There’s no feeling quite like a bike ride on a warm day. Luckily for us, Rhode Island has bike paths all over the state. Get on your bike and go.
Blackstone River Bikeway
The mighty Blackstone River helped power the birth of the American Industrial Revolution, and remnants of this great economic upheaval are all around you as you travel the 12 miles of the Blackstone River Bike-way. Once a wasteland, the river gets cleaner with each passing year, with now-silent mills converted to condos, and canoes and kayaks plying the waters where canal boats once brought goods to market.
Want to keep riding? Follow the street signs to connect to the East Bay Bike Path via Blackstone Boulevard.
East Bay Bike Path
Rhode Island’s oldest bike path runs 14.5 miles from India Point Park in Providence to Independence Park in Bristol, hewing close to the banks of the Providence River and the east coast of Narragansett Bay most of the way. The northernmost section of the bike path will reopen in June, and bike path users will enjoy a beautiful new linear park as they cross over the Providence River in downtown Providence.
The end of the East Bay Bike Path is in Bristol’s Independence Park, where you can reward yourself with clam cakes at Quito’s or grab a cold one at Aidan’s. More adventurous riders can catch the ferry to Prudence Island, a mostly undeveloped sliver of old New England in Narragansett Bay.
Washington Seconary Bike Path
Running 19 miles from Cranston Street in Cranston to Log Bridge Road in western Coventry, the Washington Secondary Bike Path offers riders a gradual transition from urban to suburban to rural Rhode Island. Beginning in Cranston near the site of the original Narragansett Brewery, the path passes historic mills and other industrial sites before rising gradually into the cool woodlands of Coventry, including the latest, 4.8-mile Trestle Trail segment added to the path in late 2014.
Reach the end of the line near the historic Summit General Store and and you’ll be looking forward to the next extension of the path (it will eventually run 24 miles and reach the Connecticut border). Meanwhile, if you are on foot or have a mountain bike you can continue to follow the unpaved Trestle Trail westward.
South County Bike Path
It feels pretty far from the sea when you’re at Kingston Station (near the University of Rhode Island) and looking at the trailhead of the South County Bike Path, but it’s actually less than 8 miles to Narragansett Bay, following the course of the old Narragansett Pier Railroad. After skirting some farmers’ fields, the bike path edges alongside the Great Swamp Management Area before cutting through the woods and mill villages of South Kingstown and ending near the beach.
The path ends rather unceremoniously at South Kingstown High School, but press on for a few Narragansett streets and you’ll be at the beach and pier in minutes.