Friday, December 16, marked the 10th annual Tour de Lights bike parade. More than 1,000 people, decked out in creative holiday attire for themselves and their bikes, joined in the ride.
The annual event, now one of Knoxville’s favorite holiday traditions, is presented by the City of Knoxville and I Bike KNX. People of all ages formed a fun, free bike parade that rolled from Market Square, through downtown and the 4th & Gill and Old North Knoxville neighborhoods. The ride has grown from just over a hundred people in the first year to more than 1,000 each year since 2015.
Before the ride, everyone was warmed up with free bike safety checks, a photo booth, socializing, and hot cocoa and treats made available by Mast General Store and Three Rivers Market. While the event is fun to participate in, it’s just as much fun for those who come out to watch and cheer on the riders. People view the parade from downtown sidewalks, and from front yards and sidewalks in the historic neighborhoods. Joyful holiday greetings are offered between participants and onlookers along the way, and a few participants have speakers playing holiday music along the way. This year, a bluegrass band played outside K Brew as Tour de Lights rode by, and Graphic Creations offered free hot cocoa, restrooms, and flat tire repair in 4th and Gill.
The evening closed with the awards ceremony for best costumes and decorated bikes that showcased a reindeer riding a tandem bike, a duo of Grinches, human Christmas trees, a candy cane helmet, and – the most impressive engineering feat to ever ride in Tour de Lights – a gigantic Santa with moving arms powered by a tandem bicycle.
Despite the cold, people continue to pour into downtown for this fun event year after year. Tour de Lights has become a tradition of Christmas in the City and draws riders from all over the region. For more information about Tour de Lights and to see photographs from this year’s event, visit https://www.facebook.com/tourdelights/.
Prizes were awarded in these categories:
§ Best costume - Adult
The Naughty Grinches
Runner Up - David & Debbie Stair - Christmas Trees
§ Best costume - Child
Zack & Zoey Schade - O Christmas Tree
Runner Up - Eloise Wimmer - Candy Cane Girl
§ Best bicycle and/or trailer
Kent Turnbull - Tandem Reindeer
Butch Evans - Monster Bike
§ Best helmet
Randy Darnbush - Candy Cane
Garrett - Daft Punk-inspired custom helmet
§ Best group with theme
The Pink Nightmares
§ Best all-around
Wes and Jesica Breitenbach - #worldslargestbikepoweredsanta
Jason Kinnaird - Possum Guy