What Is Slow Roll?

Slow Roll is a global movement founded in 2010 as Slow Roll Detroit in Detroit, Michigan. The movement was founded by good friends and Detroit natives Jason Hall and Mike MacKool. After growing exponentially over several years, Slow Roll Detroit was featured in an Apple iPad commercial and marketing campaign in 2014. The Slow Roll Detroit community bicycle ride averages over 4,000 riders every Monday night.

Inspired by the energy, diversity, and spirit of the Slow Roll Detroit rides, Jamal Julien and Olatunji Oboi Reed founded Slow Roll Chicago in September of 2014. They explicitly set out to use the movement and bicycles as vehicles for social change. Slow Roll Chicago hosts a regular ride series from May to September. from April to October. The ride meets at various locations & venues throughout Chicago and takes a unique route for each ride. Slow Roll is for everyone; all ages, skill levels and types of bikes are welcome. We are called Slow Roll for a reason as our slow pace keeps the group safe and gives riders a unique perspective of our great city and its beautiful neighborhoods. An amazing and diverse group joins us from all over the Chicago area and beyond, creating what we consider one of the greatest gatherings of all time. The positive energy and community driven atmosphere is what keeps people coming back and sharing the Slow Roll Chicago experience with their family and friends! Let's ride...

purpose statement

Slow Roll Chicago is a bicycle movement. We ride bikes to make our neighborhoods better. This is why we exist. This is why we ride.

VISION

Slow Roll Chicago’s vision is equal bicycle usage across the City of Chicago with respect to race, income and neighborhood. We envision bicycles as a form of effective transportation, contributing to reducing violence, improving health, creating jobs and ultimately making our neighborhoods more livable. 

MISSION

Slow Roll Chicago’s mission is to connect a diverse group of people who utilize bikes and the activity of cycling as vehicles for social justice and social change, transforming lives and improving the condition of communities by organizing community bicycle rides, advocating for bicycle equity and implementing other cycling-related programs throughout Chicago.

Target Audience

The target audience for our movement is Black & Brown people, low- to moderate-income people and communities on the Southside and Westside of Chicago.

Programmatic Priorities

  • Community Bicycle Ride Series: Slow Roll Chicago’s primary thrust as an organization is our regular ride series during our ride season from May to September. Each ride is neighborhood-based and hosted in partnership with community-based organizations. Every ride is thematic and explicitly designed to serve as a vehicle for social justice and social change. The rides incorporate neighborhood outreach, community partners and a route to express a story on bikes. The rides serve to explore and highlight the beauty or the challenges present in our neighborhoods. 
  • Bicycle Advocacy: Slow Roll Chicago advocates on behalf of communities of color and low- to moderate-income communities for three public commitments here in Chicago from local, state, and federal policymakers:  
    • Bicycle equity as the equitable distribution of bicycle resources (funding, protected bike lanes, Divvy stations, other infrastructure, programs, etc.) to communities which need them the most and which can benefit from them the most (communities of color and low- to moderate-income communities). For a more detailed understanding of Slow Roll Chicago's position on Equity, please see our Bicycle Equity Statement of Principle (draft version).
    • Community ownership of the transportation planning process, creating meaningful opportunities for neighborhood residents to express an authentic voice in the decision-making process surrounding transportation infrastructure projects in their neighborhoods. 
    • Respect for the needs, culture and history in neighborhoods in order to achieve greater engagement and investment from residents.
  • Youth Leadership Program: Slow Roll Chicago’s youth program is designed to engage high school students in the bicycle advocacy and organizing work to make their neighborhoods healthier and safer. The program seeks to provide the training to elevate and energize the youth voice as the next generation of leaders working to improve communities through cycling.

Strategy

  • Community: Create community by connecting communities across racial, geographical, and social divides.
  • Culture: Build an equitable, diverse and inclusive bicycle culture in Chicago. Establish a vibrant bicycle culture in communities of color and low- to moderate-income neighborhoods on the Southside and Westside of Chicago. 
  • Context: Host neighborhood-based, thematic, community bicycle rides in partnership with community organizations. Host group bike rides as vehicles to explore the beauty and the challenges which exist in our neighborhoods. 
  • Clarity: Express in consistent, inspiring and clear terms who we are, what we do and why we do it. We are a bicycle movement; we ride bikes to make our neighborhoods better.