Scoot Commute

Fun with Gravel

Posted in Daily Commute, Pleasure Ride, Suzuki DR-Z400SM (Elsa) by sbahn on 2010/04/20
New Rockland Cemetery

New Rockland Cemetery, Scituate RI

Today was a beautiful day so I plotted a ride home out to the reservoir and back. I rode out on Plainfield Pike (14) through Olneyville and irritating stop-and-go traffic and then into the ‘burbs. Broke free of traffic further out and enjoyed the perfect temperature, the partly cloudy sky, and the smell of spring growth.

I turned onto 14/102 and headed south toward Old Plainfield Pike. Along the drive I swung up a dirt road toward the New Rockland Cemetery. I headed up the left side and swung around all the beautiful old markers (note: “new” in New England means less than 200 years old) and looped around the back, passing a young guy out for a walk as I came down the hill on the right. This was my first time taking the DRZ on anything other than tarmac.

I went back out to Plainfield Pike and took a couple more side roads until finally making the left onto Old Plainfield Pike. I had a car behind me (of course), and I thought it’d be a relaxing little jaunt as it’s posted 25 mph. But no, hafta go much faster as the pavement is smooth, even though the fool lived on the street. Sheesh…enjoy the ride for a few minutes, dude. You’ll get home eventually and it’s the same ol’ shit, so take your time.

In an effort to get the car off my license plate, I signalled a left and was going to turn around to explore a road I had passed earlier. Ah, but to my surprise, as I turned onto my chosen road, it was all loose gravel and sand uphill. “Hmmm,” I pondered, “I wonder where this goes?”

Isthmus Road

Isthmus Road

Up the hill I ride and two beagles come tearing out the woods, yapping and barking and running after me. There are “posted” signs everywhere from Providence stating you can’t go off into the woods (this is the reservoir for our drinking water), but this is a public road as there was a house, or at least what I assumed was a house because where else did those beagles come from. The road is softish and has chunks of rocks and smaller gravel. I grew up in the Jersey Pine Barrens so I know sand. This is sand with big chunks of rocks in it. It appeared recently grated, which it probably was after the “200 year flood” we experienced in Rhode Island last month.

Down the hill, turn, stay in the track. I have no idea how to ride in this type of material. Do you brake? Do you engine brake? What if the rear tire starts to slide out? I’m all alone…how am I supposed to ride on this stuff? Oh who cares, this is fun!

I pass a sign that reads: Warning: Rifle Range.

Another beagle comes out of the woods.

Where are all these beagles coming from?! Big rock, watch out. Too late. Why did you stare at it, fool? Oh where to stop for a pic? How about at the top of this hill?

Eventually the road dumped me back onto Plainfield Pike and I took Route 12 back into Providence. It’s funny because the road goes from very little traffic to dumping you into Cranston and then onto Reservoir Ave where it’s two lanes in both directions, eventually leading to Elmwood Ave, which is an insane asylum without walls.

Made it home, switched into my new A* Stella Tech 6s to do some wearing around the house for break-in.


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  1. […] headed up to Burrillville but didn’t find any roads I fancied and eventually wound up back on Isthmus Road. I had brought a Flip camera from work and shoved it into my riding jacket. I was terrified to move […]

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