New Haven Grand Prix draws thousands to the Elm City

WTNH/Renee Chmiel
WTNH/Renee Chmiel

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The second annual New Haven Grand Prix and the Apizza & Eats Feast were held in New Haven on Friday night. The CT Cycling and Advancement Program hosts it. News 8 is a proud sponsor.

The Junior Race was the first event. Dozens of kids rode in the 20 mile race through downtown New Haven. Steven Zhang was one of them.

“I’m pretty excited because this is the first road race that I’ve done,” he said. “I’m just going to do this for experience.”

img 0179 New Haven Grand Prix draws thousands to the Elm CityThat race was followed by the Amateurs Race, and then the Pro Race. Several streets downtown were closed to cars. Bikes were the only traffic in some areas, as New Haven became a race course for cyclists.

“This is a very bustling and a very big event,” said Zhang. “I didn’t expect it to be this big.”

It wasn’t just about cycling. The streets became a big block party, with lots of food. Since thousands of people were expected to attend, extra police officers worked to keep everyone safe. However, they didn’t expect there to be any problems.

“We have cameras set up and they’ve done their sweeps,” said Officer David Hartman of the New Haven Police Department. “We’ll continue to do them through the night.”

There were other bike events at this party, including a bike mechanics championship. Mike Steidley, who’s been riding professionally for almost 20 years, was there for the stunt show.

“It’s rare that I get to sleep in my own bed and then wake up and drive downtown to go do a show,” said Steidley, who is from New Haven. “So it’s nice to do something local and then have friends and family come and check it out.” img 0181 New Haven Grand Prix draws thousands to the Elm City

The New Haven Grand Prix is a local event that brought some of the best riders in the country. Some of them reach speeds of up to 40 miles per hour as they race. It’s something exciting for the riders and everyone who comes to watch.

“The New Haven Grand Prix is really cool because it really brings the community out. The bike race is really fun,” said Steidley.

Parts of Temple, College, Chapel and High Streets were closed for much of the afternoon and evening for the event.

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