From coastal plains to rolling countryside, Rhode Island packs a cycling punch.
The Ocean State may be diminutive, but when it comes to cycling, it punches above its weight. Its 60-plus-miles of bike paths cross through multiple towns and quaint villages carry riders over coastal plains to the beach, weave through woodlands, and climb inland rolling hills. Posh Newport is a bronze-level Bicycle Friendly Community, and the state as a whole comes in at number 21.
The 19-mile Washington Secondary Bike Path — which follows the retired Hartford, Providence, and Fishkill Railroad — is the state’s longest, skirting historic waterfront and passing by eight parks. The ever-expanding Blackstone River Bikeway crosses many bridges as it follows the water through charming Blackstone Valley. Jonesing for a swim? Ride the William C. O’Neill Bike Path to Narragansett.
Rhode Island’s mountain biking is surprisingly great, whether you’re darting on and off the singletrack in Lincoln Woods State Park, climbing up to the ridgelines and circling the ponds at Woody Hill, or getting happily lost on the former motorcycle trails of the Big River Management Area in West Greenwich.
The Tour de Rhody is a perfect intro to the state’s gravel scene, with routes ranging from 15 miles to a stout metric century (bonus: you get access to the closed roads around the Scituate Reservoir). Or explore the Carolina Management Area, where country roads dip and roll through fields and farm groves and pass by glacial rock formations and rock walls from colonial times.
If a big day out is what you’re after, sign up for the Bike to the Beach, which starts in Boston and finishes with a seaside party in Newport.