Cycle Fest

Cycle Fest (Courant file photo / August 29, 2014)

The Connecticut Cycling Festival kicks off a weekend of competitive amateur and professional biking in Hartford on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 20 and 21, hosted by the Connecticut Cycling Advancement Program and BikeWalkCT.

Saturday's event, called the Gran Fondo, includes two scenic rides — one 45 miles long, the other 100 miles — through the Southern Connecticut River Valley.

The 100-mile ride takes cyclists from Hartford through Rocky Hill, Middletown, Haddam to the shorline of Old Lyme and back through East Haddam and Glastonbury; while the shorter route takes riders a circuitous route through Hartford, Middletown and Glastonbury.

Check-in for the Gran Fondo begins at 6:30 a.m. and the races begin at 8 a.m. from Bushnell Park, where the rides will also end. Entry fees are $95 through Sept. 12, $105 from Sept. 13 to 19, when registration for the Fondo closes.

The cycling festival partners with Saturday's EnvisionFest, a free cultural celebration of Hartford that features more than 100 events throughout downtown, including games, art shows, tours, live music and theatre. Admission to participating institutions, including the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, the Butler-McCook House, Connecticut's Old State House and the Bushnell Park Carousel, are free. EnvisionFest will also feature two open-air markets and a slew of gourmet food trucks on Gold Street. Times of events vary. Schedule: envisionfesthartford.com.

On Sunday, the cycling festival continues with three mountain bike races and a series of races of varying degrees of difficulty from 10 to 40 miles long. Two 5K runs, one for women, one for men, begin at 11:30 a.m. Sunday, and the day also includes food trucks, kids entertainment, live music, and a beer tent.

Professional stunt cyclist Chris Clark will give two performances: at 1 p.m. Saturday and at 3 p.m. Sunday.

Information and registration at cyclingadvancement.com.