Slow Roll Buffalo returns with social distancing bicycle rides

Aug 3, 2020

COVID-19 has brought the cancellation of several annual summer group activities and festivals. Tonight in Buffalo, one of them is making its socially distant return. Slow Roll has created a “Reimagined Ride” for bicyclists looking to ride as a group. 


Credit Clay Davies / Slow Roll Buffalo

Slow Roll Buffalo usually starts up in the Spring and follows through with a full season of bicycle ride gatherings. After months of planning and test runs the past few weeks, Slow Roll Buffalo Co-Founder Seamus Gallivan said they’ve figured out an outline to run events safely. 


“The ‘Reimagined Ride’ is going to look a lot different then Slow Roll as we've known it over the past seven years,” Gallivan said.


To work within Phase 4 of the “New York Forward” state mandate, Slow Roll Buffalo has made several changes like staggered start times so attendees ride in groups of 50 or less.


“I'm just getting comfortable with the fact that we're not having any scheduled stops," he said. "When we get to the end point, which is different than the start point-- there's no after party and it’s not a round trip. So anyone who attends must be prepared to continue riding without us.”


And Gallivan said it's not a debate-- anyone who rides with them wears a mask the entire ride. 


“There are no exceptions to that. We know that this is also a compromise of our inclusivity. We know that there are folks out there with breathing issues (and) that makes wearing a face covering hard. And it's hard for us to to discourage anyone from attending," Gallivan said. "We also know that there are a lot of people who just refuse to cover their face. And refuse to recognize the solidarity, the importance of protecting each other. So we just don't really have any tolerance for that.”


And riding a bike, it's reccomended you be farther away than 6 feet apart because you are moving at a faster speed.


"The six feet guideline is extended when we're moving right into the airstream-- someone riding in front of you." Gallivan said. "That's why it's absolutely essential to cover your mouth and nose for the entire ride."

Credit Slow Roll Buffalo

Gallivan said if for some reason people are not complying with the rules, Slow Roll won’t have any problem shutting the ride back down in the future. Future rides will be determined/announced on a week to week basis.


Slow Roll Buffalo has been working with local health officials throughout the process of creating an adapted event.


"We may have to make changes as we go. As some of these phases have changed, some other regulations have changed. And some of our practices may need to (change) in order to do this responsibly and safely," Gallivan said. "Ultimately, we're confident in our ability to do (so) and we only carry that confidence with guidance that we've gotten from experts on this (who are) public health leaders.”


Gallivan said they are not resuming Slow Roll just to ride their bikes-- they are doing it to connect communities.


“We do these organized rides really, intentionally, not just to ride our bikes, but to really overcome this polarization and segregation and we need that much right now," Gallivan said. "And we're only furthering into those polarized bubbles. And so we know that to do that we have to really make a lot of changes to our usual inclusive structure. But this is a way to do it. That has been really carefully constructed."


Tonight’s ride starts at 6:30 p.m. at Babeville on Delaware Ave. Nick Lippa. WBFO news.


Here's the full list of changes and requirements for the ride.


  • Staggered start times as required, ensuring that attendees ride in groups of 50 or less

  • The ride will end in a different location than it began, not roundtrip

  • Pace and distance faster and longer than usual, with no scheduled stops for regrouping and speakers

  • The ride will be self-supported, with no “SAG” support and gear before or during

  • Participants and their bikes should be prepared to ride immediately upon arrival, and maintain safe distance from those outside of their own household while waiting to ride

  • No police motorcade - riders will share the road

  • Mandatory covering of mouth and nose for the entirety of the ride

  • No afterparty - Slow Roll squad will disperse at the end of the ride

  • All measures subject to change as part of continued commitment to public safety and consultation with public health leaders