Next month Hartford will host not just one but two alley cats. Both are special, in their own unique way: the Hartford Rally Cat on May 9 will be a mixed terrain race, and the Ladies First Alley Cat on May 31 will be, well, for ladies only.
Friday, April 17, 2015
Next month Hartford will host not just one but two alley cats. Both are special, in their own unique way: the Hartford Rally Cat on May 9 will be a mixed terrain race, and the Ladies First Alley Cat on May 31 will be, well, for ladies only.
Tuesday, April 14, 2015
Hey y'all. Wanted to share the following, since you're starting to think about bikes again. The Spring Bike Frenzy is a seasonal disorder in CT. Bikes are assumed by many to be seasonal, unless one happens to be poor. We do love our fair weather bicycle compatriots, and understand that it's only a matter of time until the seasonal disorder deteriorates into a year round chronic illness. Once that fabulous day comes, we'll have less S.A.D. and better cycling conditions for all - year round.
NEXT WEEK - The Connecticut Bike Walk Summit. Thursday (4/23) is for city employees and Friday (4/24) is for advocates and ordinary cyclists. This year the summit is nearby in Wethersfield. You have to register online, and it's only $45 for Bike Walk CT members. The summit includes lunch and an optional afternoon ride. I've been to past summits, and I always come away on fire to make change.
- 7:00AM-8:30AM at Maddie's in East Hartford. On Main Street right across from P&W. Next to Subway.
- 7:00AM-8:30AM at Ashley's in Hartford. On Main Street just South of Downtown, adjacent to the Hook and Ladder restaurant.
- Discussion Topic - Let's keep talking about the East Coast Greenway. How do we keep this on the front burner? East Hartford projects and the I-84 redesign can make significant progress towards closing the gaps.
|Can't wait for the East Coast Greenway to go down Willow Street!|
|After finishing my first Detour in 2013.|
Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Saturday, March 14, 2015
|Tired of the snow? It's almost gone!|
|Sometimes one feels like a cranky bear.|
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Last week I had my bike in the basement to wipe off the salt crust and install much needed fenders. Despite year round commuting, I'll be welcoming Spring with open arms. Riding on the ice and snow is an exciting challenge. My bicycle is as reliable as I need it to be. Unlike a car, I can pick it up rather and carry it over snow banks. The extra resistance of knobby, studded tires helps keep off the winter weight while the sunshine (what little there is) keeps my spirits up. With all the things I enjoy about winter riding, I can't wait for my favorite off road shortcuts to open back up. I yearn for the days when it is warm enough that I don't have to plan and layer clothing for the trip. Can I get an amen?
|This was a new one. My first traffic jam / broken down vehicle issue.|
Tuesday, February 3, 2015
|Bikes work on snow too. Amazing!|
- East Hartford, Maddie's on Main Street, right across from P&W. 6:45am-8:30am.
- Downtown Hartford, Ashley's on Main Street just south of downtown, next to Hook and Ladder restaurant. 7AM-8:30AM
- Heads up - Both of these venues are cash only. Bring your frozen greenbacks.
|2013. Didn't die. (Photo credit - Steven Yau)|
|2014. Also didn't die. 2015 - TBD. (Photo credit - Steven Yau)|
Saturday, January 17, 2015
Hardy cyclists riding through the winter have been socializing monthly in East Hartford for breakfast at Maddie's and this month we're expanding to Downtown Hartford. It's important that we band together and practice our conversation skills. Riding through the winter is considered weird enough that others may start giving you a wider berth at work. Not sure why Hartford metro is so allergic to winter cycling, as it seems that other interesting cities (Boston, Chicago, NYC, Montreal, Minneapolis, Fort Collins, Madison) aren't so fickle. There is even an official global Winter Bike to Work Day, where you can commit to ride on February 13th.
|Ken K on the Bissel Bridge. It's better now.|
Saturday, January 10, 2015
Cross racing. Have you seen it? Not a horde of queens sprinting in heels, although that would be equally awesome. Cyclocross is a newer format of bicycle racing where masochists on road-like bikes hammer around a snaking route through a field or park. Consumerism has morphed the road bikes into race specific rigs with carbon wheels and tubeless low pressure tires. The course is set up to maximize punishment and spectator viewing. Weather be damned, the event runs in rain, sleet, or snow. The obstacles and mud/sand pits have cyclists running with the bikes over their shoulders. The crowd is encouraged to ring bells, holler, and even heckle the racers to eek out their deepest energy stores. It's a hoot, and "Hartford Has It."
|When there is an obstacle, you'll see running.|
We were chosen over many other cities based on an impressive cooperative bid by Connecticut Cycling Advancement Program (CCAP), the City of Hartford, and the Connecticut Convention and Sports Bureau. Hartford is well situated in the Northeast where cyclocross racing is booming and the population density allows for many nearby races, racers, and spectators. This is a big deal folks. The influx of bike racers and spectators to Hartford, up to 20,000, for this national event in December will be a great off-season economic boost. Hartford gets to show off as a destination on the national stage. Leading up to the Nationals, there will be more regional races in Riverside Park and Colt Park in 2015 and 2016. With the 2017 race on the horizon, the regional races will have increased exposure. To get full bang for the buck on a national race, we need to grow and expand the regional races both before and afterward.
This national opportunity didn't materialize out of thin air. In 2013 and 2014 there were two cyclocross races in Hartford proper and a series of other races across the state. One of them was right next door to my home in Colt Park. You may have missed the races in Hartford. For some reason the larger cycling community in the area didn't mobilize and show up to cheer and spectate. I'm still trying to understand why. Connecticut has a bevy of bicycle shops. Those shops have mailing lists and Facebook pages. Growing cyclocross as a racing and spectator sport is a clear way for our local bike shops to extend their customer season into the otherwise quiet Fall and Winter. I'm imploring our cycling community, riding clubs, and bikes shops to do better publicity in 2015. Let folks know that this is an engaging spectator sport. There are always beginner races for those that want to try it out for themselves.
|There should be a hipster bike category. Single speed required.|
Another item to improve for 2015 - food. These cross racers are hungry and thirsty. I didn't make it to the Riverside Park CCAP race, but I noticed a lack of food and drink at the Colt Park Veteran's Memorial Race. We've got great food trucks in Hartford. They will show up if you put a call out and let them know there will be hungry customers nearby. If you need suggestions, here are a few - Whey Station (gourmet grilled cheese), Amor (healthy, vegan), and Lucky Taco. It's also relatively easy to get a permit for beer sampling or a beer tent at a park event. Let's get some Hooker, City Steam, or Burnside beer out there for the 2015 races. For the Colt Park race, there is also a nearby grocery store, C-Town, for racers looking for Gatorade or some hot rice and beans. Just across Wethersfield Avenue.
Excited for this announcement. We need to ramp up the events in 2015 and 2016 so Hartford is ready to blow the doors off in 2017. Let's do this!
Monday, December 8, 2014
Interested in making a formal comment to Planning & Zoning Commission? Email Lynda Crepo at CRESL001@hartford.gov and voice your support for a bike parking requirement 1%, 2% whatever you like. Make sure to include your full name and your address.
Want to bike from home or work to the new baseball stadium being built just north of Downtown Hartford? Sorry. There won't be adequate bike parking. You can find a light post or some railing. There was much debate at the Planning and Zoning Commission over requiring a measly 1% of the stadium parking to be bicycle parking, and it looks like they are going to make even that "optional" for the developer. You know what optional means, right?
Unless they hear from Hartford residents that bike parking is key to this development and the future of Hartford, don't expect convenient bike parking at the stadium. Leaving out bike parking at a fair weather outdoor event venue would be the height of stupidity. Bike and pedestrian improvements were a cornerstone of the Downtown North plan and are important for a city that is trying to double its number of downtown residents. With all the UCONN Hartford campus students coming downtown, they'll be wondering where all the bike parking is.
Important meeting tomorrow night:
- What: Hartford's Planning and Zoning Commission
- When: Tuesday, December 9th @ 5:00 p.m.
