Hundreds gather at Waterfront Park for annual Hike, Bike & Paddle


by Brooke Hasch

Posted on May 26, 2014 at 12:42 PM

Updated Monday, May 26 at 2:31 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- It was an afternoon of fitness and fun at the Louisville Waterfront Monday.

More than twelve thousand people took part in the mayor's 10th annual Hike, Bike and Paddle event, a program started under Lt. Governor Jerry Abramson, when he was mayor of Louisville. Mayor Greg Fischer presented Abramson with a special proclamation for his successful initiative during the day's events.

"We want a healthy city and part of this is activity and wellness, so anything we can do to get people out and about with their families, so they can exercise, burn some calories and tone up a bit of muscle is something we're going to do," Mayor Fischer said.

The event, which takes place on both Memorial Day and Labor Day,  kicked off with a Fleur de lis 5K and 10K run at 8 a.m.

"I knew there was going to be  a large group of people, but not that many," Tommy Johnson, a bicyclist said.

It was one of many attractions throughout the morning, including Zumba, Tai Chi, Pickleball and Yoga.

"Our society now is all health-based. Everyone's wanting to live an extra 20 to 30 years and this is one of the things to do, to maintain your health," Johnson said.

The Hike, Bike and Paddle event included a variety participants, from trained cyclists to children on training wheels. Organizers said the day was about finding an activity you like and sticking with it for the summer.

For David and Tara Starbuck, it's the time spent with their children, who they brought to the riverfront to ride bikes.

"It's a blast! Getting the kids out and on their bikes in the streets without worrying about cars, it's so much fun," David Starbuck said.

"We're from Boston and we were worried about what Louisville would have to offer because Boston has so many fun things, but Louisville has tons of outdoors stuff to do. We love it," Tara Starbuck said.

Bicyclists took off on a 15-mile ride through Old Louisville and Iroquois Park beginning at 10 a.m. The last group rolled past the finish line around 12:30 p.m. Kayakers paddled down a three to six mile stretch along the Ohio River to Cox Park. Hikers spread across downtown, from Third to York Streets.
The day also included a ceremony honoring those who've served our country, with a special performance of Taps and the National Anthem.