The Joys Of Cycling: Going Slow

Written by Boston Biker on Apr 23

I have decided to write a series of articles on some of things I really like about cycling. I have no idea how many of these I might end up writing, but it might be a few, because I like a lot of things about cycling.

Going slow. Monday I did the Marathon Monday ride. What turned out to be about 70 miles in a little less than three hours…Tuesday I rode to work very slowly. I was sore yes, but also frankly I was sick of going fast.

On my slow ride I reawakened to the joys of dragging ass on a bike. Moving just fast enough to feel a little breeze on your cheek, and to keep the scenery flowing. I noticed that if you go slow enough, you can hit almost all the green lights. I noticed that cars seemed to pose much less of a problem at low speeds. I saw more birds, I noticed more pedestrians, I soaked up more sun.

Going slow might not be a revelation to many, but to me it was glorious. So often I fall victim to the “get from a to b as fast as possible” syndrome of modern travel. Purposefully slowing my pace did all sorts of good to bust me out of that “faster faster faster” frame of mind. I found that I didn’t really care what other people did, I was enjoying the ride.

The speed of my travel was such that I could actually day dream a little. Normally I am laser focused on plying the streets at top speed. When I slowed way down I noticed I had extra CPU cycles left over for other thoughts. I actually had a couple ideas that I wrote down as soon as I got home. While this might have been a smidgen dangerous, I wasn’t so out of it that I stopped looking for moving vehicles and road signs/lights.

Next time you find yourself on a nice sunny day, SLOW DOWN. Let the world rush by. Take your time, you will enjoy it I promise.

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7 Responses to “The Joys Of Cycling: Going Slow”

  1. By Finnigan on Apr 23, 2010 | Reply

    Nice sentiment. I’d say it applies to driving as well – if you’re not rushed (whether or not you’re speeding), you can focus more on what you’re doing and have a few cycles left for thinking your own thoughts too.

  2. By William Furr on Apr 23, 2010 | Reply

    I’ve noticed a distinct difference between my daily commute in traffic and when I bike down the Minuteman or the Charles River bike paths for fun. When I go slower, I enjoy myself more and hurt less the next day.

    I’d also second what Finnigan said about this also applying to driving. A couple of years ago I decided I was sick of fearing the cops while driving and decided to stick to the posted speed limits. It’s a much more restful way to drive, at least for me if not the people who have to go around me.

    I think just about every road user would be well served to slow down a little instead of being in such a hurry and pulling shenanigans just to get to the next red light a bit faster.

  3. By Jeff Lynch on Apr 23, 2010 | Reply

    I believe that what you say will ring true with many different types of cyclists. The idea of variety is precisely why I keep several bikes “ready and waiting”. Feel like a fast road ride, there’s a bike for that. Feel like a slower “back to basics” type ride, grab the fixed gear. Feel like connecting with nature, grab the MTB. I recall an old Bicycling Magazine (opinion) article that suggested the ideal number of bikes is 8. I’m far from that, but I like the sentiment.

  4. By ironhorse on Apr 23, 2010 | Reply

    Couldn’t agree with you more. I’ve fixed many bugs in my code while riding back home slowly (it probably created other bugs but that’s a different story). Lately I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy other type of slow riding. Riding with my 15 month son on an iBert (google it and look at the pics – it is great!). We both soak up everything, although I don’t day dream because I have to be very attentive regardless of speed.

    Keep those articles going. I really enjoy reading them and sharing them with my fellow cyclists and drivers alike.

  5. By Libby on Apr 25, 2010 | Reply

    Finally, someone besides myself who enjoys a slow ride. For the life of me I do not understand the Saturday morning club ride in a pace line flying over the roads. Different strokes for different folks.

  6. By Kim Taylor Knight on Jun 2, 2010 | Reply

    I have been biking the entire school year and made this revelation in February. Back when I was the only biker on the path, it was easy to slow down. Now that I am in the habit and all the “fair weather” bikers have returned to race to and from on their cycles, I continue to go slowly, enjoy my ride, am visible to drivers, hit ALL the green lights and lower my stress to zero.

    I laugh invisibly at them all as they zoom on by and I pass them as the lights change green and I sail on through…

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