Ok, finding the straight info about some trails is sometimes sketchy, dated, and contradictory. So I’ll try to give you the best up-to-date info for East Bay Trail-Summer 2011.
This is a beautiful, clean, well maintained path. It looks & feels like a mini auto road replete with center lines, road signs, tunnels, bridges, and is relatively flat & fully paved the entire route.
Bike Mounted Police & EMS volunteer personnel are often present on or near the path, personal safety is not a prime concern anywhere on the trail.
I recommend starting at Colt State Park in Bristol, RI. Plenty of free parking (& toilets) and the East Bay Trail runs right thru it (you can’t miss it). For the longer trail section (~11 mis.)and leaving from Colt Park, keep the salt water view on your left. If you go in the other direction (~3mis.) it only leads to lobster rolls, ice cream, and other yummy treats :). The longer section has bike rentals/repair & great food stops too including a large chain super market that lets us use their toilets [we usually buy some fruit/nuts & jerky there to hold us until we get lobster & a cold one at one the local eating establishments].
The scenery is beautiful and ranges from ocean views, wooded areas, over causeways with fisherman on either side, thru upscale neighborhoods, and small down towns, ending in urban Providence. It can get crowded in some spots on weekends; although, even on a crowded day, there are usually some long open straights on the trail where you can “step on it and see what she’s got” if you want to sprint for a while. The trail can easily accommodate any kind of bike from fat tire beach cruiser, to kids’ trikes, to the fancy multi-gear road bikes.
The East Bay Trail really is perfect for kids & families. It has plenty of amenities it is well worth our one hour trip we make from Connecticut to bike ride there.
I hope this review helps and encourages others to give similar clear, up-to-date, detailed info on their favorite trails.