Going slowly for maximum pleasure
It was a beautiful Sunday in Wellington today. The air was crisp and cool but the sun was bright and the first signs of spring were visible. For example, as I wheeled along the waterfront promenade this afternoon, a few brave young men and women were in sleeveless tops or short shorts, anticipating temperatures that must surely be a month or two away.
A promenade it certainly is. I understand that in certain foreign parts it is the custom to walk in the plaza or the esplanade every Sunday to see and be seen, and it seems that we are developing our own promenade tradition here, albeit in a sadly under-dressed form. There were a few clothes horses amid the usual crowed of strollers, a gaggle of cosplayers, a chap in a top hat that rather suited him, but the general impression was thoroughly casual.
I did my bit for the atmosphere by riding my most beautiful bicycle at the slowest possible speed. It’s a game I play. I hope to convey maximum nonchalance on two wheels, gliding calmly, serenely even, not just looking where I’m going but looking around and soaking in the people as well as the scenery. I saw an old mate coming the other way and I was able to briefly clasp hands without stopping.
I’m afraid there were a lot of out-of-control inline skaters and worryingly fast cyclists loose in the crowd. I overheard a man complain to his partner about wheeled vehicles as a bike voomed past a bit too close and I can’t say I blame him. How much better it was to hear a few 100 metres on, “what a nice bike.”
I think where people are going wrong on wheels is in seeing the Sunday afternoon waterfront as a place to exercise. Instead, why not see it as a place to relax, chill out, watch other people and provide something for them to look at? The eyes of a member of the appropriate sex will not linger if you’re going faster than walking pace. Leave the sweat and joylessness to the joggers.
Ladies and gentlemen, we have had Slow Food. We all know the pleasure of slowing down and enjoying the ride. Let me propose SLOW CYCLING. There’s a time and a place: Sunday afternoon, by the water.