I love Rhode Island. There I said it. It is like the red-headed step child of New England. Everyone raves about VT/ME/NH....Mountains, lakes, ocean...blah, blah, blah. But RI?! Love it. Yeah it is sort of grimy and dirty. I did 5 years at Art School during the Buddy C years. Boston had the Bulger brothers Providence had "Buddy" I was (and still am) a country mouse. Rarely got out of my little town until I dropped into Providence in the late '80s. There wasn't any river fire. Unless the river was actually on fire....Great city though. And again I rarely got out of that small little bubble. RISD did have a cycling team even back then though. And I think I rode my bike to RISD beach one time before my bike was stolen and I gave up bikes until moving out West. So suffice it to say lots has changed since my days loitering around College Hill.
My good friend Gewilli puts on a benefit ronde-style mixed terrain ride each year. I always miss it for some family commitment or another. But he always gives me the VIP tour of his route. Usually during the summer. It is a ride I look forward to every year. As I ease into my twilight years of cycling I really more and more just want to ride with friends. Racing? Meh. Never really was that into racing to be honest. Just don't have that edge to be competitive I guess. What always appealed to me about racing was seeing all the people. Most racers are like a reunion of sorts. But rides? That is what I live for. I met G at a bike path in Barrington. It is a bit south of Providence. The plan was to ride the route he had put together for this years RRRR. A teammate of his rolled up just as we were catching up. Did I mention the bike path? Holy crap. Every municipality should get down to Barrington and check this path out. It frankly has made me rethink everything I think I know about bike paths. So we roll out on these fabulous paths.
It certainly doesn't hurt that these paths go right by the ocean and were in great shape. Maybe paving paths is the way to go. They certainly are more fun to ride. Anyway. We are rolling at a chill pace. Dive into some alleys and some easements and drop down onto the beach. G and I joke about running for CX. Yeah that ship has sailed as they say! We get back up on the road and I hear a noise every cyclist is very familiar. The sound of a bike scraping across pavement is very unique. I turn around and see Gewilli's teamie on the ground in the fetal position in the middle of the road. Bike is under him. And car is pretty much on top of him but stopped thank god. I assume he got rear ended. What is that saying about assuming? Turns out he just hit the curb and then yardsailed. Thank god drivers in RI don't drive like Massholes or he would have been dead. Or at least under a car. The driver was very nice. Offered to transport him. He was fine thankfully. Some road rash but that is it. Gewilli and I rode him back to his car and bid him adieu. Gewilli and I are either the best people at triage or the worst. He kept asking if he should go to the ER. We were like were are the last people you should ask that!
The weather was a bit hot but not bad. The paths in some way reminded me of the Cape Cod Rail Trail but were way nicer. The transitions into towns was not the full crazed frogger action you get down the Cape. I saw the sign for Del's and asked G what it was. I asked him if it was "Italian Ice" Apparently as I learned that is a trigger for those from RI. We stopped in and I partook of that icy goodness. It is NOT an Italian Ice! But it is delicious.
We rolled from dirt sector to dirt sector. Made it to the RISD beach. Did a quick hot lap in there. Then rode to Roger Williams College. Shredded some cool trails. Stopped for a great iced coffee. Damn I could get used to this. We rode about 50 miles at a very gentlemanly pace. We talked mtbs and CX of course. But mostly just caught up and enjoyed the day of riding.
Gewilli is the best. Really one of my most rad friends. Super fun to ride with and loves bikes probably more than anyone I know. And loves coffee. Such a great day. Thanks Gewilli for the introduction to Del's and for such a great day on the bike!