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Guide to Cycling in Connecticut

March 17, 2012 5:00 AM

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Photo Credit: bike.ctchallenge.org

Photo Credit: bike.ctchallenge.org

By Dani Frank

Bike culture has thoroughly invaded the country, taking cues from bike rental programs in Europe, recent green, eco-conscious and alternative energy movements and an economic down-turn declaring pedal pushing a more profitable decision than subway riding. Transportation atop two wheels is the solution to high gas prices, carbon emissions and even losing a few recently acquired holiday pounds. Looking to become a bicyclist and leave your car parked in the garage? Here is your handy-dandy guide to fixed-gears, helmets, bike rentals and even races in the Nutmeg State.
6073376703 68ee7741bf b Guide to Cycling in Connecticut

Photo Credit: thedevilsgear.com

The Devil’s Gear Bike Shop
151 Orange St
New Haven, CT 06511
(203) 773-9288
http://www.thedevilsgear.com/

Prep for Pedaling
Before embarking on your newfound method of transportation, you’ll need the appropriate gear and, first things first, a bicycle. Invest in alternative transportation, and visit a shop that will provide you with info on everything from spokes to hand brakes. The Devil’s Gear Bike Shop in New Haven guarantees 30 days of repairs and labor upon purchasing  one of their top-of-the-line cycles. Attend one of the shop’s weekly events, from group mountain bike rides to an invigorating game of bike polo, and ingratiate yourself in the local cyclist community.

bikeshare092609 Guide to Cycling in Connecticut

Photo Credit: bareiss.net

Water Street Parking Garage
160 Water St
New London, CT 06320
(860) 443-1775
http://www.bareiss.net/bikenewlondon/bikenl.html

Sharing is Caring
Lucky enough to reside in or near New London? Participate in Bike Share New London, the city’s innovative new cycle sharing program and a one-of-a-kind institution in the Nutmeg State. Housed in the Cornish Parking Garage, located on Union Street and Gov. Winthrop Boulevard, leave a $10 deposit with one of the organization’s volunteers and pedal off on a community-provided cycle decked out in cheery yellow accents. Along with a rental bicycle, riders receive a helmet and bike lock, and after returning all elements of the rental, the $10 deposit will be returned to riders.

134248493 Guide to Cycling in Connecticut

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Connecticut Department of Transportation
2800 Berlin Turnpike
Newington, CT 06111
(860) 594-2000
http://www.ct.gov/dot/site/default.asp

Knowledge is Power
Is a hand signal required to negotiate a left turn? Should you be cycling with traffic, or against? Turn to the Connecticut Department of Transportation for answers to all of your burning questions. Providing pamphlets, brochures and advice as to how to travel on the same routes as cars, buses and more, the D.O.T. provides up-to-date information on helmets, hand signals and more. Before setting out on a jaunt to school or work, contact a transportation representative for some guides to bike safety, rules and regulations.  Yielding to pedestrians isn’t just a courtesy. It’s the law.

Frank T. Wheeler Elementary School
15 Cleveland Memorial Drive
Plainville, CT 06062
(860) 793- 3290

Take a Trip down the Travelway
While bikes are well suited for traveling on roads, off roads and around the cul-de-sac, a bike way guarantees seclusion from UPS trucks, SUVs and other obstructions. For a quick burst of energy and agility, hit Plainville’s 1.5 mile-long bicycle travelway, originating at the Wheeler Elementary School and continuing as an easy ride ending at Paderewski Park. Similarly, Middletown’s Westlake Area Bikeway is a path designed for riders and more specifically commuters. The 2.2 mile trail leads under I-91, ending at Grandview Drive, and accesses Cucia Park, for a warm weather ride to the park.

dsc 3962 450 Guide to Cycling in Connecticut

Photo Credit: bike.ctchallenge.org

Fairfield County Hunt Club
174 Long Lots Rd
Westport, CT 06880
(203) 227- 8445

Bike Race for the Cure
After a few spins around the neighborhood and trips to and from work, you may be itching for some competition atop two wheels. Work your quads and tone your calves for the CT Challenge. The annual event takes place in July, with participants cycling to raise donations to support the Connecticut Challenge, a public charity raising funds to support cancer survivors. Race according to your ability; with rides ranging from 10 to 100 miles in length, cyclists can push themselves to reach a new distance with the CT Challenge Ride. Routes begin and end at the Fairfield County Hunt Club, and end with festivities to celebrate your ride for a cause.

Dani Frank is a fashion, travel and culture enthusiast and writer living in Easton. A recent graduate of Hofstra University, she is most happy when traversing the East Coast and beyond and documenting it all for curious readers. Read her further work here.
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