- Where: 260 Constitution Plaza, Plaza Level Conference Room
Don't forget the social and economic justice issues of designing only for car travel. This stadium is built for the community, but only if you're ready to pony up for the cost of parking on top of the ticket price. That could put a family ball game outing beyond the reach for someone living paycheck to paycheck. And how about the minimum wage earning part time employees at the ball park working the games and the concession stands? You don't expect them to make enough to own and maintain a personal car on that income.
|You can fit a lot of bikes into the footprint of two car parking spots|
Sunday, December 7, 2014
Don't put your bikes away yet. Ride them all year long. It's just a question of appropriate outerwear and lights. It blows my mind that folks think I'm daft for riding my bike the short 3 1/2 miles to work through the winter. The same folks that can't understand winter cycling will drive two hours each way to go skiing in exactly the same (or colder) conditions for hours. Who's daft now?
A couple years ago I started organizing a monthly informal breakfast meetup for winter bike commuters in East Hartford. We invite everyone, but usually only get Pratt & Whitney folks. I can't figure out why no one from Goodwin College rides to work or comes to the Bike to Work events. Goodwin even has free loaner bikes for faculty and staff to get from one to another campus building without driving.
Bike commuters typically love all the sustainable travel modes. If you walk to work, take the bus, carpool, or vanpool we'd love to see you at Maddie's on Thursday. Many cyclists that have gone car free or car light use a variety of transportation modes to get around. You can research your options here - www.ctrides.com. If you're interested in bus transit options, you can look up routes and times on CT Transit.
|November IceBike had 8 riders!|
Saturday, November 22, 2014
Bike Walk Connecticut has an Annual Dinner each November. It's a wonderful event. There is an expansive silent auction of donated items. You won't find a higher concentration of active transportation advocates anywhere else in Connecticut. It's refreshing since we are still largely a car centric state, even in our urban centers. You will come away inspired. This year's speaker is Dan Haar, who walked across CT bit by bit on Route 44, writing about the journey in the Hartford Courant.
|8 bikes - on a below freezing morning. Low impact healthy travel.|
Well, this isn't okay. We know that metro Hartford citizens are hearty. They drive hours to ski in the same weather and temperatures that stop bicycle commuting dead in its tracks. I think it's basically a cultural stumbling block. "Of course. You can't bike in the winter. That would be crazy." The outfit required to handle the cold is greeted with disbelief. "My aerodynamic spandex wouldn't be warm enough and what about my silly plastic racing shoes?" Its damn easy folks. Put some flat pedals on, and wear footwear and clothes similar to what you might wear outside walking on a windy day or skiing. Good gloves are nice and you might need a balaclava to keep the wind off your face and ears. To demonstrate that winter cycling is in fact possible, even when attending a semi-fancy dinner, we'll be meeting up as a group on Monday night and riding over to the dinner, making room for the calories we are about to consume.
On the topic of promoting year round active transportation, we held our first IceBike to Work of the season this past Friday in East Hartford at the diner across the street from Pratt & Whitney. Eight folks showed up, and two were women. That's actually a milestone for IceBike. The first P&W women I've seen bike commute in the winter. It's super easy to set up an IceBike breakfast. Just pick a diner and send out a meeting notice. You can send it your local cycling club and post it up on the Facebook. It's a low key event, and you pay your own way. No pesky sponsors or organizing headaches. Just a friendly breakfast and coffee while your face-icles melt. I challenge someone from Hartford and West Hartford to do the same. It's rather embarrassing when East Hartford is leading the way.
PS - A couple of last minute tickets for the dinner may be available. They added another table of ten.
|Notice the WSD frame. Ladies bike commuting to P&W in the winter!|
Friday, November 7, 2014
I'm squatting. On this hashtag - #HartfordCyclocross. Look. There it is on Beat Bike Blog. First. Nobody can Columbus that. Except I don't know how to use the Twitter. Can somebody competent help complete this transaction?
|Cyclocross in the dark. Whiskey assist.|
Thursday, November 6, 2014
First - a big deal announcement. Hartford is a finalist city for the Cyclocross Nationals in 2017 or 2018. There are four finalist cities, and two will be selected, one for 2017 and the other for 2018. It's time to start ringing our cowbells, as this is a competition and Hartford has to WIN it. The other finalist cities are Bend (OR), Louisville (KY), and Reno (NV). Hartford (in the city proper) hosted two cyclocross races in 2014, and a downtown criterium race. There is a growing bike racing scene in the Hartford metro area, and our fair city is an excited and helpful host city. Stay tuned to the Beat Bike Blog for more info on how you can help secure this national cyclocross race.
