Wednesday, August 3, 2011

I Rode My Bicycle To Work As Slowly As Possible Today

To actually stop and smell these flowers

Today I rode my bicycle to work as slowly as possible. OK, not slo-mo, slow race, barely moving slow, but still really, really slow. It wasn't because I was avoiding anything or wanted to get to work late. It was a feeling: my feet slowed down, I was whistling "Let It Be," and I needed to go sloooow. Like, a kid with training wheels racing his little sister on her tricycle and their neighbor on the Big Wheel would have dropped me effortlessly, slow. This slow:

Always the goal-setter, I put some ambitious tasks before myself for my Slow Ride Project:

  • to feel dappled tree shade caress my skin,
  • to sense the wind-brush evaporatively cooling even on a hot morning,
  • to stop and smell the flowers pictured above, 
  • to whistle "Let It Be" accurately from beginning to end,
  • to eavesdrop on the quail chortling in the undergrowth,
  • to pause and observe the baby ducks preening in the shallows along the canal. 


The canal water running through the structure where the heron sits held my attention for a minute or two: the swirling changing waves and eddies, splash and mist, the vivid and hyper-real sunlight glinting off droplets arcing and re-entering the flow.

Out in front of me, half a block away, an approaching cyclist turned left off the main road as an SUV was flupping a U inside-out maybe not seeing the cyclist at all but how could he not and cyclist avoiding, yelling, moving out of the way, riding on, was it him, was I him, was he me, driver, driver, let it be, let it be. Words of wisdom I was whistling on my slow slow ride.

It took me longer to ride to work today than the day I got a flat on my rear tire and had trouble getting everything put back together and my hands were a gory chain-grease mess and the tire wouldn't hold air and I had to keep pumping it up. Longer than that. A personal record to be proud of. Today I rode my bike to work as slowly as possible, and loved it.



  1. That's about how fast I ride all the time. I'm a slacker.

  2. Sounds like a very rewarding commute ... I love those! Maybe one of these days I'll do this. I'll have to get up early enough to give myself some extra time.

  3. I shall have to consider such a thing, but normally, I would have trouble even stopping to take a photo of the bike. I ride fast to get to where I can lean back and use all the time I saved to savor the coffee. And even some more. I guess we just all go slow differently.

  4. i love speed but most of the rides i ride i want to feel deep inside. not the muscle feel which is pretty natch but the deep feel of seeing stuff like a squirrel running between my wheels, a crow diving down to grab a snake from the road in front of me, the impossible purple of a thistle in flower against the deep blue of the river. and then, if i've really got it all together i'll stop and take photographs as i go. music? well there's music rolls on an eight track in my head constantly . . . right now donovan "first there is a mountain" has some high rotation going. steven

  5. Oldfool fast is relative, and compared to a ped you are Speedy Gonzales out there.

    Apertome, it is also possible to ride homeward at a leisurely pace, thus avoiding the extreme measure of waking up early.

    Steve, I am all for going slow differently. Particularly when coffee is involved. You are wise.

    steven, thanks for commenting! Great words, and an eight track too, cool. I casually let my eight track playing boom box go several years ago, and now I miss it. Sometimes fast rides, sometimes music.


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