Bike West Hartford is partnering with West Hartford Leisure Services to offer a series of rides on Wednesdays and Saturdays throughout July and August.
By Ronni Newton
Although many of the Town of West Hartford programs have been suspended for the summer of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Leisure Services has been gradually opening facilities and has also been collaborating with outside organizations to offer safe, outdoor activities that can be enjoyed by adults as well as children.
In addition to outdoor yoga, which began July 1, Leisure Services is partnering with Bike West Hartford, a local nonprofit cycling group, to offer a series of free, recreational bicycling programs in July and August.
The family-friendly “Wheels on Wednesday” series has been offered in past years, and this year a “Weekend Wheels” series is being added.
Scott Franklin, treasurer of Bike West Hartford and organizer of many of the group’s activities, said that Helen Rubino-Truco, director of Leisure Services, contacted him about hosting the programs this summer.
“We thought it would be a good thing to do because it’s a safe, outdoor activity,” Franklin said.
Rides will be led by Bike West Hartford volunteers, and Franklin said he will personally lead all but one of the rides. Each ride will also have a designated “sweep,” who brings up the rear and stays with the last person to ensure that no one gets lost.
The Wheels on Wednesdays series was supposed to begin July 1, with a 4.1-mile ride of the “Green Neighborhood Route,” but it was absolutely pouring, Franklin said. He and another volunteer showed up anyway, just in case. The ride is not likely to be rescheduled.
“This weekend we’re doing the ‘Park to Park’ ride,” Franklin said. The Weekend Wheels rides are in general longer than the Wednesday Wheels rides, and mileage increases as the summer goes on culminating with the 16-17-mile Aug. 15 Duncaster Road ride – which is also the only ride that does not remain within West Hartford.
The 10-mile Park-to-Park ride, which traverses West Hartford’s major parks, was first offered last summer, and was a great success, Franklin said, with about 15-20 participants.
He doesn’t know how many riders will show up for this year’s rides, and said there is no need to register in advance. There is no limit to how many rides anyone can participate in, and no limit to the number of riders at each event.
Bicyclists are required to sign in upon arrival at the start, and to provide an emergency contact.
Properly-fitted helmets are required, and while the rides are open to people of all ages, children ages 15 and under must be accompanied by an adult. Tricycles or bicycles with training wheels are not permitted.
Lights on bicycles are encouraged, as are spare tubes.
Physical distancing of at least 6 feet will be requested for all riders who are not part of the same family, Franklin said. “Masks are not required but would be recommended,” he added.
Wheels On Wednesdays rides begin at 5:30 p.m. and the schedule is as follows:
- July 15 – Blue Neighborhood Route, 7.9 miles. Meet at the Town Hall parking lot in front of the main entrance, at flag pole.
- July 29 – Orange Neighborhood Route, 5.9 miles. Meet at the Fernridge Park center parking lot.
- August 5 – Wood Pond Route, 9.5 miles. Meet at the Town Hall parking lot in front of the main entrance, at flag pole.
Weekend Wheels rides begin at 9 a.m. and the schedule is as follows:
- July 11 – Park to Park Ride, 10 miles. Meet at the Fernridge Park center parking lot.
- July 25 – Reservoir Ride, 10 miles. Meet at the Town Hall parking lot in front of the main entrance, at flag pole.
- August 1 – Discover West Hartford’s Hidden Connectors, 15 miles. Meet at the Town Hall parking lot in front of the main entrance, at flag pole.
- August 15 – Duncaster Road Scenic Ride, 16 miles. Meet in front of Marshalls/Home Goods (333 North Main Street).
The ride schedule is subject to change, and updates will be posted on the West Hartford Leisure Services Facebook page and/or website for updates. For more information, please contact West Hartford Leisure Services at [email protected] or 860-561-7510.
Details about Bike West Hartford and established routes can be found on the organization’s website.
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