|Cross racers mounting the stairs at the base of the Sam Colt Statue.|
|Heckling is part of the fun.|
|There are obstacles on the course. And crashes happen.|
Monday, October 20, 2014
|Jealousy inducing sign. Just across the line in West Hartford.|
|This is how Tony C picks up a new touring bike. No car needed.|
|A radiant green bike lane on Broad Street. I like it.|
Tuesday, October 7, 2014
But sometimes, you deserve a romantic trip to Old Saybrook! So, please vote for my river clean up picture so that I go on one. http://www.ctriver.org/?contestants=clean-up-by-bike Read more!
Saturday, September 27, 2014
It was a beautiful morning to stroll along the Connecticut River and pick up the accumulated detritus of our civilized existence. Brendan kicked it up a notch this year with volunteers from Hartford Steam Boiler, Trinity College, and the Two Rivers magnet school. With such a large group we cleaned up the riverfront between Charter Oak Park and the Riverfront Plaza in no time. This stretch of river was chosen specifically because it doesn't get officially cleaned up by the park district or city employees. Each year there are many organized cleanup events by the Connecticut River Watershed Council, called the Source to Sea cleanup. Unfortunately the true sources are the assholes that litter, but we're getting the garbage before it further fouls our waterways.
|Under a pier - not sure what the pier was used for.|
|A pile-o-trash that Brendan is proud of.|
|Because awesome. Oct 11th in Colt Park.|
Thursday, September 25, 2014
First, I'd like to congratulate the six (6) companies in Connecticut that have been recognized as Bicycle Friendly Businesses. They have started looking past the immediate horizon and realize that active transportation improves the health and attitude of employees, lowers their cost of living, supports locally focused community and businesses, puts less wear and tear on the roads and parking lots, and is goodness for employee retention.
What surprises me is that more companies haven't recognized the benefits. So focused are we on the next quarter profits, or the next month's business expenses, that we're giving away the long game (and future benefits) of workplaces that step away from the 1-to-1 ratio of parking spots to employees. Not even considering the catastrophic global weirdness that may be creeping out of scientific predilection and into our weather patterns, there are almost immediate benefits for employers that promote alternates to single occupancy vehicle travel. Bicycles aren't the only option - car pooling, transit, walking, and telecommuting. There are oodles of ways to reduce our transportation impacts, while improving quality of life.
Enough negativity for now. Here are the 2014 Bicycle Friendly Businesses in CT. Congratulations! You stand out in Connecticut for actually making an effort. It's an easy application to fill out, and in 2014 it was free to apply. Let's do better next round Connecticut!
2014 Connecticut Bicycle Friendly Businesses
- [SILVER] Bicycles East, Glastonbury (new in 2014)
- [SILVER] REI - West Hartford (since 2012)
- [BRONZE] Connecticut Mental Health Center, New Haven (since 2013)
- [BRONZE] CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, Hartford (since 2012)
- [BRONZE] Pratt & Whitney, East Hartford (new in 2014)
- [BRONZE] Whitcraft LLC, Eastford (since 2011)
Connecticut's website promoting alternate commutes - www.CTrides.com
Simple ways to make your company more Bike Friendly:
- Visible and convenient bike parking. If you can put it under an overhang or patio, that's ideal. Bike parking near the main entry doors, and more convenient than the surface parking lots advertises that your company respects and promotes human powered transportation.
- Put up some Share the Road signs. After P&W put up Share the Road signs on the roads looping our campus, my negative vehicle interfaces fell dramatically.
- Showers and lockers. I've got a short commute, so I don't need a shower when I arrive by bike. Many potential bike commuters with longer commutes or lower fitness levels may feel that a shower is required to polish up before tackling the work day.
- Bike Commuting, Telecommuting, Transit, and Carpooling Info Sessions. Schedule and hold lunch and learn sessions that highlight the options and allow your local experts (and outside advocates) to share best practices and safety tips.
- Hold a Bike to Work Day or breakfast event (bagels and coffee) at your campus or support your local Bike to Work Day.
