On a record-breaking hot day, Marlene Heideman rolled a bicycle off the American Queen for a quick tour of Paducah, Kentucky.
“It’s cooler to ride a bicycle than it is to walk,” she said. “You get a bit of a breeze on a bicycle.”
The neon green bicycles are a new perk aboard the American Queen. Passengers can use the bicycles and helmets free of charge to visit riverfront towns when the paddlewheeler docks.
“You have more freedom on a bicycle than on a tour bus,” Marlene said. “You can stop whenever you want to take a picture or look at something. I think it’s great that the American Queen has these bikes for us to use without charge.”
The Cincinnati, Ohio, resident had cruised on all three boats – the American Queen, the Mississippi Queen and the Delta Queen – before they went out of business in 2008.
“I was really disappointed when they stopped,” Marlene said. “I’ve been on the Delta Queen twice, the Mississippi Queen once and the American Queen four times. I didn’t want to see the boats get lost. I felt sorry that our children might not be able to ride on a riverboat the way we had.”
When she heard that the American Queen was back on the rivers, Marlene says she was thrilled and quickly booked a cruise.
“It’s a beautiful way to travel,” she said. “Having the free bikes is a really nice addition.”
Photos by Jackie Sheckler Finch