Recapping this Inaugural Event for Volunteers and Valentines

Ashleigh Wilson; Engagement Coordinator

Walk Bike Nashville celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2023 and to kick off the year we hosted a two-part event at Bearded Iris and Morgan Park called Volunteers and Valentines.

The first part of the event is a ceremony honoring the wonderful folks that we are fortunate to call volunteers. We are incredibly grateful to have had many volunteers in 2022 and at this event we honored and celebrated 13 who went above and beyond. Honorees were given a small box of chocolate, a gift card to East Park Donuts, and a coupon from Bearded Iris. Everyone had an opportunity to mingle, catch-up, and enjoy the mild and sunny day.

The second part of the event was an open to the public, pre-Valentine's Day self-guided, interactive walk and bike ride. Singles and friends were encouraged to wear pink and couples were encouraged to wear red while everyone enjoyed the afternoon out on the town. 

The 5.7 mile bike ride highlighted the existing, new, and updated biking infrastructure through historic North Nashville. In addition to the typical ridewithGPS map, the route was marked with signs featuring “Would you rather?” questions to encourage fun conversation along the way. Starting from Morgan Park, cyclists rode past Roasted (formally The Local Distro), Inner G, The Trenches Gallery, Slim & Husky's Pizza, Minervas, Southern V, Buchanan Arts District, and Bag Lady's Fry Joint. D.B. Todd's protected bike lane took riders by one of our focus schools, Robert Churchwell Museum Magnet Elementary School. Next riders rode past the Jefferson St. Sound Museum and through a portion of Meharry's campus. 

Are you familiar with the W.E.B Du Bois mural below the Jubilee Singers Bridge? Whether the train was running or not, cyclists had an opportunity to take a break and appreciate the mural. Next, the route went past Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet High School and Watkins Park. While doing a lap around the pump track at Watkins Park, riders could also get a glimpse of Miss Wynta-Amor Rose's mural and Marathon Motor Works along the way to Frankie Pierce Park. The end of the route featured The Nashville Farmers Market/Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park, the Sounds Stadium, and TailGate Brewery. 

The 2.2 mile interactive walk highlighted historic Germantown. Walkers were given a QR code to scan that had step-by-step directions following along heart shaped markers with faux flowers that were placed to mark the route. The direction slides also included “Getting to know you” question prompts that you may, or may not have thought to ask someone before. Starting from Morgan Park, walkers strode past Sonny’s Patio Pub and Refuge, Germantown Pub, Taco Mamacita, Cupcake Collection, Monell’s, Mother’s Ruin, Red Bicycle Coffee and Crepes, Germantown Gafe, Barista Parlor, Jack Browns, Christie Cookies, City House, and Steam Boys. 

Both walkers and riders finally ended the route along a portion of the Cumberland River Greenway, passing 100 Taylor Arts Collective and finishing at the Bearded Iris Brewing mural. Once inside Bearded Iris, everyone sat to share their experience, laugh, and watch the sunset.