As always, click any photo for big.
26 miles round trip.
The ride along the East Bay Bike Path in Providence R.I. began with the excitement of the first nice riding day in a long time. I began with the intention of getting a good workout on this ride. That didn’t last long at all because when I reached the bottom of the hill that brings the bike path to the bay, the sights grabbed me. There were only a couple of us on the path this early in the morning. One woman was photographing swans as a lone jogger passed. I stopped to take a couple of shots of the marshland and also the working waterfront of the East Bay where very big freighters were being offloaded. The far side freighter was carrying coal while near me was an oil ship riding very high, almost empty.
After the brief stop for the photo ops it was time to hammer. I was quickly gaining ground on a guy riding a cruiser bike. I could see he was working hard, but his upright position, fat tires and his spare tire were no match for my carbon fiber bike. Any other day I would have given an “on yer left” and zipped by with nary a glance. Today however I decided to pull along side and see if I could strike up a conversation. He was receptive and we rode together for a couple of miles just talking about biking. He eventually left the path for his nearby home and I again got into the go fast mode. I had to slow a couple of times for couples walking as well as dog walkers. During one of these slowdowns I began to hear the sounds of nature. A variety of birds seemed to be calling to me. The caw of a crow, the Microsoft windows call of the red winged black bird, chickadees, robins and even the call of a lonely goose meandering in a pond. I couldn’t help but wonder if it was calling for a lost mate.
I continued riding at the slower comfort pace honing in on the surroundings and things seemed to be talking to me. As I got near trees, birds began singing as if to greet me. “Welcome traveler” was what I was imagining them saying. The sounds changed as I got into the center of Warren R.I. I heard the familiar sound of a mail truck on the road adjacent to the bike path. I focused on the sound of the red diesel pickup truck in front of the fire stations just as the low hum of tires on tar entered the scene. As I rode on those mechanical noises gave way to the quiet and the birds again began to sing to me. I didn’t want to try to have to remember all these feelings and write them down in a few hours so I pulled over and put everything in the journal I always carry.
As I was writing I heard “hello John” and turned to see the Cafe Tour riders pass by. This group meets every Saturday at the head of the East Bay Path in Providence and ride to the Bristol Bagel Shop for breakfast. This day, one had a slight problem with his bike and they stopped at a shop on the path long enough for me to catch up and ride the remaining few miles to breakfast. The melancholy I had was gone and I was now in the people mode yacking away with different riders of that group till it was time to eat. I have to say that once everyone got their food the conversations ceased and the riders savored and appreciated the great food that was one of the reasons for the bike ride. After all, It would be a shame to ride 16 miles to get a great cup of coffee and a delicious fresh bagel and not remember them because we were too busy talking.
I left them at the the bagel shop and made the return ride to Providence at the pace I had originally intended to do the whole ride. I do have to say however that I don’t remember much about that part but I do remember every minute of the time I was paying attention to nature and talking with the Cafe riders. And that was a much better experience.
A few more East Bay Bike Path photos