CEDAR CITY — As summer approaches, it’s once again time to break out the bike for the annual “Slow Roll” on and around the Southern Utah University campus Friday starting at 6 p.m.
According to a press release from the Cedar City Offices, the event officially kicks off on the corner of 300 West and University Boulevard, where Cedar City Mayor Maile Wilson-Edwards and SUU President Scott Wyatt will “get things rolling” at the start line.
For those who aren’t familiar with a “Slow Roll,” it’s simply a laid-back bike ride. The concept originated in urban Detroit and gained popularity as a neighborhood revitalization strategy to bring people together and promote community engagement. People of all ages and abilities are encouraged to hop on a bike – many for the first time since childhood – and get out and get active.
“All wheels are welcome, so break out that old cruiser, tricycle, skateboard, stroller, unicycle, wheelchair, or whatever human-powered transportation source you have available,” Kara Taylor, health educator at Southwest Utah Public Health Department, said in the press release. “It has been a long, strange year for everyone, and we all need a breath of fresh air and a chance to reconnect with neighbors,”
In Cedar City, the Slow Roll tradition began in the summer of 2019 and has grown in popularity since. This year’s event will be the biggest yet – a block-party style experience, with event organizers expecting between 400-500 “Slow Rollers.” Additions include the local band Foxy Grandpa, a DJ, a bike decorating contest, food trucks, a pop-up bike lane and a bike valet provided by the Iron Giants Mountain Bike Team.
In addition to these activities, Cedar City Bike Works, a nonprofit empowering the community through cycling, active transportation and recreation, will be onsite to teach bicycle safety and repair. And for those who wish to participate but don’t have a bike, the T-Bird Bike Club will have a limited number of bikes available for use, and free bike helmets are available while supplies last to anyone who lacks the proper safety gear.
Brad Abrams, Cedar City event director, said the event has received a positive community response.
“We have most of the local bike clubs and bike shops now involved in the planning. The bicycling community has really come together to put on an awesome event, and we’re excited to once again present this fun activity for our community.”
The Slow Roll is the first of a series of monthlong activities celebrating National Bike Month, recognized each May.
Cedar City Active Transportation Chair Jackie Grant said the events will be fun but are also geared toward better health.
“Think about your immediate circle of family and friends. How many of them suffer from diabetes, heart disease, or weight problems?” she said. “All of these health conditions can improve by becoming more active. Activity is the ‘miracle pill,’ and biking is one of the best activities to improve health. For some, this may be dusting off their cruiser for Bike to Work Week, or for the kids, participating in Bike to School Week.”
As part of Bike Month, the Cedar City Active Transportation Committee, Southwest Utah Public Health Department and Cedar City Public Works have collaborated to create a pop-up bike lane at the Slow Roll. Taylor said that the project is to help promote biking and an active lifestyle in Cedar City.
“We want our community to embrace biking as a healthy and viable transportation option. The pop-up lane gives everyone a chance to see what it might be like to have a lane around SUU.”
Abrams wants to make sure that walkers also come out to the Slow Roll.
“Those more inclined to take a stroll (instead of a Roll) can walk the course or explore the Southern Utah University Art and Sculpture Stroll to view the incredible Shakespeare-inspired bronze statues at the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Center for the Arts and other extraordinary pieces throughout campus,” he said. “We will have maps available at the attendee stations.”
Event organizers wish to remind everyone that they will be following all the necessary COVID-19 protocols. More information about this event is available online or the Cedar City Events Facebook page.
Ed. note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified the day of the event as Thursday instead of Friday.
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