ActiveIndy Tours combines history, exercise

A biking tour group makes its first storytelling stop along the White River.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Sight-seeing tours are often sedentary experiences that involve seeing a city through a charter bus window, but one Indianapolis company is helping people learn the history of the Circle City in a very active way.

ActiveIndy Tours, offering the only daily, guided tours in Indianapolis, explores Indianapolis through walking, running and biking tours.

“We like to say that we get people out at the human pace,” says Nathan Smurdon, chief exploration officer of ActiveIndy Tours. “All of our tours are very casually paced, so you don’t have to be super-duper fit to take part in them.”

Smurdon, formerly a collegiate runner at Butler University, went on to work for the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association’s sales team. He combined his love of physical fitness and Indianapolis’ history to create ActiveIndy Tours in April 2012.

“We like to get people out walking and biking through the city because as we move through the city, we’re going at a slower pace that allows us to absorb the surroundings more than if we were driving in a bus,” Smurdon said.

ActiveIndy offers three walking tours that each lasts between 75 and 90 minutes. The tours center around White River State Park and the Central Canal, Lockerbie and Mass Ave., and the Indianapolis War Memorial Trail. Each of the tours costs $15 for adults and $10 for children.

A row of bikes and helmets await a group of riders taking ActiveIndy's 3 hour tour of Indianapolis' Cultural districts and neighborhoods.
Bikes and helmets await a group of riders taking ActiveIndy’s 3 hour tour of Indianapolis’ Cultural districts and neighborhoods.

The company’s regular biking tour of the Cultural Trail and historic neighborhoods is the most popular tour offered by ActiveIndy. It lasts 3 hours and spans 10 miles. The price is $45 per person – which includes a rented bike and helmet. If you provide your own bike and helmet, the tour price becomes $30 per person with the usage of the discount code OWNBIKE.

“We do storytelling stops along the way where we get people up close and personal with a lot of these places that we’re telling them about,” says Smurdon.

Smurdon also offers a five hour Bike n’ Dine tour that starts in downtown Indianapolis and treks north to Broad Ripple, stops for a food break, then heads south to the Central Canal.

“We do that tour a lot for couples or companies looking to have something as part of their corporate wellness programs,” he said.

The company fills a niche otherwise unfilled in the city’s tourism business.

“We’re getting a little exercise in this week while we’re missing our gym workouts at home,” says PJ McCollum, who was in Indianapolis for a convention. She joined a group of 40 others gearing up to ride in a three hour biking tour of the historical districts of Indianapolis.

For more information, check out ActiveIndy tours online. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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