SOUTHERN INDIANA — There was a seemingly endless stream of cyclists flying along the Ohio River Greenway on Saturday morning.
As they rode along the newly connected pathway, they spanned three communities in Southern Indiana.
On Saturday, cyclists celebrated the inaugural Le Tour de Greenway ride on the Ohio River Greenway in Southern Indiana. The 7.5 mile pathway was recently linked together with the completion of a bridge over Silver Creek in November, allowing pedestrians and cyclists to travel smoothly from New Albany through Clarksville to Jeffersonville.
The event was presented by the parks departments of New Albany, Jeffersonville and Clarksville. The tour included starting points at New Albany's Riverfront Amphitheater, Clarksville's Ashland Park and the Jeffersonville Overlook.
Participants could receive a stamp on their passport at various stops to receive free T-shirts and be entered into a drawing for a family season pass to their local parks departments' aquatic center.
Jeffersonville resident Denise Greer is the founder of Big Four Bike Social, a local group that meets for bike rides in the area. They were excited about the opportunities presented by the Greenway, so about eight members came out for Saturday's event.
"We're just riding as a social group," she said. "We got coffee this morning and are doing the tour, so it's an exciting time."
Greer said she loves how the Greenway offers connectivity between the communities for pedestrians and cyclists. She has been biking the pathway about two to three times a week since the bridge over Silver Creek opened.
"It gives an opportunity for people who don't want to ride and walk on roads to feel safe and be able to go from community to community," she said. "There are a lot of greenways that go to nowhere — our's connects to cities, which means that you can travel from city to city and do things, which is very important to me."
Louisville residents Carrie Faller and Dana Lee started their ride in Jeffersonville, and they cycled to New Albany. They said they enjoyed biking in Saturday's cool, clear weather.
They said they would bike the Greenway a few times a year before the pathway was fully connected, but they plan to bike it even more since the Silver Creek bridge was completed. Faller said she likes any excuse to ride along the Ohio River.
"I think it's great, because it's safe, so we don't have to worry about motor traffic as much — it's nice not having to worry about that part," Faller said.
Jeffersonville couple Ray and Julie Johnson started their ride at the Jeffersonville Overlook on Riverside Drive, and they went all the way to the New Albany Amphitheater. While they have cycled on the Greenway before, this was their first time riding the entire pathway.
"It was a very nice addition to see the new parts put in and to make it there and back on a great day," Ray said. "It was well-organized."
They both liked that cyclists were greeting one another on the Greenway during the event, even if they were complete strangers.
"Cyclists are cool people, and they watch out for one another, and everyone's enjoying the outdoors together," Ray said.
New Albany resident Eric Wenning attended the event with his 1-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter, who were pulled in a bike trailer during the ride. They enjoyed sitting there without the manual labor of cycling, he said, and they were happy to jump on bouncy houses
"It's a little bit hard, since they're 50 pounds and you're hauling all that weight along," he said.
Floyds Knobs resident Bridget Zipp, who is a member of the Southern Indiana Wheelman bicycling club, participated in the full ride across the Greenway and handed out helmets to kids at the amphitheater in New Albany. She was excited to cycle in the inaugural Le Tour de Greenway, she said.
The pathway provides an excellent outdoor space for people to get some exercise in Southern Indiana and to connect with community members, she said.
"It's so beautiful," Zipp said. "We're so blessed to have a communal space here in Southern Indiana. This is the first one we really have to connect the communities. So if people want to walk or ride their bike to Jeffersonville, they can get a cup of coffee or get dinner and then ride back."