Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Newport R.I. Awarded The League of American Bicyclist Bronze Bike Friendly City Status

This is a big deal not only because Newport is a very bike friendly city but more so because the city is also the birthplace of The League of American Bicyclists which was founded as the League of American Wheelmen in 1880. Bicyclists, known then as “wheelmen,” were challenged by rutted roads of gravel and dirt and faced antagonism from horsemen, wagon drivers, and pedestrians.

The festivities began at city hall where the mayor, police, the state department of transportation, the Leagues of American Bicyclists and the bike kids of Newport all gave brief statements and presentations.  Most of those in attendance took a celebratory ride around downtown Newport. Bikes for those who did not bring one were provided by Newport Bicycle and the riders were invited to gather for a social at The Fifth Element where bar meets grill.

The award was the culmination of years of dedication and hard work by and their director Bari George.

Congratulation to the city of Newport R.I. the first Bike Friendly designated city in the State of Rhode Island and also completes the representation that now has all six New England states represented in the League of American Bicyclists designation. 

Newport Bronz Award from John Sullivan on Vimeo.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Buon Viaggio

We had house guest for the past few months who bought a 29 ft. sailboat and spent the summer making it seaworthy.  Yesterday they left to begin their voyages to where ever the wind takes them.  Sue and I wish them all the best and also to let them know that they were the perfect house guests.  The animals like them too.
The beginning of the video is a little shaky and there are still a couple of parts that need to be edited shorter. I recently began doing video and am working on style and content. I only wish I had the forsight to begin documenting Kate and Fabio when they arrived and could have given them a much better and more professional documentary of Tranquility, which is the name of the boat.

Tranquility II from John Sullivan on Vimeo.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Blackstone River Bike Trail

As always, click any photo for big. 

Rhode Island has three decent length rail to trail conversions.  The East Bay Bike Path, Washington Secondary Bike Path and the Blackstone River Path which is the subject of today's post. The East Bay post is HERE.  The Washington Secondary is HERE, and for a little something different, riding the Cape Cod canal end to end on both sides crossing two bridges is HERE.

All three of the Rhode Island trails are a short drive from each other,  10-20 minutes. After all Rhody is the smallest state, but it's a great bike riding state.  The longest is 30 miles round trip and the shortest is around 19 miles.  All three are rail trails so they are flat.

Distance: 18.68 mi
Time: 1:51:04
Moving Time: 1:46:02
Elapsed Time: 1:51:04
Avg Speed: 10.1 mph
Avg Moving Speed: 10.6 mph
Max Speed: 19.4 mph

For parking info click HERE

The Garmin route is HERE

All the photos are on flickr  HERE

The fall is a great time for a solo ride on this trails.  It's often cool and crisp but the view never lets one down.  On this day there were not many people on the trail at the start of my ride.  Cumberland and Lincoln R.I. sections meander through more suburban sections.  The North Smithfield and Woonsocket sections are a little more small city urban and consequently there is more use of the trail with dog walkers, couples walking and runners.  A smidgen of bikes shared this day but in general the traffic was very light.

I like to stop and talk with people about the area I am riding.  My decision is based on the greeting I get in return to mine.   Today was a lot of looking away and "don't bother me" looks.  Two maintenance workers offered friendly greetings however,  that prompted me to stop and chat.  Mario and Fernando are contracted to keep the North Smithfield path ship shape.  They are Portuguese immigrants, and my knowledge of local and Portuguese national soccer teams gave me a good ice breaker to get things going.

 Fernando and Mario

As I approached the end of the trail two ladies were doing a training run and the speed they maintained led me to believe that they were very high class runners.  I couldn't help thinking Olympics because of the pace.  I continued on almost a mile to the end of the trail and when they approached their pace was still very strong.  To top things off, they were chatting away like they were sitting in a coffee shop.   When I ran, I would lose the ability to speak as a pace well below the one they were maintaining.  I have read studies that say the pace of the top athletes in all sports has doubled over the past eight years.  It's obvious when I watch soccer and hockey and I'm sure it's the same in all the other actions sports like tennis, basketball and Olympic events.

Runners zipping along the trail

Some rail to trail paths require a little imagination trying to visualize the era when the trains ran.  The Blackstone rail trail has maintained it's rail and looks like it's still in use or about to be used again.  Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts are in the middle of a big push to restore rail service to Boston from those towns.  One of the concerns locating bike trails next to rail service is safety.  Being too close has been a concern and a reason not to build bike trails adjacent to rails, but Blackstone seems to have solved that problem.  How?  By putting up a fence.  It's inexpensive and it works.

Fence separates rail from trail

Bike path crosses active rail

Highway looks like a Roman Aqueduct 

 A few more photos of this really nice 10 mile rail trail.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Washington Secondary Bike Path in Rhode Island.

