IF your image of cyclists is all lycra, helmets and wrap round shades then think again as a new movement known as ‘Slow Cycling’ is gaining momentum in the UK. Inspired by ideas like ‘slow food’, Slow Cycling celebrates the simple convenience of cycling as a means of getting around at a leisurely pace. The undoubted success of Britain’s sport’s cyclists has unfortunately tended to associate cycling in this country with special clothes and sweaty, tiring workouts. However proponents of Slow Cycling like to emphasise the ordinariness of their cycling. The undoubted capitals of slow cycling are Amsterdam and Copenhagen where you are more likely to see a suited businessman or mother and child cycling than a lycra-clad racer.
How slow is slow?
Fans of slow cycling are keen to point out that ‘slowness’ is all relative. A typical two mile journey takes 40 minutes on foot and 12 minutes to cycle slowly. Taking the car may halve this time ... providing there is no congestion and you can easily park – so in reality cycling often ends up being the quickest option. Fast cycling may save a further 4 minutes but is this saving really worth arriving hot and sweaty? However, fitness fans should not dismiss Slow Cycling because your heart rate will still be above that of a brisk walk and any form of cycling is certainly much better for your health than sitting in a car.
Next week (13-21 June) is Bike Week, the national celebration of cycling and a perfect opportunity to do some slow cycling. Cyclesolihull Co-ordinator Stephen Holt said “Cyclesolihull rides try and emphasise the fun of cycling rather than the speed. In Bike Week we hope some new people will join one of our three rides as a gentle introduction to cycling locally.
Cyclesolihull’s Bike Week Rides
Sunday 14 June. A 5 mile ‘Taster’ Ride from Dorridge Park (Arden Road car park) at 2 pm.
Wednesday 17 June. A 9 mile family Evening Explorer ride from Malvern Park car park at 7 pm.
Sunday 21 June. An 18 mile Sunday Cycle Ride from Dickens Heath library at 2 pm.
Further details are available at www.bikeweek.org.uk and www.cyclesolihull.org.uk.