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.


  1. Nice pictures I absolutely love this trail and kudos to RI for providing this wonderful resource.

  2. I have just found your blog and am loving it. I am just starting to plan a trip next year to New England. I am a full time RVer and plan to stay 4- 5 months. Riding rail trails is one of my favorite things to do!!