As always, click any photo for big. 
Brewery Parkade, Cranston: From I-95 to Route 10. Heading north, take the Cranston Street/Niantic Avenue exit. Take a left at bottom of the exit onto Niantic Avenue. Turn left onto Cranston Street, then turn left onto Garfield Avenue and turn into the Brewery Parkade development. There is a parking area behind the Lowe's home improvement store. 
Heading south on Route 10, take the Cranston Street exit. Take a left onto Garfield Ave. and continue to the Lowe's plaza.

All the photos are HERE

The GPS route is HERE

Distance: 28.45 mi

Time: 3:10:22
Moving Time: 2:46:22
Elapsed Time: 3:10:22
Avg Speed: 9.0 mph
Avg Moving Speed: 10.3 mph
Max Speed: 15.9 mph

The Washington Secondary Bike Path actually comprises four trails along an old Hartford, Providence, & Fishkill Railroad corridor. Together, the Cranston Bike Path, Warwick Bike Path, West Warwick Greenway and Coventry Greenway create 14.2 miles of paved trail.

It was a chilly start for this mid morning ride.  I found this route on a map given to me by the friends of the East Bay Bike Path last week.   It's around 30 miles round trip and it's a very interesting ride through some old mill towns of Rhode Island.  These mills were built of local stone and all of them have fast moving rivers with man made waterfalls which I suppose were used for power as well as a disposal system for the mill waste.  They were owned by men who immigrated from England for the most part which explains their resemblance to Castles of that country. 

The first person I met was a man riding who had both knees replace. He said he was limited to around 30 miles on his bike, two or three times a week.  He was a local and gave me some good info on the area.   Sadly I didn't get a photo but decided after that to ask those I spoke to if they would agree to have their pictures taken.  I met two woman who were a hoot, but made me wait to take their pictures till the were satisfied their hair was in place.

Next I met the Coventry town worker who was responsible for keeping the path maintained.  He was just finishing up clearing the leaves and as you can see in the two photos, one would be hard pressed to find a leaf on his bike path. 

I was told by the locals that the path was being extended and would eventually make it's way to Connecticut.  Soon enough the closed sign appeared.  The path looked in good shape, there were no workers in sight, but there was a man and his dog up ahead walking the closed section.  He said it was probably OK to keep riding and confirmed that the best parts lay ahead.  Soon after I left them a town cop pulled up along side and I prepared to be chastised.  The officer was very friendly and asked if I had seen a suspicious character on the path.  I hadn't, and was relieved he made no mention of the path being closed.  Actually he warned me about some of the hazards of the construction up ahead and wished me a good ride.

Kada and her human friend Sebastian

This is a beautiful path in the fall which retains lots of the rail structures and some very beautiful views bursting with character, color and small town New England charm.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

East Bay Bike Path With Side Trips

As always click any photo for big. Click again for bigger

Veterans Memorial Parkway, East Providence ( 2 parking lots): From I-95 North and South: Take Route 195 East to Exit 4 (Riverside), continue on Veterans Parkway to the first bike path parking area approximately 1/4 mile on your right. Another parking area is located 1/4 mile south on your right. From 195 West: Take Exit 6 South Broadway. Take a left turn at the bottom of the exit onto South Broadway, and then continue straight on South Broadway for approximately 2 miles to Veterans Memorial Parkway. Turn right onto the Parkway, bike path parking areas will be approximately 1/4 mile and 1/2 mile intervals on your left.

Distance:29.51 mi
Moving Time:2:30:55
Elapsed Time:3:13:00
Avg Speed:9.2 mph
Avg Moving Speed:11.7 mph
Max Speed:19.8 mph

Click Here for GPS details

The East Bay Bike Path in Rhode Island is a 13.5 mile rail to trail conversion that is a nice flat ride.  What is unique about it is that the rider passes near some really old, quaint well kept New England towns and villages.  Today I got off the "beaten path" to ride through some of these places.   Bristol, Warren and Barrington R.I. have some typical waterfronts that have been spared the hotel and condo developments.  They are all pretty much single family areas and probably will remain that way forever.  No one want to give up the beauty of the place that would be lost if developers ever got their dirty little hands on these places.

There is a group of riders who do this path every Saturday morning.  They are members of the Narragansett Bay Wheelmen and call this the Cafe Ride.  I ran into them at the bagel shop in Bristol R.I. 
 The Wheelmen

Bristol R.I. center

I did notice that the leaves were not only still on the trees but in some places they had just begun to turn.  Most places in the area have trees nearly bare of their foliage but for some reason we have green. 

When I left the house this morning I was torn between this ride and a longer one on Cape Cod.  Things worked out well today and there is a high probability of riding the Cape tomorrow. Sunday November 3rd.