What a fun season finale on Monday, just about all-around perfect! Now that we’ve completed another 26 weeks of free and inclusive community bike rides around and beyond Buffalo, we have a lot of thanks to go around.
First and foremost, we thank our volunteer squad of 111 caring, committed cyclists – from the seven still standing since our first pilot rides in 2014, to the scores who celebrated five years of service here in 2019, to the nine newbies who fortified our fun-loving family. While thousands witness their dedication every Monday night, they do so much more – daily scout rides along every route, weekend rides around the region, countless forms of community outreach, site setup and takedown, strategy sessions, fundraising – this collective commitment is the foundation on which we continue to operate fun and safe rides, and from which we trust that we’ll continue to grow.
Second, we thank the countless citizens who have invited and welcomed Slow Roll; from their block clubs, businesses and organizations, to their porches and sidewalks. Long before the rides, we’ve shared space and stories, intentions and ideas; come Mondays, sometimes it’s only a momentary interaction, a smile and wave between a cyclist and pedestrian or motorist, while in others it’s a few minutes of attention for a stakeholder’s speech or a partnership in pursuit of mutual benefit. Often we have uncomfortable conversations about the realities of our city’s past, present and potential, in order to challenge perceptions in pursuit of perspective. Overall, these in-person interactions are the primary purpose of Slow Roll; it’s all about communal connection – the bike is just the vehicle.
Next, we recognize the riders – around 24,000 in total attendance over the past six months, some showing up only once while others setting their schedules around ours. Whether for the first time or at the last ride, the wonderfully wide eyes with which riders realize the joys of opening all their senses as a community on wheels is what sustains Slow Roll – that, and the financial support of those fortunate enough to help, from raffles and refreshments at the afterparty to attending fundraisers and donating online.
Speaking of financial support, we thank those in our local business community who see Slow Roll as worthy of their marketing and community outreach funds, especially here in a city rich with inspiring nonprofits – shout out to the staff at our presenting partner Independent Health for being behind us since 2015, when they provided our entire operating budget, and for increasing their support over the years since to help cover the ever-increasing costs of our full and free schedule of rides. Plus, they’ve provided monthly giveaway items and been receptive to our input on them, such as bike lights – which they’ve provided not only for those who attend our rides, but also for our squad to distribute around the city as we encounter light-less cyclists on our scout rides.
Finally, we recognize the members of the media who’ve helped spread the word every week – WBFO has been the best, by far – and the patient motorists who’ve wished us well while waiting for our parade to pass. While we see the truth in Dan Rather’s quip about our car-centric culture, “Americans will put up with anything provided it doesn’t block traffic,” we see far more positive reactions than negative, we train our squad to talk with every motorist we can reach, and we intend to continue taking over the streets for this 1.5 of the 168 hours in the week.
With love and props to the mothership in Slow Roll Detroit for creating this movement; an open invitation to all to our postseason fundraiser at Flying Bison Brewing Company on Friday, November 22nd (840 Seneca Street, Hydraulics, 5pm-?); and a reminder that *Snow* Rolls are coming; we close another successful season with great gratitude. Keep it goin’, y’all…