Annual New Haven Grand Prix draws thousands downtown

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Thousands of people headed to downtown New Haven Friday night for the third annual New Haven Grand Prix. Several streets were blocked off for the bicycle races and street festival. News 8 is a proud sponsor of the event.

The first of five races began Friday afternoon. The last race wrapped up later that night. Laura Almonte and her kids were there to watch the action.

“It’s really fun and it’s inviting. It’s very welcoming,” she said. “We literally just walked over.”

Men, women and kids of all ability levels rode in the races. They cruised through the streets around the green while people watched and cheered.

The bikes hit speeds of up to 40 miles per hour. Riders say although that’s exciting, it’s not what makes this race so special.

“It’s always such a great crowd,” said Lucas Fortini, a cyclist from Fairfield. “It’s always one of our favorite ones for sure.”

More than 15,000 people had been expected to watch.

“You don’t really see much. You see a blur,” said Ben Wolfe, who has ridden in previous years and served as a volunteer this year. “But you hear, you hear everything. You hear the cheers. You hear everything like that.”

The event isn’t just about the cycling. It’s also about food. There were food trucks selling everything from cupcakes to pizza.

“It’s incredible. It is what New Haven is all about,” said Wolfe. “The bike community in New Haven is massive, so to have a race in downtown New Haven is just absolutely incredible.”