Living on the east side of the river, as I do, and living in a town without a bike accessible bridge, as again I do, I make frequent use of Hartford's selection of river crossing. Like yesterday, after crossing early in the day on Middletown's Arrigoni Bridge,
Starting at the south, the aforementioned Charter Oak. A bit like Texas: big, tall, and a little wild west. If you seek glass shards, damaged handrails on the pedestrian stairs, and close encounters of the high speed motor scooter kind, this is your bridge. Just be sure to slow down for the perpetual puddle of water before beginning the ramp descent on the west side. Of course, this is the closest bridge to my house.
Working our way north, we have the crowning jewel of bicycle river crossings, the Founder Bridge. This isn't just a sidewalk or lane; we're talking promenade here. Lighting, statues, even a park ranger: Brendan sums this one up best, "I don't like it; it's too nice." No doubt, this is your best chance for a rare walking-yuppie sighting, as long as you don't scare them off.
Ah Bulkeley, you've always been there for us, providing a crossing for the motorless all these years, but now we've left you for better and wider lanes. If you always liked the idea of riding singletrack, but could never get into the whole dirt, rocks, sticks, and poisen ivy thing, this would make a good substitute, just remember to duck you head for the 91S/84E interchange and get ready with the binders for the 90 degree kink lest you have an intimate experience with a car accellerating to highway speeds.
Now last, and the most recent new experience for me, the train trestle out of Riverside Park, this one, like the old Riverside Amusement Park (now 6 Flags), is for the thrill seeker. Not quite "Stand by Me" exciting, it still has a not-ready-for-public-consumption feel to it. This probably has something to do with the fact that is probably isn't a legal crossing. But really, how can you pass on the allure of rubber tires on wood planks. Crossing this bridge reinforces just how good it is to be alive, assuming you don't fall to your death.
Don't get your feet wet.