April Merleaux put on a bicycle-print dress, strapped her son Leo into the passenger seat, and set off for the East.
She and her husband Derek (pictured) were among nearly 300 cyclists who pedaled from West Rock to East Rock Saturday for the second annual Rock to Rock festival.
The day began with cheese grits and eggs at Common Ground, an environment-themed charter school at the base of West Rock.
Cycling enthusiast Paul Hammer kicked off the ride after demonstrating safety signs over a megaphone. The ride celebrated the 40th anniversary of Earth Day.
The group stopped in Edgewood Park for a water break. Two next-door neighbors, Matthew Goldbum and Eleanor Law (pictured), took a moment to rest in the grass.
At Beaver Ponds Park, a group of students from the Sound School and Common Ground planted trees.
David Streever (pictured), part of an emergency bike-fixing team, came to the rescue with a new tube to fix a flat. Five guys looked on and timed him.
The ride snaked down the Farmington Canal Trail ...
... past a pink tree, which bloomed behind a stripped-down warehouse across from the Monterey Homes.
“You Rock,” declared a welcome sign in East Rock Park, where the ride ended.
Cyclists were greeted by vendors peddling kettle corn, Caseus grilled cheese, and apartments in 360 State Street.
At least a dozen riders completed the ride to the summit of East Rock. Sal Frumento (pictured) pedaled to the top on his ‘98 Giant TCR bike. He posed for his friend’s camera at the sunny overlook. At 68 years old, he declared himself the “oldest punk rocker in town.”
Also at the summit, ornithologist Mark Aronson reported he had counted 35 different types of birds along the ride, including a monk parakeet.
Each cyclist raised at least $25 to join the ride, and some went far beyond. In all, the rock-to-rockers raised about $20,000, according to organizer Joel Tolman of Common Ground. That’s twice the amount donated last year, he said.
The money will go to a panoply of environmental groups: Common Ground, Solar Youth, New Haven Parks Department, Friends of East Rock Park, Friends of Beaver Pond Park, The Urban Resources Initiative, Elm City Cycling, Friends of Edgewood Park, Sierra Club’s Inner City Outings, and New Haven/Leon Sister City Project.