Photo: the new path along the Henderson bridge is open
Tearing your hair out in traffic and ready to try something different? PVD Streets is here for you!
There are so many reasons why we need more choices for getting around Rhode Island. The Washington Bridge fiasco has shown us that our transportation system is far too fragile – in addition to stronger supports for bridges, we also need stronger choices for getting around so the whole system doesn’t collapse when one piece breaks. A real economy thrives on transportation choices – and that means driving, trains, buses, bikes, ferries, scooters, wheelchairs, strollers and of course – our own two feet.
We know that many people will always have to drive to get around. But for those who might be able to try a different way, this guide is for you.
Inside, you will find:
- Videos on how to ride RIPTA, how to put your bike on a RIPTA bus, and the routes that serve the East Bay
- A map of parking lots along the East Bay Bike Path so you can drive partway and ride the rest
- How to navigate safely and find the best biking/scooting/rolling routes
- Gear list for winter biking – lights, bar mitts, rain pants, etc
Do you need individualized support – a bike buddy? A child seat for your bike? A customized route? Email us at email@example.com and we will do our best to help you.
1. Riding RIPTA
RIPTA has the following helpful resources for first-time bus riders:
- RIPTA How to Ride Guide
- RIPTA ADA Paratransit User Guide
- Video: Pointers for Riding RIPTA
- Video: How to put your bike on the bus (this is from Colorado but RIPTA uses these exact same bike racks)
The bus routes that go over the Washington Bridge are:
The bus routes that go over the Henderson Bridge are:
The Governor and RIDOT have also announced that a ferry from Colt State Park to India Point Park will be starting on Monday, December 18th with free shuttles to and from downtown Bristol and downtown Providence (Kennedy Plaza) running every 30 minutes.
2. Parking along the East Bay Bike Path
Maybe it makes sense for you to drive partway and ride or walk the rest! That’s great. Here’s a list of lots along or near the path, going as far south as Kettle Point:
- India Point Parking Lot
- John H. Lewis Waterfront Park
- EBBP Lot #1 on Veteran’s Memorial Parkway
- EBBP Lot #2 on Veteran’s Memorial Parkway
- EBBP Lot #3 on on Kettle Point
3. Bike/Scooter Navigation and finding the best routes:
When you’re going to/from the East Bay path or between other destinations, we strongly recommend using the Pointz navigation app to find the best route for you to your destination. Google bike directions works well too, but it will only gives you the fastest option, Pointz allows you to customize your route and choose the safest (best bike infrastructure, lowest speed roads) or the fastest/most direct, or a balance of both.
For the safest navigation experience where you’re relying on turn-by-turn directions, do one of the following:
- Buy a phone mount for your bike (see gear guide below)
- Listen to the turn-by-turn directions with ONE earbud
- Listen to the turn-by-turn directions via a small bluetooth speaker attached to your bike or backpack
Example: Google Bike Directions
Example: Pointz Directions, fastest option, balanced option, safest option:
4. Winter Biking Gear Guide
Biking during the winter months – sometimes called “Viking Biking” – is absolutely possible! If you already have a bike that needs some maintenance or repair, the PVD Bike Collective is holding special shop hours for low-cost DIY/DIT (do-it-together) maintenance, and we recommend Dash Bicycle in Providence or Trek Bicycle in East Providence. If you are thinking about buying a new e-bike, the State of RI is still offering $350-750 rebates for all local e-bike purchases.
Tyson Bottenus bikes 6-8 hours a day, all year round for PSC partner Harvest Cycle. Follow his tips to keep your fingies and toes warm along with the rest of your body. He also asked one of our favorite local bike shops, Dash Bicycle on Broadway, for some of their recommendations. You absolutely don’t need everything here for a successful commute, but this is a comprehensive list of ideas. Just don’t overbundle – you need to leave space for your body to warm up while riding. We’ve tried, where possible, to give options at different price points for each item. More affordable options for warm apparel can typically be found at Ocean State Job Lot, Savers, and army/navy stores. Used bike accessories may be available at our community bike shops PVD Bike Collective and Recycle-a-Bike, as well as Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist.
Bar Mitts: Our favorite winter hack is bar mitts (sometimes known as “lobster gloves”) to go on your handlebars. You’ll never need to worry about where your gloves are because they’ll always be on your bike. There are different size options for flat bar, drop bar, and other kinds of handlebars. Price: $56.99 from RockBros of $74.95 from Bar Mitts.
Touchscreen Gloves: These lightweight glove liners allow you to tap out a message on your phone or futz with your navigation while keeping your fingers somewhat warm. Combine with a pair of Bar Mitts for the ultimate in warmth and function. Price: $10.99 from Achiou.
Fenders prevent your bum and back from getting wet when there’s water on the ground.
Ass Savers: Minimalist protection (see left) that does what it advertises. Keeps the rain off your butt. Price: $10.99 from Ass Savers.
SKS Fenders: Traditional fenders that come in black or silver. Also come in a variety of sizes for different wheels. Price: $35 each from Dash. Note: full fenders can be tricky to install, we recommend having it done at your local bike shop.
Lumina 650: A USB-rechargeable front light with 650 lumens and rear light that will burn bright for two hours or will flash for twelve and a half hours.
Nite Rider Swift 500: This 500 lumen front light will burn bright for one hour 40 minutes or flash for twelve and a half hours.
Vmax 150: A very visible USB-rechargeable rear light that will burn continuously bright for four and a half hours or fast flash for 11 and a half hours.
All of these lights are available at Dash.
RACKS AND PANNIERS
MSW Pork Chop Back Rack: Simple back rack that includes a rear light bracket. Price: $40 from Dash.
Banjo Bros Waterproof pannier: Grab a pair of these to put your lunch and all your things in to keep everything off your back while you ride. Price: $65 from Dash.
FACE & HEAD
Quilted Flap Cap from Ape N Bird. Handmade in Providence, these five panel caps come with a pencil holder and functional ear flaps. Plus, they don’t have a “squatchee” (the button on the top of most hats) so you can wear a helmet comfortably on top. Price: $80 from Ape n Bird.
Cycling Cap. A cycling cap from 45NRTH is a minimalist way to keep your ears warm that you won’t notice under your helmet. Price: $45 from Dash.
Balaclava from POC. This merino/acrylic balaclava is soft, warm, and has a front mask made from a very thin windproof material with holes backed by mesh for breathing. Price: from POC.
Smartwool Mountaineer Classic Maximum Cushion Sock. All you need to know is the name: this sock is a classic. Boots are for warmth, socks are for wicking sweat. Invest in a good pair of socks and you won’t have to wash them every day and your feet won’t feel frozen solid. Price: $26.99 from Smartwool.
Shoes. You don’t need special shoes for winter biking – just the warmest ones you’ve got. Hiking/winter boots and Blundstones work great. With the right socks, a solid sneaker can work too.
PHONE MOUNT FOR NAVIGATION
Rokform Phone Mount. Built from lightweight aircraft-grade aluminum, a Rokform case swivels into the mount. Mount options on This dual retention system, swiveling case and magnet, is the most sturdy phone mount on the market. Note that you must also buy a special case for this mount. Price: $69.99 for Mount and $69.99 for Case (iPhone, Galaxy, Google) from Rokform.
Quad Lock Phone Mount. Polycarbonate shell protects your phone and swivels into place on your handlebars. Mount and case price: $69.99 from Quad Lock.