Slow Rides

“The only thing for certain is that everything changes. The rate of change increases. If you want to hang on you better speed up. That is the message of today. It could however be useful to remind everyone that our basic needs never change. The need to be seen and appreciated! The need to belong. The need for nearness and care, and for a little love! This is given only through slowness in human relations. In order to master changes, we have to recover slowness, reflection and togetherness. There we will find real renewal.” ~Guttorm Flí¸istad

The Slow Food movement, and other associated Slow initiatives, aim to combat “time poverty”, and other ills brought on by our increasingly hectic “fast food” culture, by promoting simpler, slower-paced, self-sustaining lifestyle alternatives. We’re not participating members of any Slow organization, but we’re all for the ideas of slowing down, keeping it simple, and taking time to smell the roses.

One way we do this is with what we call a Slow Ride. A Slow Ride is much like any other bike ride, but with its priorities on straight. On a Slow Ride, we set a purposely slower than normal pace, possibly stop to shoot some photos and/or observe the local flora and fauna, work in an errand if need be, and maybe even take the time to enjoy a picnic (gasp!). A Slow Ride is directed more by the pace and enjoyment of the associated activities and less by the concerns of Serious Cycling. Taking a Slow Ride doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll negate getting a workout, it’s just that the focus is more on the overall experience and less on performance. As a matter of fact, often times when we take a Slow Ride we’ll end up out-and-about and on the bike much longer than if we set out to cover a specific distance and “log some miles”. A Slow Ride is considered successful if we catch a glimpse of a wild animal, or the angle of the light is just right to capture a particularly beautiful photo. The success of a Slow Ride is not predicated upon besting our elapsed time over a measured route or passing a roadie in team kit.

We find these Slow Rides to be wonderfully calming and restorative; they very effectively peel away the layers of stress accumulated over the work week. So if you’re feeling a little over burdened, you might try slowing down a little and taking a Slow Ride with a good friend; you might be surprised at what a change of pace can do for you.

4 Responses to “Slow Rides”

  • Skymax says:

    I think it’s very important for ppl to get a psychological break by experiencing some slowness as the benefits are so great.
    Many of us have forgotten who we, and our friends, are due to constantly having to deal with a 21st century World while still equipped with the Mark 1 entry-level consciousness.

  • Gonçalo Pais says:

    For sure….that’s what i most appreciate in my country’s culture, and that’s what’s beeing more attacked. Here in Portugal, people are increasingly spreading from our cultural ways of doing things and think that is progress!!
    Cycling was normal, and in some areas the best transportation, sleeping after lunch (sesta) was a must, lunching or dinning were sacred, as we spent time cooking, eating with friends and relatives. Preserving this lifestyle is progress.
    Thanks for your blog.
    Gonçalo Pais

  • andy parmentier says:

    slow..dancing. i’m not much of a dancer, but i DO like to dance on my unicycle, that wonderful vehicle for actually ENJOYING stiff headwinds and wind in general. i like how all these elements converge-slowness, dancing, unicycle, wind. a bicycle catches a lot of wind, but on one wheel it’s very welcome for me because i’m not going fast anyway and i’m balancing and the wind makes the balancing more interesting-i’m dancing with the wind. “everyone knows it’s windy..”
    i was in windy homer alaska summer 07 hitchbiking to work on my one wheeler, with a walkman in my pocket playing john coltrane.

  • Cullen says:

    Thanks for this entry. I never really thought about the high speed in which we live our modern lives. I’m definitely going to examine the “slow movement” out in greater detail.

    Appleton, WI

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