Sunday, September 21, 2014
After gorging on walking and biking this weekend, I'm ready to go to bed early. Late night dancing my arse off at a birthday party has contributed to the battery drain. Before I nod off to sleep, I wanted to give the good people of Hartford a heads up on some bikey things not to miss.
|Chris Clark jumping off some big stuff next to the Wadsworth at Envisonfest|
Walk Hartford - Hartford's new and bustling group Transport Hartford is organizing the Slow Roll rides. Transport Hartford advocates for more complete bicycle, pedestrian, and pedestrian infrastructure. In addition to the Slow Roll events, there will be "strolling" events with a similar theme. The first "Walk Hartford" is planned for September 28th. The group will meet up at 1PM at the Bushnell Park Carousel.
Bike History - Through the month of September there are two bicycle related history exhibits in Hartford. Running through October 7th, there is a FREE Hartford bike history exhibit at the Hartford Public Library on the 3rd floor - Pedal and the Path. And last but not least, there are some very old bicycles in a small exhibit at the Butler-McCook House. The Butler-McCook house is jam packed with Hartford history and housed continuously one family lineage for 4 generations and 200+ years. I highly recommend all both the library and the museum, and not just for the bicycle exhibits.
Certain to be under publicized Cross Race - 2014 is the year of multiple events for Hartford. Recurring Slow Roll events. Several bicycle history exhibits. And now two cyclocross races. Just last weekend there was a cyclocross race at Riverside Park, and coming up in November (the 8th), there is a race right next door to my house in Colt Park - the Veterans Memorial CX Race. I doubt the navel gazing cyclocross race organizers will bother to invite the general public. If you haven't seen cyclocross racing it's rather fun to spectate and / or volunteer. The course in Colt Park is stacked up on the hill such that you can see the entire course from one spot. If one cross race makes Hartford more bikey than New Haven, then we're leaving them in the sand pit with two cross races in the same year. Now if they could just figure out how to get some spectators (and potential future club racers) off their couches and out to the park. Save the date!
Nightfall - Another plug for this great event coming up on October 11th in Colt Park. Starts at 5:30PM. FREE. And there will be a designated bike parking valet. BYO food and beverages. There will be surreal puppetry, music, dance, and spoken word. Nightfall Hartford. I'll be organizing a neighborhood cleanup that morning on October 11th to put some shine on before we have a park full of visitors. Meet at the Sam Colt statue near Wethersfield Avenue at 9AM. Bring trashbags and gloves, as I'm not going to bother with getting the city or sponsors involved.
Friday, September 12, 2014
I can't remember how long I've been doing this. I think the first time was 2008, but I skipped it in 2012. So, it might be the fifth or sixth installment of the beat bike blog's annual river cleanup (as part of the Source to Sea event) at the confluence of the Park and Connecticut Rivers in Hartford. Saturday, September 27 10am-1pm. If you drive there's parking at the intersection of Van Dyke and Charter Oak Aves. Otherwise, ride your bike up to the top of the levee and start cleaning. I think we're going to be join by Hartford Steam Boiler, Trinity College (as per usual (they do a great job)) and students from the nearby CREC school. It should be fun. Wear long pants.
Regarding the 'cross race at Riverside Park this weekend, I'm a little confused as to why they're calling it Hartford's first 'cross race. Do they mean first this year? We may not have great regularity in our races, but we've had a lot of them. There were the ones back in the mid-aughts, the one I did in 2009 and the one last year that ERACE did (which they're doing again in November). Just because you didn't go to any of those races doesn't mean they did happen. I bring this up only because Hartford, unlike the other cities in our state that claim they're more bike-y places than us (actually, I'm just talking about New Haven) haven't ever had a 'cross race.
Thursday, September 11, 2014
The next two weekends in Hartford are not to be missed if you are a bicycling enthusiast, or just enjoy sporting events in general. This Sunday, September 14th the Riverfront Cross Fest will be zipping around the trails and open areas in the parks near the Boathouse. You can access Riverside Park by car from the North using Leibert Road. If you're walking or riding in (earning your karma points), Riverside Park can be accessed via the river front path that starts at Charter Oak Park, runs past the Founders Bridge riverfront plaza and on up to Riverside. There is also a fun ramped flyover (up and over I-91) bike/ped bridge that connects the north end of downtown (via Pequot St) to the park. Seriously though, if you're less than 5 miles from a bicycle race, why would you drive there?
