawnee Park and back to the Great Lawn. Turnoffs will provide options for cycling routes as short as two miles. A special assist to cyclists will be “bike captains” to help cyclists obey the rules of the road, and “bike doctors” along the route for any equipment problems. Want to ride but don’t have a helmet? The Brain Injury Association will be on hand to distribute 500 free helmets to riders.
This year, Paddlers will have the opportunity to try their hand at stand-up paddle boarding until 1 p.m. or they can ride in a large “Voyager Canoe” along the Ohio. Kayak rentals will be available on site or can be rented ahead of time online.
Individual paddling participants can launch their canoes or kayaks at the river ramp located at the Harbor Lawn of Waterfront but are encouraged to enter from the University of Louisville Rowing Center/ Louisville Community Boathouse off River Road and paddle upstream towards the start at the Harbor Lawn.
Paddlers will have access to cross the river to Southern Indiana, continue downstream to the 2nd Street Bridge and paddle back across the Ohio River to the Louisville side, ending at the Harbor Lawn. Routes for all activities are available at hikebikeandpaddle.org.
First -time participants are encouraged to bring a reusable water bottle for the fill stations on the Great Lawn, arrive early for the best parking spots and to enjoy pre-event activities, and wear comfortable, athletic style clothing.
Whether you fancy hiking, biking or paddling, Farley said Subway is proud of how much this event has grown, and with the robust collaboration with the city’s healthy initiative partnership.
“We love being part of an event that brings people together. No matter who you are, the Subway Fresh Fit Hike, Bike & Paddle is for you.”
Additional event sponsors
- Cola Bottling Company Consolidated
- Norton Healthcare
- Neil Huffman Subaru
- Academy Sports + Outdoors
- 106.9 Play!
- Louisville Public Media
- Outfront Media
- Louisville Sports Commission
- Louisville Water Company
- Louisville Waterfront Park
- River City Paddle Sports
- Scheller’s Fitness & Cycling