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First Annual Hardware City Bike Tour Oct. 25

The Central Connecticut Cycling Club together with Bike New Britain will present the First Annual Hardware City Bike Tour next Saturday, Oct. 25 at 9:30 a.m. at Central Park.

“We have massive bike lanes and more and more people are using them in Cities across the country,” said Mark Moriarty, public works director. “It increases quality of life, people wanting to live in community, supports more businesses which increases value of property.”

Two years ago there was a plan to install the lanes throughout the City.

The City has gotten a lot of positive attention. Next year Bike Walk Connecticut is considering a New Britain Bicycle Tour 2015. It may be done during Oktoberfest and will featuring about 500 bicyclists touring and learning about the city.

On Saturday there will be about three routes: a 20 mile, a 12 mile and a 5 mile ride. Bicyclists can choose the route that fits them. It will not be a cultural tour as Bike Walk Connecticut may be. It is focused towards teenagers and adults

“We are just taking a ride with the people who have been working to make this happen and celebrating the efforts that have been put in place,” said Moriarty. “Everyday I talk to people who because of the lanes have gotten interested in biking. It is what we heard and expected would happen, but until it happens you are just hopeful.”

It’s also a health initiative to help residents get in shape as the City has had issues of obesity.

“There are a lot of benefits. People who own bicycles instead of cars don’t have to pay taxes on them,” said Moriarty. “We want to show off what we have done so far. It is impressive for such a short time.”

Moriarty said when you ride as an adult you feel like a kid again and appreciate things you don’t notice in the City when driving a car.

A bike path is also planned to open when CTFastrak opens as well.

The bike committee got together about a year ago and filled out a self-assessment form and ranked New Britain a 3 or 4 out of 17. With all the work that was done the team ranked themselves as a 13 out of 17.

Statewide New Britain is now ranked 3rd for a City that is bicycle and pedestrian friendly in Connecticut.

The City is looking to be recognized as a Bike Friendly Community in the near future as well.

“When you look at other communities who get noticed for this are Farmington and Simsbury. They don’t have the challenges we have in New Britain,” said Moriarty. “West Hartford recently got recognized and they have been looking to us for what needs to be done.”

“The event we do next year will probably be to discover New Britain and Bike Walk Connecticut. That was done in Hartford for 5 years in a row and is a big deal,” said Moriarty. “They have done what they can in Hartford and want to move it to a different community.”

Participation is free, but donations of $10 per person are being accepted to help fund a “Borrow a Bike”/Bike Share Program beginning in 2015 at the New Britain Museum of American Art.