"Participants say slower riding is a backlash to today's hard-core fitness world, brimming with boot camps and mud runs. Molly Peterson, a 46-year-old librarian in Fairhope, Ala., said people in her tennis league were cursing and throwing rackets. 'It can be pretty ugly,' she says.
In 2011, she launched the Slow Bicycle Society 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.'
'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. She rides a three-speed upright."