In praise of slow cycling
We had the opportunity to cycle in a number of North American cities in 2015, including Washington D.C., Montreal, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles. And it was through the mixed experiences of sharing their streets with locals that we began to observe a seldom-discussed measure of a city’s bike-friendliness: the speed at which its cyclists travel.
In short, the slower the people on bikes were moving, the more mature the bicycle culture, and the better the conditions for cycling. Inversely, in regions that had failed to prioritize two-wheeled travel as a mode of transportation, getting on a bike was still seen as a sport predominately done by males moving long distances at fast speeds. We don’t have anything against the latter, but mass uptake requires a distinct shift from subculture to a more mainstream and normalized approach.