There are times when I think Google Maps is just trolling me. Why else would the gods of Mountain View, California decide that my route from the Roslindale section of Boston to my hotel in West Greenwich, Rhode Island would take me on a circuitous route through the most decayed, industrial section of Providence, Rhode Island only to deposit me at a crossroads where Franklin Roosevelt is eclipsed by Robert Taft, author of the most anti-working class piece of legislation in American history?
But Google Maps had a plan, and it was a good one. The gods of Mountain View, California sent me down all nineteen miles of the Washington Secondary Trail, a paved bike, pedestrian, and horse path that starts in Providence, and takes you all the way to rural, southwestern Rhode Island without having to dodge a single pothole or SUV
The Washington Secondary Trail isn’t perfect. Roots of trees growing under the concrete can make for a bumpy ride. There are at least ten dog walkers for every cyclist so you often have to take it slow. But by God that was the most stress free twenty miles I’ve ever ridden.
Note: New England anti-cyclist road rage is much more colorful than New Jersey anti-cycling road rage. New Jersey drivers tend to just point their fingers and say “sidewalk.” New England drivers like to spice up their unwanted commands with profanity. “Get on the sidewalk you fucking idiot.” Perhaps that’s why the state of Rhode Island so generously developed nineteen miles of an abandoned railroad to serve as a habitat for cyclists. The drivers at the occasional cross street are always very polite. The stop and waive you across, as if they’re grateful just to have you off the road.