Slow Cycling

Commuting, Day rides, Audax, Incidents, etc.
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anothereye
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Re: Slow Cycling

Postby anothereye » 31 May 2009, 2:28pm

chris667 wrote:. I bought a road bike from London yesterday and rode it home; great fun, but it had a much more agressive position than I am used to riding.

Chris; what do you mean by "aggressive position"? Surely if there is any aggression it must be on the part of the rider rather than the bike? What kind of bike are you used to riding?

enjoy your new bike.

Gerry
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Ellieb
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Re: Slow Cycling

Postby Ellieb » 31 May 2009, 6:27pm

What I didn't understand about the article was.... why you have to have a big heavy bike to cycle slowl?. Surely that is going to completely limit its utility. Even the article said something to the effect that you aren't looking at cycling more than 5 miles on one of theses bikes (if I remember correctly). Surely more people are goiing to be put off cycling if they think:

a; they need more than one bike for different types of riding
b; the bike they have is only useful in a limited way.

By all means get a bike that suits the riding you do, but to me this was just marketing a retro fashion. If you want to get intoi slow cycling... cycle slowly on wahtever bike you have.

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paulah
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Re: Slow Cycling

Postby paulah » 31 May 2009, 6:44pm

Ellieb wrote:What I didn't understand about the article was.... why you have to have a big heavy bike to cycle slowl?. .


That's precisely what I can never see the point of. My dad's got a pashley - the same model as in the prize draw - I can barely lift it so my chances of actually being able to push it up the hill on the way home from work let alone ride it slowly are extremely low. My own upright is rather lighter and better geared.

Chainguards and hubgears, now I can sse the point of those but the bike doesn't have to weigh half a ton.
There shall be only one pannier

glueman
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Re: Slow Cycling

Postby glueman » 31 May 2009, 7:37pm

Some people seem genuinely affronted by the idea of slow cycling, as though the whole point surely is more speed, more power, more fitness. That's a very modern way of seeing the world, as though we're saving time to do the important stuff. When I used a 28" wheel roadster with a 4-speed hub it was relatively easy to reach an optimum speed but pushing beyond that was very much diminishing returns.
If you want to do what roadsters do best - cruise imperiously along - they are very rewarding bikes to ride but their ideal home is somewhere flattish or with modestly pitched hills. On those roads the weight is insignificant, once they're rolling, they're rolling. For similar reasons continual stop-start traffic isn't their natural habitat either.

Ellieb
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Re: Slow Cycling

Postby Ellieb » 31 May 2009, 8:09pm

I think the thing that affronts people is that it can come across as pretentious. Anything that implies that you are riding a bike to make a statement to the world rather than because you just want to ride a bike tends to get up most peoples noses.

thirdcrank
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Re: Slow Cycling

Postby thirdcrank » 31 May 2009, 8:21pm

glueman wrote:Some people seem genuinely affronted by the idea of slow cycling, ...


If I can take the liberty of lifting this comment completely out of context and recycling it, it demonstrates a point I've tried to make earlier. The people who are really affronted by slow cycling are unlikely to come on this forum at all except for a bit of trolling. Taking that even further, there was a thread recently which linked to pics of people in far off lands moving the earth, or large parts of it on bikes. The human being as beast of burden. Slow cycling if ever there was, but does anybody really suppose that given the choice they would not be using motor power?

I'd be the first to agree that cycling is an ideal way of making all sorts of local leisure / utility journeys and having done it rather than just talk about it I don't think I've anything to prove. (I know I'm regarded by my neighbours with a mix of admiration that I can do this, especially as a bus-pass holder, and a suspicion that I am crackers.) I also agree that roadster type bike, with a more upright position, stable load-carrying geometry, low maintenance enclosed-against-the-weather construction is the ideal bike for that type of riding. For all sorts of reasons, that style of riding and bike in the UK is largely history. The lame attempt to promote that mode of transport for local journeys in the so-called 'National Cycling Strategy' never caused so much as a blip on the radar of the national consciousness. It's my impression that in those developed countries where that type of cycling flourishes - Holland being a frequently quoted case - there is a different set of attitudes to class, status and the rest of it. In the current 'downturn' it may be that more people will be reluctantly forced into Tebbit Snr type cycling.

