The Discover Hartford Bicycle Tour — they dropped the “and Walking” — visited Hartford’s parks and neighborhoods last weekend.
Leading up to the tour registered participants had the opportunity to take free bike maintenance classes, to learn how to fix flat tires and deal with other issues they might encounter while riding. Because this was billed as a bike tour and not a race, there were many cyclists getting back on wheels for the first time in years. The bicycles — and their skills — often needed some tuning up. Before and after the ride, bike mechanics were on hand in Bushnell Park to make quick adjustments for cyclists.
Not all cyclists were arriving after dusting off bikes in their basements. Some routinely commute on two wheels, or as seen above, by recumbent bike.
Besides learning about Hartford by riding its streets, cyclists were able to learn about bicycle advocacy organizations and initiatives, including the Connecticut Safe Routes to School program. The purpose of that program is to encourage children to walk or bike to school, rather than take the bus or get dropped off by parents.
Bike Walk CT, the organizing force behind the bicycle tour, was also available to talk about the work they do beyond putting on fun events.
The night before the Discover Hartford Tour, there was another tour. The Real Ride — an evening event — made a loop through Hartford and East Hartford, starting and ending at Real Art Ways. For that, cyclists covered their bikes in lights and decorations and rode leisurely in what looked more like a parade than organized ride.
These kinds of events expose participants to things they often don’t know exist, like bike lanes on the bridges that cross the Connecticut River. Slow rides help hesitant cyclists get back in the saddle and onto the street. And with the Real Ride and Discover Hartford Bicycle Tour, they get people to spend time in parts of Hartford that they may never find reason to visit otherwise.
The day after this tour, Hartford hosted another bike event: the Connecticut Cycling Festival. Unlike the more casual rides, Sunday’s event was a series of criterium races, with a total of $10,000 in prizes.
If you’re noticing more people on bikes, you aren’t hallucinating. Reports show that there has been an increase in commuting by bicycle.