August 18, 2008 -
If renting a bicycle and riding a scenic route is one of your vacation pastimes, then vacation has been brought home to Knoxville.
Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam, City Parks and Recreation, and River Sports will hold the grand opening of the new bicycle rental facility on Volunteer Landing on Tuesday, August 19, 2008 at 2 p.m.
Bicycles sized for all ages are available for rental at the foot of the pedestrian bridge on Volunteer Landing, just across from Calhoun’s. Costs are $10 per person for a two-hour rental, and $30 per person for a day rental.
“Volunteer Landing is the perfect place to offer bicycle rentals,” said Haslam. “You get a great ride along some of the most scenic parts in our city, it’s centrally located downtown, and you have over 16 miles of greenway to ride on. This route is an adventure for all.”
Greenways are paved trails that provide opportunities for recreation and alternative transportation. The City of Knoxville has over 41 miles of greenways.
The bicycle rentals are located in the center of a 16-mile greenway route, which includes Morningside Greenway (begins at the Alex Haley statue), James White Greenway (runs between Morningside Park and Volunteer Landing), Neyland Greenway (Volunteer Landing to the mouth of Third Creek), Second Creek Greenway, (runs north from Neyland into World’s Fair Park), Third Creek Greenway (mouth of Third Creek, through Tyson Park, and passed West High School), Sequoyah Greenway (runs south from Third Creek Greenway into Sequoyah Hills), and Bearden Village Greenway (picks up at east end of Third Creek Greenway and ends at Bearden Elementary School).
Bicycle rental patrons will receive an adventure map of this greenway route through Knoxville. The map shows points of interests to stop along the way, including the Alex Haley Statue, the Sunsphere, the Knoxville Skatepark, and a Native American Burial Mound in Sequoyah Hills.
The map also shows a bicycle route to reach Ijams Nature Center and its 3.6 miles of greenway, which is not yet connected to the 16-mile connection of greenways. Here, bicyclists can view bird exhibits and overlooks of the French Broad River and Meade’s Quarry.
Joe Walsh, Director of Knoxville Parks and Recreation, said the search for a bicycle rental vendor started because the department received several requests for bicycle rentals along the greenways at the Healthy Living Expo earlier this year.
“The more we evaluated the possibility of bicycle rentals, the more benefits we came up with,” explained Walsh. “It’s a win-win situation. It’s a great way to exercise, spend quality family time, learn about the greenway system, enjoy nature, and view points of interest that are a part of Knoxville’s history.”
Parks and Recreation partnered with the Public Building Authority, which manages Volunteer Landing and ultimately authorized the use of the facility for bicycle rentals. After a request for proposals was sent out by the City of Knoxville, River Sports was awarded a contract to provide the bicycle rental services.
“We have the same goal as Knoxville Parks and Recreation,” said Ed Macalister, owner of River Sports. “We want to get people out in nature and moving on land and water.”
River Sports plans to supplement their bicycle rental programs with greenway tours at 6 p.m. on weekdays and GPS rentals for Geocashing along the route. Nordic Walking classes will also be offered from the facility. Nordic Walking is essentially walking with poles, or cross-country skiing without skis or snow.
The hours for the bicycle rental facility are Monday – Thursday, 3 p.m. – 8 p.m., Fridays 2 p.m. – 8 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., and Sundays 2 p.m. – 6 p.m. The facility will be opened at any time for bicycle rental groups of four, provided that staff is available.
To rent a bicycle or obtain additional information, please call River Sports at 865-523-0066.