FAQ

What is Tour de Lights?

Tour de Lights is a holiday event presented by Visit Knoxville and Bike Walk Knoxville!

Prepare to immerse yourself in holiday joy with Tour de Lights 2023, the fantastic, free, and family-friendly holiday bike ride presented by Visit Knoxville and Bike Walk Knoxville. This year's event will kick off and conclude at Mary Costa Plaza, and we've got some exciting additions in store! Expect a Holiday Market & Expo, delectable food vendors, and a delightful guest appearance by Santa himself.

Don't forget to register every participant in your group for the ride – this enters each person for a chance to win some fantastic prizes! We encourage all participants to get into the holiday spirit by decorating themselves and their bikes. Moreover, Tour de Lights serves as a unifying celebration, engaging neighborhoods, local businesses, and the community, who gather to bask in the festive atmosphere.

Join us on December 9th, 2023 from 3:30 pm – 8:00 pm at Mary Costa Plaza!

Schedule of Events

  • 3:30 pm – 8:00 pm  Holiday Market & Expo
  • 4:15 pm  Costume Contest Judging 
  • 5:30 pm  Tour de Lights Bike Ride Start
  • 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm  Special Appearance & Photos with Santa
  • Costume contest winners announced after the ride! You must be present to win!

This year's event will be bigger and better than ever!

How many years has Tour de Lights been taking place?

2023 marks the 17th year of Tour de Lights in Knoxville! 2019 was Bike Walk Knoxville's first time hosting the event in collaboration with Visit Knoxville. 

Do I need to register for the ride?

To be registered to win some great prizes, be sure to register all riders in your group HERE

Is there a fee to participate in Tour de Lights?

Participating in the Tour de Lights ride is completely free! However, if you'd like to make a purchase from the local makers at the Holiday Market & Expo or indulge in some delicious offerings from food vendors, there will be a cost associated.

Do I need to dress up to participate?

No. Costumes and decorations are not required, but highly encouraged! If you plan to dress up, you can enter to win fun prizes through our costume contest!

To participate in the contest, you MUST register online by 3:15 pm on Saturday, December 9th.  

I don't ride fast — is this for me?

Tour de Lights is not a race or a competition. The ride has been thoughtfully crafted to accommodate participants of all ages and cycling skill levels, even those who are towing children in trailers. We will travel at an average speed below 8 mph, which is generally a comfortable pace for most casual riders and an easy pace for experienced cyclists. Should you find that you can’t keep up with the group, you can leave the ride at any time and join us back at Mary Costa Plaza for post-ride fun.

Is there a minimum age for the ride?

Your child's ability to participate depends on their proficiency with biking. Some 5-year-olds can easily handle the five-mile ride, while there are 10-year-olds who may struggle. If your child has never ridden on the street, or has never ridden five miles (on greenways, for example), this is not the time to try it. Make sure to review the route ahead of time, as it includes several hills. If you aren’t sure if this event is right for your child, try a practice ride of similar distance. We want everyone to be comfortable and have fun at Tour de Lights!

If your child doesn't have strong bike handling skills, they can participate in a trailer or on a tag-a-long/trail-a-bike. With over 1,000 people cycling together, crowded streets pose a safety risk when kids have difficulty controlling their bikes and might unexpectedly swerve. 

It cannot be stressed enough that children must be able to pay attention to those around them and follow instructions from their guardians, particularly in a crowded and dimly lit environment. Make sure your child knows the importance of staying close to you!

What time should I arrive?

We invite everyone to enjoy the Holiday Market & Expo at Mary Costa Plaza, beginning at 3:30 pm and featuring food, drinks, holiday gifts, and an appearance by Santa himself! If you plan to join us only for the bike ride, we will begin lining up at the start line at 5:00 pm. Please be sure to allow enough time to find parking (if you are driving), unload your bike, put your gear and helmet on, and get to the staging area on Howard Baker, Jr. Ave before the ride begins promptly at 5:30 pm.

Where should I park?

Free parking will be available in the Coliseum parking garages for vehicles entering between 3:30 pm and 7:00 pm. Downtown parking garages may be less crowded and are a short ride from Mary Costa Plaza, where Tour de Lights will begin.

I need a bike for the ride! Where can I rent one?

There are several places in Knoxville to rent bicycles! Check out this guide from Visit Knoxville and Legacy Parks for more information. 

Do I need to wear a helmet?

Children under age 16 are required to wear a helmet by law. We strongly encourage riders of all ages to wear helmets, for their own safety and to set a positive example for younger riders. 

Do I need a headlight?

By law, your bicycle must be fitted with a front white headlight and a red rear reflector/light to ensure safe riding in low-light conditions. It's important to note that Tour de Lights will conclude after sunset, making these lighting requirements especially vital for the event. 

What happens if it rains?

Come rain or shine, Tour de Lights is on! However, in the event of severe weather, please stay tuned for comprehensive updates. Our primary concern is to guarantee a safe environment for all participants to relish the ride.

What NOT to bring:

  • No outside food and beverage
  • Large Backpacks – All bags subject to search
  • Flammable or Explosive Items of any kind
  • Glass bottles or containers

 

If you have additional questions, please contact Bike Walk Knoxville Executive Director at [email protected].