Friday, September 26, 2014

Connecticut Cyclists: Mark Your Calendars

   Cyclists in Stamford, 2014 

I hope you all noticed the ear-to-ear grin of Gil Simmons on News 8 today. That's right: if you're in the Connecticut area, summer has been granted a stay of execution for at least the next couple of days. 

But now, while you're still at work dreaming of what you're going to do when you get off the clock, you're reading this blog, which is cutting into your productivity. However, if you want to look busy in case the brass strides around the corner of your cubicle, get out your calendar and jot these things down. Better still, jot these things down on social media so you can tell your friends.

1) Bridgeport: Bikeport Co-op Bike Ride (Saturday, September 27th, 1pm at McLevy Green)

If you live in or near Bridgeport and like cycling, ice cream, or both - this is the ride for you: At McLevy Green at 1pm on Saturday, the Bikeport Co-Op is having its monthly bike ride - and given the lovely weather forecast they are lucking out with the destination: Timothy's Ice Cream in Black Rock at 2974 Fairfield Avenue. All riders of all skill levels are welcome, and if you want more info email them at or use The Twitter: @BikeportCT and follow Bikeport on Facebook here

The people running Bikeport understand that bikes lift cities - and a community development bike program (similar to the Ohio City Co-Op I volunteered for in Cleveland) is just what the city needs. If you want to help raise funds for the Bikeport Co-Op in Bridgeport, visit their Indiegogo page and make a donation (read: difference). 

2) Stamford: Hearing on High Ridge/Long Ridge Study (Tuesday, September 30th, 7:00pm at 888 Washington Boulevard in Stamford)

I will concede this probably will not nearly be as much fun as the Bikeport Co-op ice cream ride. This is the equivalent of the Broccoli and Brussels Sprouts Ride that takes place annually in Portland, Oregon.* But it is a follow up on the crowded rally for bike lanes in June. 

   Rally for Bike Lanes on High Ridge Road, June 2014 

And this hearing isn't even a ride unless you pedal to the Stamford Government Center at 888 Washington Boulevard in Stamford: Simply turn right into the parking garage and you'll find the bike rack near the door. Try not to scuff the bike Stamford Downtown gave Mayor Martin during Bike to Work Day

When you do lock up, head inside and be ready to talk about the benefits of bike lanes. 

                 Scale model of road with 12' travel lanes (left) and 11' travel lanes (right)

This hearing starts at 7:00pm, and I urge you to be there with your bike helmet sitting neatly in your lap. And when the time comes for public comments about whether or not the city should proceed to install bike lanes on High Ridge and Long Ridge road, make them. Don't assume someone else will put their hand up. Remember: there are a lot of people in Stamford (or, any city, for that matter) who'd be much more inclined to choose the bike and leave the car at home if they knew they could do it safely. That would mean we'd all make it to work or back home faster. 

3) Stamford: Mill River Greenway Bike Ride & Rally (Saturday, October 11, 10:00am - 2:00pm. Optional ride starts at Scalzi Park/event takes place at Kosciuszko Park)

     Cyclists enjoying Mill River Park, Stamford, Fall 2013
If you're going to build car-free bike paths, the place to start is in the shadows of skyscrapers. That's where most of the people are and where bike infrastructure can do the most good. 

And like the beautiful Mill River Park in Stamford, it can really improve the look of a city. Who can forget Philadelphia: the city of brotherly love, cheesesteaks, and Bruce Springsteen shuffling around with his hands in his pockets? 

     From DIYBIKING.COM's Philadelphia Trip, Fall 2013

That music video would have been different if The Boss was riding a Cannondale, wouldn't it?

But back to Stamford: if you didn't read my post a couple of weeks back and haven't been paying attention to the text on the right of your computer screen, here goes: This family-friendly event, aimed at showing support of the Mill River Greenway and a more bikeable and walkable city starts at 10:00am with an optional 3-mile bike ride that starts at Scalzi Park and ends at Kosciuszko Park. 

At Kosciuszko park, there will be live music, games and food trucks. All our welcome - including all candidates for public office. Much like Cycling with Candidates, this is a Bikepartisan event. 

The Oct. 11 ride is presented by People Friendly Stamford and was created by the Mill River Park Collaborative, Stamford Downtown, Regional Plan Association and Harbor Point. The sponsors include the four great Stamford businesses of Lorca, Exhale, Pacific Swim Bike Run and Danny's Cycles as well as Purdue and Hampton Inn & Suites

4) Gun Buy Back Program (Stamford Police Department, 805 Bedford Street, Saturday, September 27th 10:00am - 2:00pm) 

Other than the fact the best ones are made out of high-quality steel (in your face, carbon fiber fanboys!) guns and bikes don't have a lot in common. 

But no matter how you feel about firearms or the second amendment I think we can all agree that if you have a gun in your home and…I don't know…don't want it there, you can turn it in to the Stamford Police Department on Bedford Street tomorrow (Saturday, September 27th) between 10:00am and 2:00pm. If you bring in an operational firearm, you will receive a gift card for $75 (rifles or shotguns) $100 for handguns and $150 for assault weapons. Guns have to be unloaded and carried inside in a box or a bag; more information can be found in the Stamford Advocate. 

Not only are initiatives like this one of those things that helps keep cities safer, but you also might have some cash to spend if you want to buy a bike at, for instance, Danny's Cycles or Pacific Swim Bike Run. Bikes are better than guns for a lot of reasons - and I'm not even counting the fact that if you're cleaning a bike and it slips out of your hands there is no chance it will kill or injure your next door neighbor. 

So mark your calendars, wear your helmets properly, drop your weapons, raise your voices, eat that ice cream, apply that sunblock and have a fantastic weekend. Thanks for reading and thanks for riding.  

*There is no Broccoli and Brussels Sprouts Ride in Portland, Oregon. I made it up.**

**However, knowing firsthand how weird Portland is, it may actually exist.***

***And if it does, it wouldn't surprise me at all if the words 'organic' or 'vegan' were thrown into the mix.  

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