Hardware City Bike Tour
Cycling may not be the first thing that comes to mind when most people think of New Britain however that perception may be changing in the near future.
This past weekend Bike New Britain - an organization comprised of New Britain community members and city officials who share the goal of making the city more bike friendly - and the Central Connecticut Cycling Club hosted the Hardware City Bike Tour, a friendly group ride held to celebrate the city’s success thus far in implementing bicycle friendly infrastructure.
What many may not know is that over the past two years New Britain has been busy quietly installing designated bike lanes and routes on the city’s streets. “At this point we legitimately have the entire city covered” says New Britain Public Works Director Mark Moriarty, explaining that every portion of the city can now be accessed by either a bike lane or a designated bike route.
“We have a master plan that we have been implementing over the past two years” continues Moriarty, “having the infrastructure in place is the first step, but it’s not just infrastructure, we also have to do more education.”
Like many nearby towns such as Farmington and West Hartford, New Britain has recently submitted an application for Bike Friendly status. However Moriarty says that was a secondary consideration. “We’re not trying to go after any designation; we’re just trying to establish bike connectivity in the city.”
The need for that connectivity is in part spurred on by the soon to be completed CTFastTrack bus service. “With CTFastTrack coming in, it’s solving that last mile from the bus station to a house” says Moriarty.
Thanks to the efforts of city officials like Moriarty who has championed the project since its inception and the dedicated Bike New Britain members the project has made great strides in a short amount of time and has a rapidly growing group of supporters. Despite being conceived and organized only a month earlier, over 100 riders came out to support Saturday’s event.
The ride was free with organizers asking for a $10.00 donation to help cover the event’s cost and possibly raise some money for similar events in the future. Routes of various lengths were available all of which provided riders with a tour of the project’s highlights.
Looking forward Moriarty says more infrastructure and programming will be implemented in 2015. For example a bike share program will be starting next year at the Museum of American Art.
For more information about New Britain's bike friendly projects visit their website here:
To stay up to date with Bike New Britain like their Facebook Page here: