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Details finalized for Central Connection bicycle ride | News, Sports, Jobs

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Slow Roll organizers pose for a photo. From left to right are Lucas Natali, owner of Fredonia Cycling; Dunkirk Mayor Willie Rosas; SUNY Fredonia President Stephen Kolison; and Fredonia Mayor Doug Essek.

Organizers of the Central Connection Bicycle Ride have finalized details about Saturday’s event.

The ride, which will go down Central Avenue from Day Street in Fredonia to the Dunkirk Pier, is set to begin on Day Street at 10 a.m. That street will be blocked off for cyclists’ safety. On most of Central Avenue, the riders have bike lanes at their disposal.

The cyclists will leave Day Street and take off down Central Avenue after a ribbon cutting ceremony by Dunkirk Mayor Willie Rosas, SUNY Fredonia President Stephen Kolison and Fredonia Mayor Doug Essek, who helped organize the ride.

The event is free, with no registration necessary. Riders can go at their own pace and all ages and cycling experience levels are welcome. People can exit the route at any time. It’s modeled after the Buffalo Slow Roll, and organizers occasionally call it a “slow roll event.”

Fredonia Cycling — whose owner, Lucas Natali, is also on the organizing committee — will provide ride support leaders to monitor safety. Riders are encouraged to wear helmets and bring water for hydration.

The bicycle ride is part of the Central Connection project, which started in 2016 as a means of connecting the village of Fredonia, the city of Dunkirk and SUNY Fredonia with a vision for expanding tourism and business along Central Avenue. The banners recently placed on utility poles along the road are part of this project — in fact, riders will be encouraged Saturday to “follow the banners,” all the way to Lake Erie if they want.

Future Central Connection Bicycle Rides are being discussed where routes, time of day and day of the week may be altered to include SUNY Fredonia students. Future rides will probably include the campus on the route in some form.

“The group hopes to highlight our area as a destination for commerce and community events,” according to the organizers’ press release, emailed by Essek. “Riders are invited to come and enjoy our communities and our event to the fullest by exploring all we have to offer. The Fredonia Farmers Market will be open and close to the start of the ride and the Dunkirk City Pier has numerous shops and places to eat at the end of the banner route. Everyone is welcome to invite friends, family members and co-workers to participate and partake in the many businesses in Fredonia and Dunkirk.”

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