Greater City Providence

Springing Ahead

Yesterday, I got back out on my bike for the first ride of the season. Since I was also trying out my first pair of SPD pedals (pedals that clip into shoes with a binding), I didn’t want to take my ride into traffic just yet, but I was eager to take advantage of the warmer weather.

I headed back to the Blackstone River Bikeway (map), where I did my last ride of 2010. Not entirely confident, I set out cautiously optimistic that the path would be clear of snow and ice. Though there were a few patches of snow north of marker 13, enough pavement was exposed that one could still get by, but the path could definitely use some sweeping, as there were many sections that were completely covered in twigs.

As expected, the water level of the river was particularly high. Maybe not as bad as the floods of 2010, but still pretty impressive.

Despite the mess of twigs, the ride went great (loved my new pedals, too)! I hope to get out to the other paths soon and get back into the bike-commuting routine asap – though I’d like to see more progress on the pothole repairs and some street sweeping.

Have you been out on your bike yet? Got some updates on the condition of the bikepaths? Are you a smug winter cyclist? Let’s hear it in the comments!

More pics from my ride:

Matthew Coolidge

Matthew Coolidge is co-founder of Greater City Providence. In addition to the occasional blog post about cycling, sailing, or urban rant, he works as an Electrical Engineer, often traveling to major cities and ports around the globe, or simply Warwick.


  • I also went out for a pleasure ride yesterday. Definitely thought it was going to be warmer than it was—probably because I defiantly only wore a jacket.

    I followed the Woonasquatucket greenway from the mall and back and found it mostly clear, with some scatterings of twigs. One surprising but navigable section of ice in Johnston. Accompanied by two dog walkers, one elderly couple, and half a dozen kids playing at Riverside Park.

    Easily the worst conditions were on Promenade, where avoiding the sand and glass shard channel pushes you out of the bike lane and into the car lane.

  • East Bay is clear other than a few spots of sand buildup.

    Although for some reason today I had to avoid East Providence cops. On the bike path. Not really looking for anything as far as I could tell. Just driving along. On the bike path.

  • There may have been a tanker offloading across the river. A year ago I was near Squantum club and left my bike and walked out one of the paths to the water to get a closer look. There were two police boats around the oil tanker and as I was taking pictures of the interesting winter sky, they started to head in my direction. I realized I may have looked suspicious so I headed back to my bike and rolled down the path. Before I got too far three cop cars stopped me to check my story. They took my liscense and told me it was a homeland security thing. My camera set them off – I may have been casing the tanker scenario. They were polite about it, but it sucks that this is now the world we live in.

  • Jen:
    According to their website, the East Providence Police does have bikes:

    The Patrol Division’s responsibilities include patrolling the city in marked police cruisers, and occasionally on bicycles and motorcycles.

    I am of course not at all surprised to hear of them patrolling the bike path in patrol cars. I would also not be surprised to learn about union rules regarding the time of the year they may patrol on bikes and this time of the year not being one of them. I do not know that for true though.

  • I’ve come across vehicles on the bike paths a few times. Parks officials drive trucks on them for grass mowing and general cleanup. I’ve seen police cars on them (when they were working on some pipes that go along the bike path, I think it southern East Providence or northern Barrington). I’ve seen police cars just driving down them. I’ve seen police cars nearby when tankers were doing their thing (but not actually on the path).

    In all those instances, the drivers were moving very slowly (under 10 mph) and were careful of their surroundings and the people using the paths.

  • @Sarah – You’re right about Promenade. That bike lane has been a mess for months now. I’m never sure if I should ride on the outside (right-hand) edge of it, or just abandon it and move to the right-hand lane. It’s a good thing that there aren’t too many cars on it (at least when I ride on it).

    I’m looking forward to hearing about Matt’s commute once he starts up again. I’ll try not to mock him with my winter cycling smugness!

Providence, RI
6:08 am7:23 pm EDT
Feels like: 50°F
Wind: 17mph S
Humidity: 95%
Pressure: 29.38"Hg
UV index: 1
55°F / 43°F
63°F / 48°F
68°F / 45°F