At least 104 of Kentucky’s 120 counties will close a major street for several hours Sunday afternoon and invite people to come out and exercise: run, bike, walk, jog, skate — whatever they like.
In Lexington, Main and Short streets between Rose Street/Elm Tree Lane and Broadway will be closed from about 2 to 7 p.m.
More than 75 local organizations have activities planned around Second Sunday in Lexington — everything from dance classes to bike polo demonstrations. Plus, Biggest Loser TV show finalist Mark Kruger will speak about how he lost 129 pounds by exercising more and eating less.
It will be a big afternoon. But what happens after that?
In Lexington, a smaller version of Second Sunday will become a monthly event.
Beginning Nov. 8, organizers plan to sponsor a police-escorted bicycle ride on the second Sunday of each month, said Urban County Councilman Jay McChord.
“For a year we’ve been talking about how to make Second Sunday a once-a-month thing, and eventually a once-a-week thing,” McChord said. “This is a start.”
McChord has been one of Second Sunday’s biggest boosters, seeing it as a way to curb Kentucky’s horrible health statistics, which include being a national leader in heart disease, diabetes and obesity. The hope is that these events will inspire people to exercise regularly and adopt healthful lifestyles.
The new monthly 10- to 12-mile bike rides for cyclists of all abilities who are at least age 12 will begin at Cheapside. Each month, the ride will go to a different Lexington park or neighborhood.
The November ride will begin at 2 p.m. and go out Harrodsburg Road to the Beaumont neighborhood, where old farm roads have become trails. Details of each monthly ride will be posted on the city’s Web site, including cancelation information if the weather turns nasty.
Each event will cost organizers about $750 for a police escort, money that will be covered by sponsors. November’s ride is being sponsored by downtown developer Phil Holoubek and his wife, Marnie. Future sponsors include the Legacy Center and Pedal the Planet bike shop.
“The idea is to showcase the bike lanes and trails we already have and the ones we are building,” said Wendy Trimble, co-owner of Pedal the Planet. “We want to get people out more often and maybe give them the confidence in a group setting to get out later on their own. We also hope it will make people realize that 10 miles on a bike isn’t really that far.”
Holoubek said Mayor Jim Newberry and Lexington police officials have been very supportive of the effort. Eventually, the monthly escorted rides could lead to other activities that will get people outside and exercising all year around.
“We can really change the health culture of Kentucky,” McChord said.