The sort of cyclist you are by implication knocking for their speed aspirations need feel under no more obligation to adopt 'slow cycling' than any other section of society. If they all dumped their bikes and replaced them with roadsters it would not make much impression on the transport problems of the UK. It's the drivers you need to convince. A bigger task than causing a bit of discussion on here.

glueman
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Re: Slow Cycling

Postby glueman » 31 May 2009, 8:52pm

I think you may be crediting me with a more profound take on the matter than I possess. My initial response to the article was 'spot on' though as I said earlier the underlying notion was to some extent derailed by the concentration on a certain kind of roadster bicycle. In flat conditions they are a peerless ride - low maintenance, sturdy, high viewpoint, etc, but you could make a similar claim for many hybrids, a folder or a well set up tourer, each with additional advantages of their own.

What pleased me was in the days I used to buy cycling magazines - about 10 years ago at least - they were sold on the back of bikes that promised an unreachable dream of lightness and ease, or ever more nuanced takes on the bikes people really need (that month), flat-bar road bikes through to mountain bikes with drop bars. By comparison roadsters of the type shown in Cycle are anything but 'lame', they fit the five-miles-and-under utility role to a T unless you live in a hilly area. Getting non-cyclists to use a bike for those 5 or fewer miles requires more centralised commitments, like removing street parking in cities, making 8 hour NCP stays much higher, secure bike parking, favourable road layouts for bike riders and even dare I say it, paths and tracks that go where people want them to go if the existing engineering is prejudicially designed against bicycles - as so much 1960s inner-city freeway is.

A side effect of everyone riding more slowly, or at least less aggressively whatever their choice of bike, would be a more realistic appraisal by drivers of what a human powered machine is likely to be able to achieve. Apart from one or two mass-cycling places motorists give the impression that a rider will be able to put a quick spurt to 20mph if they rev their engines hard enough. Speeding for space against a 3-litre 4x4 is not, I suggest, the way forward for mass cycling.

random37
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Re: Slow Cycling

Postby random37 » 31 May 2009, 11:43pm

Subject: Slow Cycling

anothereye wrote:Chris; what do you mean by "aggressive position"? Surely if there is any aggression it must be on the part of the rider rather than the bike? What kind of bike are you used to riding?

When I say aggressive, I mean head down, bottom up, handlebars 4 inches lower than the saddle, the position adopted by racers. Of course I don't mean you have to **be** aggressive when you ride one. But I honestly believe it offers no advantage to people that just want to get around on a bike, and it puts a lot of people that might enjoy cycling off, because if you aren't used to riding a bike with low bars and wearing specialist clothes they're uncomfortable.
I think it's really hard to find a bike that's upright and nice to ride, but if there was, more people would ride one.

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anothereye
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Re: Slow Cycling

Postby anothereye » 1 Jun 2009, 8:46am

Chris, thanks for clarifying. Just change the handlebars. I have flat bars on my touring bike and I think I'm more visible to other road users as a result. I believe it's important to be assertive (confident of my position on the road) as my rights get more respect. Body language is important; that's why I asked.

Gerry
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reducing danger for all road users

AndyB
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Re: Slow Cycling

Postby AndyB » 1 Jun 2009, 8:49am

glueman wrote:A side effect of everyone riding more slowly, or at least less aggressively whatever their choice of bike, would be a more realistic appraisal by drivers of what a human powered machine is likely to be able to achieve. Apart from one or two mass-cycling places motorists give the impression that a rider will be able to put a quick spurt to 20mph if they rev their engines hard enough. Speeding for space against a 3-litre 4x4 is not, I suggest, the way forward for mass cycling.

My experience, however, is that most potentially dangerous encounters between myself on a bike, and cars, have been down to them under-estimating my speed. Let them rev behind me: I don't really care, but I do care if they pull out too close in front of me because they expect me to be going at little more than walking pace.

workhard

Re: Slow Cycling

Postby workhard » 1 Jun 2009, 9:18am

slow cycling = wearing the clothes you already wear on the bike you already have. anything else is just consumerism. anyone can do "slow cycling" on any bike. racer, tourer, fixie, SS, sit up and beg, track bike, folder, MTB. slow cycling is a state of mind not a frame geometry.

Fabini
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Re: Slow Cycling

Postby Fabini » 1 Jun 2009, 9:31am

workhard wrote:slow cycling = wearing the clothes you already wear on the bike you already have. anything else is just consumerism. anyone can do "slow cycling" on any bike. racer, tourer, fixie, SS, sit up and beg, track bike, folder, MTB. slow cycling is a state of mind not a frame geometry.


