Learning to Ride a Bike During Quarantine

Writer Emily Homonoff finally learns how to ride a bike as an adult, and discovers Rhode Island's beautiful bike paths along the way.
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Emily Homonoff on a bike ride to the Pt. Judith Lighthouse.

I’m twenty-nine and I learned how to ride a bike during quarantine. Hold your laughter for a hot minute. I don’t know if it had anything to do with growing up on the East Side of Providence, where a lot of my friends never learned how to ride a bike either, or that it just wasn’t my thing, but it simply never happened. At times, I would feel guilty (living in Western Massachusetts where bikes are more common than cars) or embarrassed (getting heckled by an older gentleman at the Rhode Island Spirits tasting room) so come this past April, when I was craving physical activity and maybe going a little stir crazy, I hopped on and never looked back. Here are a few of my favorite paths that are rideable whether you’re new to the bike, coming back from a bike sabbatical or a seasoned rider:

South County Bike Path: This one will always be near and dear to me because it’s where I learned how to ride a bike. Spanning 6.8 miles, the path stretches from Kingston Station and the URI Campus (there’s a split!) to the heart of Narragansett. With a handful of scenic stops and its lush greenery, this is the perfect ride for the nature-driven. Enjoy contactless coffee at TLC Coffee Roasters (3362 Kingstown Rd., West Kingston) or perhaps a bite from Calavera’s (83 Narragansett Ave, Narragansett).

Lincoln Woods: Though primarily known for its mountain biking trails and bouldering, Lincoln Woods is a great opportunity for a scenic bike ride. There are some healthy hills so be prepared for a ride that will challenge and delight. Since you’ll most likely be driving and parking, take the opportunity to grab takeout from Cafe Colombia Bakery (235 Broad St., Cumberland) or pack a picnic and enjoy the post-ride views at Quinsicket Pond. And no trip during the season is complete without a stop at the Instagram-worthy Lincoln Creamery (276 Front St. #1, Lincoln), just make sure to take your picture fast!

Ocean Drive: You do not want to miss this ride! Was I emphatic enough? If you start at Bailey’s Beach and ride straight through, you’ll experience just over four miles of stunning coastline that’s biker-friendly. Scenic stops might include a necessary cup of Del’s at Brenton Point State Park (Ocean Drive, Newport) or ogling any of the jaw-dropping homes on this magnificent stretch. If you’re up for the occasion, this ride will put you out at the welcoming arms of Castle Hill Inn (590 Ocean Dr., Newport). 

East Bay Bike Path: We are so fortunate to live in a state that values outdoor activity and that has given us the infrastructure to do so. With just over fourteen miles of paved rail trail, the East Bay Bike Path is a shining example. Whether you begin your ride in Providence or Bristol, you’ll enjoy endless views of the Providence River with many fun stops along the way. This path is bookended by India Point Park (201 India St., Providence) and Colt State Park (Route 114, Bristol), so lucky you! If you’re feeling peckish, hop off in Warren and pick up takeout at the Square Peg (51 Miller St., Warren) or if it’s a buzz that you desire, the Coffee Exchange (207 Wickenden St., Providence) or Empire Tea and Coffee (251 Thames St., Bristol) are perfect spots. 

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