NEW HAVEN, Conn. — This weekend is expected to be a big one in downtown New Haven.
The New Haven Grand Prix cycling event will be staged Friday night, featuring multiple races with riders of all ages marking the first time since prior to the pandemic the races have been staged.
When this Grand Prix first came to New Haven a few years back, some businesses were not big fans because they thought the street closures would hurt them, but some have been pleasantly surprised. And the expected good weather Friday should help.
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New Haven is a city that promotes and embraces bicycling, even providing free bike repair stations across the city. So staging cycling races on Friday evening seems to be a perfect fit.
"We couldn't think of a better way to highlight the unique aspects of New Haven and to host a downtown, twilight, bicycle race, as crazy as that seems," said Aidan Charles, the promoter of the New Haven Grand Prix.
His organization, the Connecticut Cycling Advancement Program, gives kids all across the state access to the sport of cycling including in partnership with the City of New Haven.
"The Grand Prix has been a great opportunity for us to want to get young people interested in extraordinary sports," said Gwendolyn B. Williams, Director of the New Haven Youth and Recreation Department.
And she said cycling is another opportunity kids of New Haven can use to change the trajectory of their lives.
"So even through the pain, even through your tiredness, are you able to push to the end and that is something they can actually translate over into their regular life," Williams added.
The city's kids even help park rangers build some of the biking trails they use, she added.
"So we are so excited how they are involved in the process of cycling," Williams said, with a smile.
Many of the young bikers will be attending this Friday evening's New Haven Grand Prix, with the course covering a two-block box consisting of High, Elm, Temple and Chapel streets, which will be closed to traffic beginning early Friday afternoon.
The Grand Prix will happen from 4 p.m. until 10 p.m. Friday.
Mayor Justin Elicker (D-New Haven) said he can't wait "because you'll have cyclists zooming around the New Haven Green over and over again after 40 mph I understand which is fast on a bicycle but especially if you're doing those sharp turns."
Among the street closures is a portion of College Street, from the upper green through the theater district, which is reserved for live entertainment and food vendors.
After the event, the fun continues in the Elm City, as the 24th Pride New Haven Festival takes place on the New Haven Green on Saturday.
Tony Terzi is a reporter at FOX61 News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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