Believe it or not biking does not have to be a full-fledged cardio workout every time you go for a ride. In fact, a lot of countries seem to be on to something that many of us in the States have yet to fully embrace, the idea of a “slow ride.”
The thought behind the Slow Ride Movement is that cycling can be relaxing, and a mere trot to the typical American gallop. I am personally guilty of the latter. I can’t seem to slow down. Every day I bike to work like I am racing against every commuter on the bike path for first place in Tour de France. I arrive to work sweaty and tired, so when my manager put an article on my desk from Momentum Magazine’s May-June 2014 issue, titled “How to Bike to Work,” I was pretty skeptical that it could offer anything new for me. Yet, there it was. An idea I had heard many times, but had never really gave too much personal thought to… “moderate pace.” These two words sparked me to rethink my “Need For Speed” inspired biking habits.
Leisurely cycling is actually quite popular in other areas of the world. Places such as Copenhagen, Amsterdam, and Utrecht all have large communities who bike in this way that seems to shout “bicycle culture.” In the United States, where everyone seems to be in a rush, a change to a similar bicycle culture , or Slow Bike Movement, is just beginning to gain traction.
People who embrace the Slow Bike Movement may actually be even more bicycle-friendly than your sport centric cyclist. For many slow riders biking becomes less of a singular focus on physical activity and more of a way of life. Slow riders often favor the type of bike that allows them to sit up straight and comfortably. Added crates and cargo carriers are often additions to slow riders’ bikes to aid in shopping trips and slow commutes and in larger bike communities, like the ones mentioned above, safety becomes less of an issue as the majority mode of transportation switches to bikes. They usually do not bother with cycling sportswear and instead will wear whatever they have chosen to wear for the day, and with a slow pace it doesn’t make much of a difference, because sweating becomes a non-issue.
Images of New York cyclist from Preferred Mode immediately come to mind when I think about the possibility of a shift to the bicycle culture here in the United States. After all who wouldn’t want to be healthier, more environmentally-friendly, save money, and be photo ready when Sam Polcer and his camera come around?
The lesson I learned; I don’t have to be decked out in spandex or pushing a pace over 16mph hour every time I ride my bike. In fact, I think it is about time that I take out my old cruiser, throw on a spring dress, and go for a relaxing and leisurely ride around Lake Monona.
Get Out and Ride!
Read our follow up: A Preferred Mode: A Response to the “Slow Ride” Post!
For more information about Momentum Magazine visit their website at: http://momentummag.com/
To view Sam Polcer’s photos and new book, New York Bike Style visit his website Preferred Mode at: http://www.preferredmode.com/