With over 200 registrations completed, riders from all over CT and NY got together at Bethel Middle School on June 10th for the 20th Annual Hat City Cyclefest.
Cyclefest, sponsored by Hat City, is an annual event held each year to help raise money for Danbury's Youth's Earn-A-Bike program. The event is a self-paced ride over various scenic roads of Western Connecticut in which riders have a choice of 13,23,53,81, and 104 mile routes.
Kiwanis International, who sponsor over 150,000 service projects each year were there to distribute free helmets and bags filled wiht bike safety tips. "Youngesters can come here for free bike checks, free helmets, and a bag full of goodies containing safety information," said Julie Schmitter, Excutive Director of Danbury Youth Services. Kiwanis International is a global organization of members dedicated to help children of all ages. "Kiwanis gives back to the community," said Schmitter.
Throughout the event there are separate stations that are there to assist the riders. At the food tent there was coffee, bagels, and other sweet treats that were sponsored by Star Bucks, Dunkin Donuts, Stop and Shop of New Fairfield, and many other companies just to name a few. Over 15 companies in total were able to sponsor the daylong event. "In the last three years that I have been a member this has been our best year," said Nancy Paisley, volunteer of Hat City Cyclists. "The club itself every Wednesday night rides out from the municipal center (in Bethel) and anyone is always welcome to join," Paisley also commented.
Leigh Sorrells, owner of Bike Express on Division Street in Danbury was in charge of the station where he would do bike checks to make sure the bikes were in a safe condition to ride in. He also provided air for the tires to make the safe commute. "We're here to make sure if they forget anything, and we cover the service end to also meet people and talk about their bikes," Sorrells said.
Throughout the day, there were rest stations along each of the segments. On the road, the rides could navigate their way to each check point and pull over to the rest stop to eat and get drinks. The event was kid friendly and if there were any children under 16 years of age, they were required to travel along with an adult. "We also have something called sag riders which, are members of Hat City who follow alongside the riders in cars to ensure their safety and provide assistance if needed," said Roger Snow, Chairman of Cyclefest. Cyclefest is an annual even to help raise money for Danbury Youth Services Earn-A-Bike program and is always looking for new members. For more information, you can log onto their website at: hatcitycyclists.org.