Greater Waterbury YMCA executive director Jim O’Rourke will lead a group from the Y’s triathalon club on a 50 mile ride along the Naugatuck River from Torrington to Derby. They expect to arrive on the Green in downtown Waterbury at noon on Sunday for a community celebration. O’Rourke is a member of the Waterbury Greenway Committee. Photo by John Murray


   WHAT:  Waterbury on Wheels is a first-time event aimed at promoting bicycle use within the city of Waterbury for recreation, alternative transportation, and physical health.  The event is taking place in combination with the larger regional bike-a-thon called “Explore the Naugatuck” which celebrates the efforts of cities and towns along the Naugatuck River to build the Naugatuck River Greenway (NRG).  The greenway project was recently named as one of the country’s 100 best outdoor projects by U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar.

   The Green and the encircling streets will be turned into a vehicle-free, downtown bicycle loop between the hours of 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.  Individuals and families are encouraged to bring their bikes to the Green.  Through the support and generosity of Walmart, 150 bikes will be presented to kids previously nominated by area youth agencies through the Bicycle Boost Program.  Families will be able to bike around the Green and there will be scheduled bicycle events for children, relay races, a scavenger hunt, a bike decorating station, a children’s bicycle storytelling hour, food on “wheels”, and bike safety and maintenance clinics.  There will also be exhibitions by fire-juggling cyclists, art exhibit of bicycle part sculptures made by local schools, and a professional art exhibit by sculptor Brian Walters, who turns wheels, gears, chains and sprockets into amazing works of art.  Walmart associates will be donating their time together with other community volunteers and donors to support this first-time event promoting community involvement and healthy lifestyles.  The event is free and open to the public.

   WHERE: Downtown Green, Waterbury. Pack up your bikes and bring them to the Green for some old-fashioned, outdoor fun.

   For all city bus passengers, North East Transportation will be staging their buses on Grand Street from 9:30 a.m until 5:00 p.m.  All passengers will be asked to wait on Grand Street, by the City Hall, and at the Chase Building.  If you need any scheduling information please call North East Transportation at 203-753-2538.

   WHO: Waterbury Mayor Neil M. O’Leary, State Senator Joan Hartley, Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Daniel C. Esty, and more.

   Event supported by: the City of Waterbury; Office of State Senator Joan Hartley; National Park Service; Connecticut Safe Routes to School; Naugatuck River Greenway; Waterbury Firefighters Union; Mattatuck Museum; Greater Waterbury YMCA; Waterbury Police Department; Walmart; Bridge to Success; Silas Bronson Library; Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of CT; North East Transportation; Waterbury Fire Chief’s Office; Waterbury Police Activities League; Council of Governments of the Central Naugatuck Valley.

   WHEN: Sunday, September 23, 2012, 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.

   WHY: To  celebrate the 44-mile long Naugatuck River Greenway Project’s recognition as one of the top 100 outdoor projects in the Country and promote the use of bicycling in everyday life.  Waterbury on Wheels seeks to bring awareness to the community that streets and roads are available to all kinds of transportation, not just cars, and that City residents need to walk, bike and move