Sunday, August 31, 2014
|A veritable fire storm of bicycle events in September. Toss some logs on would ya?|
- Discover Hartford Bicycle Tour. Sadly. One event that isn't happening this September is the Discover Hartford Bicycle Tour. Here's why. I'm listing the non-occurrence of this event to head off questions about, "When is the Discover Tour this year?"
- Slow Roll. Gladly - there are other rides in Hartford that you should know about. The first is a "Slow Roll" happening on Monday, September 8th (corrected) and organized by Transport Hartford (www.transporthartford.org). Meet at 6PM at the Bushnell Park Carousel for a short and slow ride around Hartford. Transport Hartford is filling the active transportation (bike/walk/transit) void in Hartford. The organization treats bikes like transportation, with a side of recreation. For years motor vehicles have been the sole design driver of our infrastructure, even in dense cities served poorly by the resulting space hungry (and resource heavy) designs. It's past time to get organized and push back for Complete Streets and high quality transit service across Hartford. Sign up for Transport Hartford's email list to stay informed about upcoming events and advocacy opportunities in our transitioning city. Spread the word via this Facebook invite.
- Pedal and Path: Hartford & the Bicycle. From September 3rd through October 7th, the Hartford Public Library "will showcase vintage Connecticut bicycle maps and images from Hartford’s past association with the bicycle, as well as a 1924 velodrome track bike, featuring components manufactured by famous African-American cyclist  Major Taylor." Hartford was home to Columbia Bicycles started by Colonel Pope and can claim many significant moments in bicycle history. Get over to the library to learn more about Hartford's bicycle roots. The exhibit is up on the 3rd floor.
- Bicycle and Pedestrian Counts. On September 9th through 14th the Hartford metro region planning organization (CRCOG - Capitol Region Council of Governments) is gathering volunteers for bicycle and pedestrian counts at intersections across the region. I'll be traveling that week for work, so I set up an alternate count day on Sept 28th for an intersection in Hartford. More data leads to more action, and data driven action is harder to ignore. It only takes a couple hours of sitting in a lawn chair. Contact Mike Cipriano (860-522-2217 x223) with your preferences for count times/locations. Map of locations here.
- Riverfront Cross Fest. Get your bike dirty or yell dirty things at the cross racers on Sunday, September 14th. Starting at 8:30AM and the pro race starts at 3PM. The racing starts at the boathouse in Riverside Park, the northern part of the Hartford riverfront. You can walk or ride there from downtown. If you drive there, I'll make fun of you. That's because cross racing includes a healthy dose of heckling ('cross heckling is de rigueur) - and therefore I'll heckle the wankers that drive to a bike race.
- Connecticut Cycling Festival and Hartford Envisionfest. A weekend of awesome events with arts, music, and fast bicycles. All within walking or biking distance of downtown Hartford. On Saturday there is a "Gran Fondo" with 45 mile and 100 mile distances. For some reason, they time the riders, and I'm guessing that leads to pretty irresponsible behavior at intersections (if you get creamed blowing intersections it's your own fault). On Sunday a closed course criterium zips around downtown and is surprisingly fun to watch. All over Hartford on Saturday there is a rolling festival at your own pace - Envisionfest. Check out the day full of events and formulate a plan, or just wander around finding fun stuff willy-nilly.
- Nightfall at Colt Park. An evening of music, dance, spoken word, and GIANT puppets to mark the seasonal transition. This event embraces sustainability with valet bicycle parking. Bring your bike or walk over from the nearby Hartford neighborhoods. Nightfall has several community outreach arts events leading up to the main performance on Saturday, October 11th. Nightfall starts at 5:30PM (get there early for a good spot) and seating is on the hill near Wethersfield Avenue. BYO blankets, chairs, and refreshments. I'll be organizing an informal neighborhood and park cleanup that same morning, meeting at 9AM at the Sam Colt statue (also near the Wethersfield Ave entrance).
- Interstate Multi-use Trail Summit. From New Haven to Northampton, MA there is a paved trail that is almost all the way complete. I've ridden all of it and am excited to see this non-motorized trail connection close the gaps. On Saturday, October 18th there is a summit in Simsbury, CT for this this cross state (and multi-state) trail. You should register now.
|My view this morning.|