From the May 2015 issue

Detroit Family Fun on Wheels

Bike riding is fun for adults and kids. What better way to bond with family and take in the view? This is what Slow Roll Detroit is all about, says co-founder Jason Hall. “Parents work all day and time is shared over dinner and homework. A lot of people don’t really know their family or kids. This is a time where you can slow it down and spend some time together.”

Celebrating its fifth year, Slow Roll is a community-based group. It meets Monday evenings in Detroit at different venues. From there, it’s a very scenic route through the city – at a slow pace. “Kids grow up in this video-game environment,” Hall says. “This is a legitimate time for kids to really reconnect with the world.”

Slow Roll started in 2010 with four people. It’s now a crew of over 4,000 riders in 13-plus U.S. cities. “What makes it so amazing now is the diversity,” says Hall. “You will see people from all ages, from senior citizens to small children.” In fact, kids and parents make up nearly half of riders. “I would start my kid as soon as they can start in a trailer,” says Hall. “Personally, it’s up to the parent when they feel comfortable and what level they want to start their kid at.”

Ready to ride? Here are Hall’s top tips for families looking to get involved with Slow Roll Detroit.

1. Get the schedule. Find it online. Then, “Just come ride,” says Hall. “Get involved and talk to us. That’s how we come up with events.”

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2. Bike prep. Check your ride first. “We do travel eight to 10 miles. You want to make sure you have the proper bike and the proper maintenance.” Bring water and a light kit, too.

3. Kid check. Do a longer practice ride in advance. “Make sure your child can actually ride the distance,” says Hall. And helmets are a must.

4. ‘SQUAD’ is king. Keep eyes peeled for the friendly volunteers in yellow shirts. These leaders stake out the routes, help direct traffic, fix flat tires and lots more.

5. Stay safe. Some streets have bike lanes; others don’t. Either way, be cautious – and stay to the right. “We are not taking over the road,” Hall explains. “Communicate and follow traffic laws.”

Slow Roll Detroit

When: 7 p.m. Mondays: May 4, 11, 18 and 25; June 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29; July 6, 13, 20 and 27; and Aug. 3, 10 and 17 (more to come through October)
Membership cost: $10/basic, $50/premium (free option available if needed; just ask)
Where: Check the Slow Roll Detroit website for a schedule.

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