The Chainlink

Friends, through no fault of my own I'm going to be commuting to Hartford CT. for the next few weeks.  I work and stay downtown.  So far I have seen a total of 1 bicycle. 

Interviews with the locals yielded the following information: people love their cars, they don't like bikes on the roads, bikes should be on trails, nobody commutes to work.

Weird place.

Mark 

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You have your work cut out for you!
The areas of Connecticut I've seen all have small, 2-lane roads with pleasantly sloping hills and many, many turns with woods obscuring where they lead. If Harford follows that model:

It makes sense. On the one hand, it sounds like a beautiful ride. On the other, as a driver, it sounds like a surprise and possible accident around every corner if you're not expecting it. So I sorta can relate to the prevalent attitude.

Just marvel at the old, gigantic trees and beautiful rock walls that line many of the roads... & enjoy your ride :)
Word. Cars dominate in Hartford metro. It is possible to bike and there is a trail on the river, though. Get a hold of the state bike map and a Hartford bike map - I don't know if the city map exists. I know they're trying. It used to be a different place....like Schwinn in Chicago the Torrington Company used to make bicycle components and Columbia Bicycles, for example. So much has changed.... :-(

Julie Hochstadter said:
You have your work cut out for you!
Be safe Mark!
Yes Mark...Connecticut is a weird place. Very low state income tax...so little state funding for more "progressive" programs for the environment, society and lifestyle choices. According to one book on the state:

...Only a smattering of the state's 21,000 miles of roads have signage designating them as bicycle routes. According to the League of American Bicyclists, 42 other states are more "bike friendly" than Connecticut...there is currently no state funding for bike education programs and no current state bike map....Motorists who encounter cyclists seem to view them as either obstacles, threats or nuisances....
I know a fellow who is a pretty serious rider in Hartford and who leads the Hartford Road Cycling Group. He is always talking about how tough it is to ride due to road conditions and, more importantly, the attitudes of motorists. If you want to talk to someone who does ride in Hartford I believe you can get Rob's contact info from the following website:
http://www.meetup.com/Hartford-Area-Bicycling-Meetup/
Lots of long sidewalks, though.... Where there might be just a shoulder in IL you might find a sidewalk in Hartford, or at least, that's how it was last year biking east Hartford to west Hartford.

Clark said:
Yes Mark...Connecticut is a weird place. Very low state income tax...so little state funding for more "progressive" programs for the environment, society and lifestyle choices. According to one book on the state:

...Only a smattering of the state's 21,000 miles of roads have signage designating them as bicycle routes. According to the League of American Bicyclists, 42 other states are more "bike friendly" than Connecticut...there is currently no state funding for bike education programs and no current state bike map....Motorists who encounter cyclists seem to view them as either obstacles, threats or nuisances....
to Mark- now you know why I come to this chicago site here- I started a ct. bike social website, and only have four members, two of them I forced to join, one of them is me!!
you have to visit two routes if you have access to a car with rack while you're here. one the main street of route 1 on the shoreline- head south on rt. 9 to rt. 81, travel south by bike if you have two or three hours, and endurance for hills, it is pleasant travelling through the roads with waterfalls along the way, and an ample 2-3 foot bike lane, and once hitting route 1, travel south towards madison, about 15-20 minutes, a pleasant salt air ride with the seafood smells form the restaruants wafting on the air, a private airport with unique planes, and miniature seashore cottages. then right into hammonassett state park, where you will find two miles of shoreline to travel on ,once you reach there from the entrance travelling through marshes with redwinged black birds, and an assortment of inline skates, and bicycles, many with children seated on the backs, and a nature center with snakes and wild fish along the way.


Then!! just for a review, if you're really brave, at the very least scope out Middeltown, where I live, 15 minutes from Hartford, directly south on 91. From the main street, up washington, it is absolutely the worst place to ride a bicycle, there is only two or three INCHES of bike lane, making it necessary to travel on the sidewalk, which always has the danger of driveways where the cars tend to travel to the road edge before stopping. I was sideswiped there once, don't attempt to ride the road, its too dangerous, jsut travel it to appreciate the need for a bike lane there.
all of middletown is not much better, mostly sidewalk travel, and small one foot lanes everywhere else, but the bridge from middeltown to portland, is an adventure, there is a compltetly seperate bike and walking lane over the ct,. river, that is about a half mile long.
Can you post pics of these tiny bike lanes? I thought that DOTs generally size bike lanes according to a federal recommendation of 4 feet or so.

Not trying to be facetious, as I'm sure you're exaggerating a bit, but a painted divider itself is bigger than 2-3 inches. A one-foot lane would be narrower than most handlebars. It's kind of hard to believe that you're describing actual bike lanes. Maybe you're saying that the travel lanes aren't wide enough for a car and bike to share?


jillnerkowski said:
From the main street, up washington, it is absolutely the worst place to ride a bicycle, there is only two or three INCHES of bike lane, making it necessary to travel on the sidewalk, which always has the danger of driveways where the cars tend to travel to the road edge before stopping. I was sideswiped there once, don't attempt to ride the road, its too dangerous, jsut travel it to appreciate the need for a bike lane there. ll of middletown is not much better, mostly sidewalk travel, and small one foot lanes everywhere else, but the bridge from middeltown to portland, is an adventure, there is a compltetly seperate bike and walking lane over the ct,. river, that is about a half mile long.
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heather stratton said:
Can you post pics of these tiny bike lanes? I thought that DOTs generally size bike lanes according to a federal recommendation of 4 feet or so.

Not trying to be facetious, as I'm sure you're exaggerating a bit, but a painted divider itself is bigger than 2-3 inches. A one-foot lane would be narrower than most handlebars. It's kind of hard to believe that you're describing actual bike lanes. Maybe you're saying that the travel lanes aren't wide enough for a car and bike to share?


jillnerkowski said:
From the main street, up washington, it is absolutely the worst place to ride a bicycle, there is only two or three INCHES of bike lane, making it necessary to travel on the sidewalk, which always has the danger of driveways where the cars tend to travel to the road edge before stopping. I was sideswiped there once, don't attempt to ride the road, its too dangerous, jsut travel it to appreciate the need for a bike lane there. ll of middletown is not much better, mostly sidewalk travel, and small one foot lanes everywhere else, but the bridge from middeltown to portland, is an adventure, there is a compltetly seperate bike and walking lane over the ct,. river, that is about a half mile long.
.
well I guess the proper way to say it is that there are no bike lanes!! and one is forced to ride on the sidewalk, and don't make the mistake I made by trying to stay within the three inches to the right of the white line.

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