Elected officials and local dignitaries representing South Windsor and Simsbury were on hand at Jacob's View Pavilion on Saturday to commemorate South Windsor being designated a Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists.
As a symbol of becoming the second town in the state to receive the designation, cyclists from Simsbury - the first town in Connecticut to be named Bike Friendly - passed a toy torch to their South Windsor counterparts after a ride that started in Windsor and ended at the Charles N. Enes Community Center.
According to the speakers at the ceremony, the designation means more than just something interesting to put on a brochure.
“Way to go South Windsor,” Master of Ceremonies and bicycle enthusiast Tom Condon of the Hartford Courant said. “What you're doing is really important. Biking is growing and it’s the only activity that cuts global warming, reduces the dependence on foreign oil and fights obesity at the same time.”
Simsbury First Selectwoman Mary Glassman said that she was honored to welcome South Windsor as the second Bicycle Friendly Community in Connecticut.
“We’re not here only to celebrate the second Bicycle Friendly Community in the state, we’re here to celebrate the power of an idea,” she said.
State Rep. Bill Aman and state Sen. Gary LeBeau presented an official citation from the Connecticut legislature.
“The fact that South Windsor has become a Bicycle Friendly Community does not surprise me,” Aman said. “The thinking for us as a bicycle community goes back many years.”
LeBeau, commenting on South Windsor’s ‘bronze’ level designation, quipped that the town should become Connecticut’s first silver-level community before he turned serious.
“I serve as the chairman of the Transportation Bonding subcommittee, and we’re going to make sure going forward that we have these bike paths with all the new construction on secondary roads,” he said.
Sandy Fry, representing the League of American Bicyclists, presented the Bronze Award to South Windsor Mayor Tom Delnicki.
Fry said that less than half the towns that apply for the Bicycle Friendly Community designation actually get it.
“It’s quite an accomplishment,” she said, noting that she was impressed with the way the school system works with the town and community groups to make safe routes to school. At the forefront of the community, according to Fry, was South Windsor Walk and Wheel Ways group, whose members Fry recognized as “doing a lot of work to be advocates for the town.”
Delnicki, for his part, recognized former Mayor John Pelkey, who was instrumental in getting the designation.
“It wouldn’t have happened if you weren’t there,” Delnicki said.
Delnicki also commended the members of the South Windsor Walk and Wheel Ways for making the day possible.
“Our community has always been made up of fantastic volunteers who have done a tremendous job, and this is one more example of what the volunteers bring to our community, the time they dedicate and what they get done,” he said. “For that we are very appreciative.”
Ten- and 20-mile bike rides through the town then followed.