Rhode Island hosts a growing network for cyclists, including separated bike paths, marked bicycle lanes and "bike friendly" roads. Cyclists will find the most challenging conditions in urban core areas, where narrow and often pot-holed roads and aggressive motorists can make for a difficult ride.
In general, state and municipal support for cycling has improved the atmosphere for cyclists, but an auto-centric culture, aggressive motorists, narrow and sometimes poorly-maintained road and short but steep hills can intimidate the novice.
Rhode Island offers many excellent on- and off-road opportunities for the recreational cyclist, but the best recreational cycling can be found in Bristol County in nearby Mass. Bristol County is renowned for its admirably flat country roads that traverse an immensely picturesque landscape of farms and forests as well as the beaches of Buzzards Bay.
The three major bicycle paths are:
- East Bay Bike Path - connects East Providence with Bristol; includes many road crossings; services available in East P, Barrington, Warren and Bristol
- Blackstone Valley Bike Path - connects Lincoln with Woonsocket; very few road crossings; scenic route along the Blackstone River and canal (southern section); services only at northern and southern ends; ongoing construction will connect the path to a planned continuation in nearby Mass
- Washington Secondary Bike Path - connects Cranston, just below the Providence city line, with Cumberland, continuing into the Cumberland State Forest; few road crossings, although the ones at Park Avenue, Cranston and Toll Gate Road / Providence Street, Warwick are difficult; ongoing construction will extend the path to the CT state line
Other bike paths include:
- Ten Mile River Bike Path - a short path along the Ten Mile River on the eastern side of Pawtucket
Marked bicycle lanes include:
- Blackstone Boulevard, Providence - approximately 2 miles from Hope Street to Elton Street along the divided road that contains a linear park with a jogging path
- Broadway, Providence - approximately 1 mile from Olneyville to Downcity
- Allens Avenue, Providence - from just below Point Street, continuing on Narragansett Boulevard in Cranston; traverses a primarily industrial area; watch for debris and cars parked in the bike lane; many near-parallel rail crossings north-bound
Bicycle-friendly road (marked with signs and/or "sharrows") include:
- Hope Street, Providence - from Benefit street to the city line at Pawtucket; some portions are narrow and difficult
- Pleasant Street / Roosevelt Boulevard, Pawtucket - connects Blackstone Blvd lanes with Blackstone Valley Bike Path; well-marked and mostly pleasant
- High Street, Central Falls - continuation of Roosevelt Blvd route; includes two railroad underpass sections; northern most section is exceptionally rough but has few autos
- Canal Street, Providence - southern-most section of North Main Street route, south-bound only (one-way); most cyclists use Randall Street both north- and south-bound to avoid the hill from Charles Street to Olney Street
Common routes not supported by RI DOT include:
- North Main Street, Providence - the most popular route between Providence and Pawtucket; not marked and drivers can be aggressive; extends to Pawtucket Avenue or Main Street Pawtucket