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Bike rack:Bike Walk Knoxville takes on South Knoxville

Astride his green Schwinn cruiser bicycle in a gravel parking lot beside a South Knoxville watering hole, Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett explained his classic ride.

"It's a 1948 B.F. Goodrich," Burchett said. "It was made by Schwinn, but then sold by B.F. Goodrich, and they put their badges on it."

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He and about two dozen others mustered at Trailhead Beer Market on Tuesday evening for the latest Bike Walk Knoxville event — a 5-mile ride through the hills and alleys to the parks and trails south of Fort Loudoun Lake.

Burchett wore a knit polo shirt and lace-up deck shoes as part of his riding attire, which stood out among some of the more serious riders beside their bikes in cycling shorts and ventilated helmets.

Whitewalls on his Schwinn's fat tires also contrasted with the street slicks of commuter bikes and knobby mountain bike tires among the crowd.

But that wasn't much of an issue, since the ride was to get all kinds of people out to show them the connections and areas of need for cyclists and pedestrians in the neighborhood.

Burchett bowed out after about a mile — his daughter needed to be picked up, he said — but Knoxville City Councilman Marshall Stair kept on with his commuter bike.

The first stop was Mary James Park at South Haven Road and McClung Avenue near Griffin Elementary School, which Caroline Cooley pointed out as a nice spot but in need of more sidewalk connections. She's the president of Bike Walk Knoxville, which advocates connecting safe means for people to walk and bike around town.

Onward the group pedaled to a parking lot at the Baker Creek Preserve where at least a dozen cars were parked.

Brian Hann, past president of the Appalachian Mountain Bike Club, said all those cars belonged to mountain bikers on the trails.

"There's some new trail construction I need to check out," he said, grinning, as he departed from the group to grind singletrack trail.

The ride then stopped by the Handy Dandy market on South Haven Road, where the store has a bike rack installed.

Tina Rosling, a cyclist with the group and volunteer with Bike Walk Knoxville, said she has bought "probably 20 pounds of tomatoes" from there recently to make gazpacho.

"They put the bike racks in and make an effort to be accommodating to bicyclists and stock healthy foods," she said.

As dusk approached folks pedaled back to Trailhead, with a short layover to see the in-progress Suttree Landing Park. That should be open by the end of the year, according to a city official.

Back at Trailhead, most people, like Stair and Cooley, grabbed a cold libation inside.

The ride was casual, Cooley said, and shows people they can get around without cars.

"And if there were safe, biking and walking facilities, people would get out and explore their neighborhoods and not get in the car and drive," Cooley said.