August 9, 2007
By KIRA GOLDENBERG, Courant Staff Writer
Area cyclists hope that if they can display Hartford as a bike-friendly destination, more people will trade in those four-wheel cars for two-wheel bikes when traveling around the city.
There will be a massive bike tour of the city Sept. 8 - the Discover Hartford Bicycle and Walking Tour - organized by the Central Connecticut Bicycle Alliance. Tour organizers say they hope the event promotes cycling and bicycle-friendly city streets while showing off Hartford's parks.
The CCBA is a local advocacy group working to increase bike trails and racks that make it more feasible to commute by bicycle to and from work.
"Many people won't ride into the city right now because they are wary of riding on the streets in Hartford," said tour organizer Allan Williams. "We thought this was a great opportunity for people both living in the city and people outside the city to get to know Hartford in a way they've never known it before."
The event has 10- and 25-mile bike tour options as well as two-hour walking tours, all starting at Bushnell Park. Both bike tours will leave at 9:15 a.m. Walking tours start in 15-minute waves beginning at 9:15 a.m. and continuing through 10:30 a.m. Departure times are assigned in advance.
Event registration costs $27 until Saturday. The price increases to $37 through Aug. 31. Registration increases to $45 through Sept. 8. The CCBA is working with community organizations to give 400 free tour registrations to low-income Hartford residents, Williams said.
You can register online at hartfordbiketour.org, where there is also a dizzying 250 mph virtual ride of the 25-mile tour course available.
Registration comes with perks, including a bandana with the bike route printed on it and snacks at tour rest stops. Attendees also will get a booklet with coupons to local businesses. Many local establishments, including The Courant, are event sponsors.
City Council minority leader Bob Painter, a staunch bike tour supporter, said cycling is a good way to stay active and help alleviate car-clogged area streets and highways.
"[The tour]'s important as a way of introducing the city to people who might not otherwise come in," Painter said.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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