Slow Biking

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The "Slow Biking" concept is about riding whatever bike you have, in whatever clothing you have, and doing whatever you want or need to do, when you want to do it - making the bike a normal part of your everyday life. It is not necessary to "gear up" to ride. It is typically associated with the way bicycles are incorporated into daily life, as in European cities. Indeed, Slow Biking is an ideal way to explore new areas of a city a person lives in, or to explore new and unfamiliar cities. Pittsburgh is exceptionally well suited for Slow Biking, with it's compact downtown, interesting nearby neighborhoods in the hills and valleys, and continually developing system of cycle infrastructure. Slow Bicyclists should not be deterred by the topography, since the PAT Transit buses, light rail system, and inclines incorporate racks and facilities to allow riders to avoid the worst uphills, cover major distances, and enjoy only the downhills if they desire.

Practitioners of Slow Biking may prefer bikes with a more upright seating position, for comfort. The bikes may have baskets or racks and panniers for carrying bags or items purchased during the day. Basic lighting is normally provided, since, in principle, a Slow Biker may find themselves out after dark. The bikes normally have bells for alerting pedestrians on mixed use routes or trails. Practitioners may decorate their bicycles with stickers, plastic flowers, ad hoc paint, or other personalizing features, or they may let the bike devolve into weathered but functional decrepitude. The only key consideration for the bike itself is that it be sturdy and reliable, and low maintenance, so it is functional and transparent to the experience.

A Slow Bike ride may be 1/4 mile or 1,000 miles, the distance, speed, even the bike itself, is irrelevant. The defining principle is that the journey is everything. Stopping for snacks and beverages, looking at interesting geographical features, buildings, historical sites, sunrises, sunsets, shooting photographs, getting groceries, watching street performers, and talking to strangers are all aspects of a successful Slow Bike ride. Slow Biking can be social or completely individual.

Slow Biking resists categorization and may or may not consist of any of the aspects mentioned above.

From the Facebook page "The Slow Bicycle Movement";

"Founded by Michael Colville Anderson of Copenhagen Cycle Chic fame.

We figure the Slow Bicycle Movement is all about the journey, not the destination. The destination is, invariably, a fixed geographical point which isn't going anywhere... [okay, sure, the tectonic plates are in constant movement but they are thankfully even slower than us]... so you're going to get there eventually, anyway.

It's about riding your bicycle. To work, to play. Casually, in a relaxed manner. With time to enjoy the self-propelled movement that you and you alone generate. And, of course, to look around and see the landscape - urban or not - that you pass by at your leisurely pace.

It's time to take cycling back and place it firmly in the category "normal way to get to work, to the shops, to the cinema". Indeed, "normal things to do". This is for those who enjoy the ride. There are a kabillion websites/forums/blogs out there for those who enjoying riding fast/competitively/in lycra and gear/what have you. THIS is OUR place.

The Slow Bicycle Movement is a celebration of the bicycle. Not as a speed machine or a tool for tribal membership but merely as an enjoyable way to get around.

Only decades ago the bicycle was considered a normal way to get around. It still is in Denmark, Holland, Japan and many European cities but returning the bicycle to its rightful place as a feasible transport option in the rest of the world is a noble goal.

Of all the cyclists on the planet, the vast majority are, per definition, slow cyclists. So that's a great start."