Residents and bike riders from all over the city came together to participate in an event that encourages people to ride their bikes more frequently while raising money for a good cause during the global pandemic on May 15.
The 17th annual Tour de Nash, presented by LDA Engineering, was held in Nashville at different locations where riders had to select a different place to start their bike ride in an effort to increase safety. The designated starting locations were held at Frankie Pierce Park, Morgan Park on Third Avenue, and at the Operation Stand Down office on 12th Ave. Prior to the event, bike riders were instructed to get a packet before the tour at the Walk Bike Nashville office and were instructed to order their packets at a drive-through format.
According to a press release, the tour had route options that riders participated in and were selected by Walk Bike Nashville staff and volunteers to highlight Nashville’s neighborhoods, bikeways, and scenic greenways as commuting options continue to be limited during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We want to help more people venture out and feel the benefits of riding a bike,” said Nora Kern, executive director of Walk Bike Nashville. “The Tour De Nash is about growing the culture of bicycling in Nashville and helping more people feel comfortable riding. There’s no better way to try bicycling than riding the Tour de Nash.”
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, each rider was asked to choose the location they wanted to start from and were required to bring a mask to wear along with no large group gatherings. Another change for the 2021 tour involved there being no start of finish/post-ride festival to decrease the chances of riders contracting the virus—and there were no same-day registration sign ups. Despite the Tour de Nash having over 1,400 people participating in event, bike participants said they enjoyed being involved in the Tour de Nash Bike ride.
“I try to ride as much as I can. This is my first time doing any kind of professional event,” said Moses Mathis III. “I’m really excited to get some miles in on a beautiful day.”
This event for Walk Bike Nashville comes at the same time as the traffic calming study known as the Slow Streets program that started on April 19 and ended on May 17. The Slow Streets program is a program that was started between Walk Bike Nashville and Metro Public Works to offer more slow streets to reduce speeding through Nashville neighborhoods and reduce traffic. Fifteen Nashville neighborhoods were selected to be a part of the program. According to a statement from Walk Bike Nashville, over 65% of respondents said they supported the initiative while only 26% opposed the program.