Bicycles have been at home on the streets of Newport since they were first introduced in the 1860s. In fact, Newport hosted the first meeting of the League of American Wheelmen – now the League of American Bicyclists – in 1880. (Look for the large commemorative stone marker at the east end of Touro Park on Bellevue Avenue.)
Our island’s scenic routes remain year-round destinations for the most beautiful recreational rides – from Ocean Drive to the Middletown beaches and wildlife preserves to Burma Road.
But cycling Newport is often dangerous. Riders and motorists alike lack both knowledge and practice of the rules of road sharing. Cyclists ride the wrong way and motorists force riders too close to dangerous debris and unpredictable car doors. Summer traffic congestion, distracted tourists and poor road conditions exponentially increase the risks and decrease rider confidence – dragging down the ridership numbers from high potential to low actual.
In a state with some of the best bike paths in the entire country, Aquidneck Island doesn't have a dedicated bike path. The benefits of an island bike path are so promising that the concept is consistently recognized as nothing less than a “no-brainer” by our residents, visitors, city leaders, tourism experts, business owners, planners and even our congressional delegation. At a 2011 press conference on the Blackstone River Bikeway, Senator Reed asked “Why can’t I ride from here to Newport?” Anyone who’s ridden the Bristol Bike Path knows what we’re missing. We owe it to ourselves, our kids and our visitors to establish a place where we can ride safely and connect with the rest of the state’s bike path network. The time has come – the numerous low-cost high-return benefits of bicycling are front page news across the country. We’re a Bike Friendly Community waiting to happen!
The Good News: Bike Newport is a relatively new force working to improve, encourage and facilitate bicycling in our fair city. Hopefully you’ve bumped into us – we’re working on bike paths, routes, maps, parking and education. We work with the schools, city planners, community police, youth organizations, tourism experts and local businesses. We’ve raised funds and awareness, and established the Bike Garage for teaching bicycle skills and maintenance. Our committee includes 37 city representatives, and all are welcome at our monthly meetings (every 2nd Tuesday, 8am, at Empire Tea and Coffee, 22 Broadway – please join us!) In a short ten months we’ve demonstrated how much a dedicated and collaborative group can accomplish.
Our agenda of initiatives will help to integrate bicycling into our daily lives and our city culture. Our process is slow and deliberate – simultaneously respecting the limitations of our current economy and the promise of our objectives: Bicycling is a sustainable way to improve our health, quality of life, historic preservation and the visitor experience. We’re an all-volunteer unfunded initiative and we need your support.
On March 7, we’ll celebrate the first year of accomplishments and the promise of what lies ahead – at Bike Newport Night: from 6-9pm at Speak Easy, 250 Thames Street. $10 suggested donation, fab food, rad raffles, mad music by Castle - PLEASE JOIN US!
More raffle prizes welcome - email email@example.com and we'll come get it.
If you can’t make it, you can show your support by donating on the website: www.bikenewportri.org or mail your contribution to Bike Newport, PO Box 913, Newport, RI 02840. Thank you!
THANK YOU for your support and see you at Speak Easy on March 7!
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