Now that the cool fall air is making itself at home, it might be time to try your first bike commute. The cooler weather means a better chance of getting away with not needing a shower - and a better chance of not getting the coworker “you smell like feet and onions” quarantine.
Bike Providence (Providence Bicycle Coalition) offers a great 8 page starter guide to bike commuting - including tips, guides and resources. Chances are you’ve probably already thought about the benefits of biking vs. driving:
- Traffic and parking
- Financial savings ($3000 per year per car, $50 per year bike)
- Personal health/wellness
- A cleaner environment
- Ringing that bell thingy
- And most importantly, fun
Cranston enjoys a central location in the state. It’s within minutes of Providence and Warwick, and there are a few bike-friendly corridors for a safe commute. Use RIDOT’s Bike Rhode Island maps to plan your routes in advance. Some experimentation will be needed in order to find the roadways and paths you feel most comfortable on. Try to make use of bike-ready roads, many of which are identified on the Bike RI maps. A list of routes in order of preference might go something like this:
- Bike Path (example: Washington Secondary Bike Path)
- Dedicated Bike Lane (example: Allens Avenue)
- Roads With Wide Shoulders (example: Scituate Avenue)
- Other roads you feel comfortable using
Adding a few miles to your commute in order to make a route better isn’t unusual, and will end up making the ride more enjoyable. For some west bay route tips from other bike commuters, check out these comments.
As a safety net, it’s good to know that RIPTA offers a bike rack on the front of all their buses. So for those times when a leg of a commute can’t be made (bad weather, after-work blow-out, sheer exhaustion), RIPTA provides a way to get your bike to your destination.
If the commuting thing sticks, contact local bike groups to see how they deal with biking in other seasons and conditions. For safety, maintenance, and comfort tips, and general information about biking in the Providence metro area, keep up with Bike Providence.