But isn't it also about the convenience of the bike you use: It's not much good if your skirt has just been sucked into your V-Brakes, or your right trouser leg is covered in oil. Skirt-guards and chain-guards prevent that. Similarly being able to lock the bike easily for short periods with an integrated immobiliser, or components which require relatively infrequent maintenance add to the simplicity of a bike's use. It may not be about frame geometry, but it certainly includes the bike's componentry.

lindagordinho
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Re: Slow Cycling

Postby lindagordinho » 1 Jun 2009, 11:52am

I really loved that article. I am involved in loads of community stuff in the small town where I live, and tend to go to meetings etc on my tourer/commuter. I have SPD pedals (brilliant for touring and commuting) and sometimes, being a lazy heifer, have (gasp!) taken the car because I couldn't be bothered to change my shoes, or because I wanted to wear a dress or skirt.

I have now realised that I NEED a roadster. It needs to be red, with flat pedals, and I need a dress and high heeled shoes to match it, because the picture of that girl on that bike is absolutely stunning. I want to be her.

My workplace is having a roadshow next week to showcase the Cycle to Work scheme. I was garbling on about how much I wanted a sit up and beg bike with a basket on the front so I could wear a floaty summer dress to go and get the paper.

"Oh, I've always wanted a bike like that, can you still get them? Can I go to the roadshow with you?" asked my plump 55 year old boss. She is hooked, just like that! I will be taking my Cycle magazine to work with me tonight to leave casually on the table.

Perhaps there is more power than we realised in the concept of slow cycling, of cycling because you're too lazy to walk but still want to get out in the fresh air on a nice day. Of just getting on and going without needing to think about it, in the clothes and shoes you're wearing, and arriving looking like a 'normal' instead of a cyclist.

workhard

Re: Slow Cycling

Postby workhard » 1 Jun 2009, 12:32pm

Fabini wrote:
workhard wrote:slow cycling = wearing the clothes you already wear on the bike you already have. anything else is just consumerism. anyone can do "slow cycling" on any bike. racer, tourer, fixie, SS, sit up and beg, track bike, folder, MTB. slow cycling is a state of mind not a frame geometry.


But isn't it also about the convenience of the bike you use: It's not much good if your skirt has just been sucked into your V-Brakes, or your right trouser leg is covered in oil. Skirt-guards and chain-guards prevent that. Similarly being able to lock the bike easily for short periods with an integrated immobiliser, or components which require relatively infrequent maintenance add to the simplicity of a bike's use. It may not be about frame geometry, but it certainly includes the bike's componentry.


so adapt the bike you have... :wink:

Plenty of Parisian women ride bikes; often in the chi-chi-est of arrondissement, often a quite racy type, often in distractingly short skirts. As do the women folk of Barcelona. That is one pragmatic answer to the skirt issue of which I whole heartedly approve. :D Adding a skirt guard to a 27" 28" or 700c bike will set someone back less than £10 and half an hour of time

Most men in long trousers wear socks to tuck them into or can use bike clips, sartorial disasters both so if that isn't doing it then you can retro fit a Hebie chain guard to even a front dérailleur equipped bike these days for £20

"Nurses locks" can be retrofitted as well. That people should think that for chilled out urban cycling you need a new bike is beyond me; I felt the bike son the front cover of the mag summed up slowcycling better than the ones in the article

random37
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Re: Slow Cycling

Postby random37 » 1 Jun 2009, 12:57pm

Subject: Slow Cycling

anothereye wrote:Chris, thanks for clarifying. Just change the handlebars. I have flat bars on my touring bike and I think I'm more visible to other road users as a result. I believe it's important to be assertive (confident of my position on the road) as my rights get more respect. Body language is important; that's why I asked.

I know that you can raise your handlebars, but to do that on a modern tourer you need a new stem, new bars, new brake levers and probably new shifters! So to the novice cyclist, that's £100+ before you've started, which is a bit of a leap of faith if you don't know if your bike be any nicer to ride afterwards. Wouldn't it be nice if every bike shop carried a bike that had high bars and wasn't poor quality?

There was someone on a thread the other day who said that North Road bars were no good for long journeys, but honestly, if you try a pair on a good bike they are wonderful.

This is how the bars are set up on my tourer:
Image
It has a roadster stem, and a Nitto Moustache bar. I grant you it looks weird, but honestly, you would not believe how comfortable and effortless riding this bike is over a long distance.

But, and this is where it scores over a roadster, it's fast too, and the brakes work. Gears from 25 to 110 inches.

I've loaned this bike out to non-cyclists, and they've loved it. But would they be able to buy something like it in an average bike shop? No chance.