No need for speed.

FrenchyNo need for speed.

Slow food, slow fashion, slow … biking? Yes indeed. This burgeoning movement is reminding Americans that bicycling is a relaxing way to see your world up close and personal — you can enjoy biking without getting coated in sweat and burning a thousand calories.

Case in point: Carey Rogers, a gent “nearing 60” in Nashville, who bought himself a bike to stay in shape but found the spandex-sporting bikers in his city only cared about speed. That’s where the story takes a happy (if surprising) twist:

Fortunately, Mr. Rogers found some like-minded plodders in Nashville Slow Ride, a club for bikers who forgo skinny seats and speedometers for a more poky pace. “I’ve never seen a hill I couldn’t walk up,” said Mr. Rogers, a newly retired state health-care analyst. “That’s sort of our attitude.”

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Cyclists who are looking for tough workouts have plenty of company. But for other bikers, that is just not how they roll. Instead, they are meandering over to “slow-bike” clubs that are cropping up around the country. There was even a Slow Bike Race last month in Newburyport, Mass. The last one to cross the finish line won.

Although he’s not THE Mister Rogers, one hopes Carey Rogers sports a navy cardigan and changes into slippers upon getting home. Oh yeah, and we’re glad he found his relaxed biking tribe. There’s a good chance there’s one near you, too:

Molly Peterson, a 46-year-old librarian in Fairhope, Ala., … launched the Slow Bicycle Society [in 2011] on the Eastern Shore, an Alabama club with 100 members and a mission statement: “No Spandex needed!” In Tennessee, the Murfreesboro Slow Ride Cyclists, which formed two months ago, calls itself “a never-get-left-behind fun bicycling group” with “baskets encouraged.”

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

“We’re mostly focused on ringing our bells and waving at kids and just cruising around and chatting with the person closest to you in line,” says Sarah Murray, a 40-year-old manager for the city of Chicago who founded the Slow Bicycle Society in Chicago in 2009 and has watched membership grow to 300 from 15 people.

If baskets, bells, and breathing easy sound good, see if your area has a slow biking gang — or start your own!

Reader support helps sustain our work. Donate today to keep our climate news free.