What is Tour de Lights?

Tour de Lights is a fun, free, family friendly bike ride through downtown and North Knoxville. Participants are encouraged to get in the holiday spirit by decorating themselves and their bikes, while trying to win coveted awards. The event engages neighborhoods and businesses, along with others who come out to view the festivities.

How many years has Tour de Lights been taking place?

2019 will mark the 13th year for Tour de Lights to take place in Knoxville!  The event has new hosts this year - Bike Walk Knoxville and Visit Knoxville.

Is there a fee to participate in Tour de Lights?

No, the ride is free.

Will there be food or drinks provided?

Yes! Mast General Store and Three Rivers Market will provide cookies and a hot beverage in Market Square following the ride.

Do I need to dress up to participate?

No. Costumes and decorations are not required, but highly encouraged!

I don't ride fast — is this for me?

This is definitely not a race. The average speed is less than 8 mph (we know this might not mean a lot to you if you’re asking this question). It’s a very casual pace, since there are people pulling kids in trailers. If you start out and realize that you can’t keep up with the group, it would be easy enough to return downtown.

Is there a minimum age for the ride?

It really depends on your child’s abilities on a bike. Some 5-year-olds can ride the 5 miles easily, and some 10-year-olds are not able to make it. 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 check out the route, as there are several hills.

If your child doesn't have good bike handling skills, he/she should be in a trailer or on a tag-a-long/trail-a-bike. When there are this many people riding together, it becomes a safety issue when kids who have trouble controlling their bikes are swerving unexpectedly. Remember, there are hills and it is a nighttime ride.

We can't stress enough that your child needs to be able to pay attention to people around them, and your instructions, in the midst of a lot of people and in the dark. Make sure your child knows to stay close to you!

Do I sign up ahead of time?

No, you just need to show up.

What time should I arrive?

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.  The ride will start at 5:30pm.  It gets cold just standing around!

Where should I park?

The best parking options are either the Market Square, State St., or Locust Street Parking Garages. You can park and ride down to the Old City where the ride will begin. Keep in mind that the ride will end in Market Square, so these garages will be the most convenient option following the event.  

I want to participate in the costume contest.  What do I need to know?

All judging and awards will take place on December 14th at the event. The costume contest will take place in the Old City Parking Lot under the James White Parkway Bridge on Jackson Ave. (area will be marked).  If you would like to enter the costume contest, you MUST register on-site between 4 - 4:30pm.  Judging will start at 4:30pm by category; you must be in costume and ready to show off what you got!  We will go through all the categories, making sure everyone is ready to start the ride at 5:30pm. Awards will be announced following the ride at the stage in Market Square. You must be present to win.

Do I need to wear a helmet?

You should wear a helmet! Not only is this for your safety, but you’ll be serving as a good role model for the kids. Kids under age 16 are required to wear a helmet by law.  

Do I need a headlight?

By law, your bike should be equipped with a front white headlight and red rear reflector.


If you have additional questions, please contact Lindsey Kimble, event coordinator at Lindsey.Kimble@bikewalktn.org.