Thank you.

Saturday, October 9 was a really great day to go #OutRiding. This was an idea that John Marion came up with a few month ago and led the charge on organizing. We had a great team of Matt Netto, Liza Burkin and James Baumgartner putting it together. The weather was perfect for riding, the turnout was incredible with 35 people joining us for riding and running, as Cumberland’s Ravenous Runners joined in and ran on the bike path. We were also joined by Nancy Welsh (Erika’s sister), Don Welsh (Erika’s brother-in-law) and Violet Welsh (our niece). We got some photos along the way as well, including a group photo around Erika’s bicycle here:

Group of people riding and running

I also tried to tell a joke that Erika came up with one time while we were riding. I think she pointed to a turtle on a log in the river and said that turtles must like computers because they’re “logged on” and then she would laugh at her own joke, quite proud of herself, which then made me laugh. When she’d come home after each ride, I’d ask her “How many were logged on?” because she would always keep a count. She loved seeing turtles. One rider today, Tony Adams spotted a turtle that was “logged on” and shared the photo with me.

The Blackstone River Bikeway is really nice and scenic, especially in October. The waterfalls were also a favorite spot, so I stopped along the way to take a photo like Erika often did, when she would post “#OutRiding”.

We were also joined remotely in Boulder, Colorado by Jeff Cramer. Jeff is the Executive Director at Coalition for Community Solar Access, and was Erika’s employer. The whole team at CCSA was also devastated to lose Erika. Jeff sent along this photo of his own #OutRiding.

Thank you so much to everyone who participated today, it was really incredible to see that support from all of you. Thank you

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Among the many things that Erika loved, an important one was riding her bicycle. Once the weather warmed, she could be seen riding around Rhode Island, on streets and bike paths, posting photos of herself and her bicycle with the simple and succinct catchphrase “Out Riding.”

On Saturday, October 9, 2021, we’ll hold a ride to honor Erika. The ride will start at 9:00 am from the Stop & Shop parking lot at 70 Mendon Rd in Cumberland, RI (See image below). We’ll ride to the end of the Bikeway at the River’s Edge parking area in Woonsocket, about 9.25 miles away, and back to the starting location in Cumberland. But of course you can turn around at any point of the ride, going whatever distance is comfortable for you.

The full route can be found here: https://www.mapmyrun.com/routes/view/4645842535

Let’s meet in the northern, back corner (to the right when looking at the store – see image below).

  • 8:45 am – Info and Announcements
  • 8:55 am – Group Photo with Erika’s Bike
  • 9:00 am – Ride for Woonsocket (and back)

We’ll mark turns, but there are two in each direction that are a concern:

  • Mile 0.8 – Sharp turn to the right
  • Mile 3.2 – Turn right, over the river, then a left to stay on the path (under the highway overpass)
  • Mile 15.3 – Turn right, over the river, then a left to stay on the path (at Kelly House Museum)
  • Mile 17.7 – Sharp turn to the left, over the river

There are two spots that cross an open road. There are stop signs at those spots, so be aware of traffic and cross the road safely. The DOT put orange spray paint on some of the cracks and bumps in the bike path, but there are still some unmarked scary ones.

It’s a wonderful ride along the Blackstone River, with multiple photogenic stops. We recommend stopping along the way for photos at either or both of the waterfall areas and to admire turtles. You might even see a deer!

This is not timed and is not a race. Safety is of the top priority. Other people will be riding their bike on the path and people will be walking, jogging or have their dog on a leash on the path. There are places with wet leaves/acorns and a wooden bridge that can make the path slippery. There are some places where tree roots have made the path very bumpy and can be dangerous if the rider is going too fast. Please be careful.

This ride is free and open to everyone. No registration or sign up required, please just show up. If you’d like to donate to Erika’s scholarship fund, we’d be grateful for any donations.

Rain date is Sunday, October 10th. Check this page or Patrick’s Twitter account for rain or ride info.

Meet here:

Organizing Committee:

  • John Marion – Executive Director of Common Cause Rhode Island and finisher of many distance cycling rides
  • Liza Burkin – Organizer with the Providence Streets Coalition, working on safer street cycling conditions
  • Matthew Netto – Associate State Director Advocacy/Outreach – AARP-RI and former Tour de Cure Ride Director
  • James Baumgartner – RI Public Radio Journalist and Cycling Advocate
  • Patrick Laverty – Chair of the Erika Niedowski Memorial Scholarship organization

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