by Kirby Lindsay, posted 25 July 2014
For many people in Fremont, and all over Seattle, bike riding has become a way of life. Bike riding isn’t political, but a way of life – a healthy, engaging way to get out and enjoy an urban lifestyle. For these people, riding is fun, satisfying and practical.
Some urban cyclists have found it difficult to find the others that share their fondness for two-wheeled outings. It can be particularly tricky to find a romantic partner with whom to bike ride to dinner, movies or sunsets along the Lake Washington Ship Canal. “The inspiration was the young women that came in the shop,” explained Juliette Delfs, “bemoaning the fact that they can’t meet men who ride, and are comfortable using a bike to get around.”
For the last three years, Delfs, and her business partner, Alden Shank, have created an evening to try to provide single cyclists with a way to gather and meet. “We get so many nice people that walk in the store,” Delfs observed, and so Hub And Bespoke launched the Slow Ride Speed Date event – which matches singles, one by one, to ride together on a short (four minute) pre-set route.
Hub And Bespoke, a Fremont retailer that specializes in high-quality, well-priced, fashionable clothing and gear for urban cyclists, will host two more Slow Ride Speed Dates in 2014 – one on Tuesday, July 29th for those 35-ish and younger, and another on Tuesday, August 5th for those 35-ish and older. For more information on time and place, pre-register on-line or in the store.
“Biking is an activity you can do to introduce fitness into your life,” Delfs observed, “it’s easy to do, even if you are larger.” Unlike many forms of exercise, Delfs sees cycling as accessible for those at many different starting points – or those seeking to maintain a fit lifestyle.
The people who regularly shop Hub And Bespoke, for the most part, already know and believe in the beauty and benefits of bike riding – and dressing well while doing it. “You don’t have to ride a bike to wear the clothes,” Delfs observed. The store offers well-constructed clothes for anyone, but it also provides a neat selection of gift items and accessories. “The fashion world is such a miss from our market,” she acknowledged. Hub And Bespoke caters to those interested in looking good, but also those who want functional, useable clothing and products.
‘Filled With Admiration’
“We get so many positive comments,” Delfs said about the Slow Ride gatherings, which she and Shank started in 2012. “We don’t charge for this,” she mused, “and we have been told that we would get more interest, and fewer no-shows, if we did.” Still, for Hub And Bespoke, Slow Ride Speed Date is a service to customers, not a money-maker.
They started Slow Ride although neither are single (Delfs is married, and Shank is in a serious relationship) nor had they ever attended a ‘traditional’ speed dating event. “We stole the format of speed dating,” Delfs admitted, “without understanding what its pitfalls might be.” Still, she is pleased with the results and feedback she’s been given by the participants, “You get to meet a bunch of people for a few minutes, through an intermediary.”
“I was so nervous that first time,” Delfs recalled, “like it was a date.” The people who show up for Slow Ride have inspired her, with their courage and willingness to try. “I’m always pleased and amazed at people putting themselves out there. When somebody actually shows up, and takes responsibility,” for their social life, Delfs mused, “I’m filled with admiration. Half the battle is showing up in life.”
Share Your Fondness For Cycling
For the first Slow Ride, Delfs and Shank left it open to all ages – and while some found friendships, others struggled to find common ground. Last year, Shank and Delfs tried to split the ages – and low-interest among the over 35 crowd cancelled that gathering. Based on feedback, “we have twice tried same gender Slow Rides,” Delfs said. The hetero Slow Ride, like the two coming up, always generates requests for an LGBT gathering. They worked out a format, but haven’t gotten enough sign-ups to make the evening work. Delfs and Shank remain willing to host one, and those interested in participating should remain in touch with Hub And Bespoke.
After all, Slow Ride Speed Date could be a way to meet an absolutely perfect someone special, and a way to spend time with others who share an interest in urban cycling, and being adventurous. In mid-July, Hub And Bespoke held its annual Bastille Day bike ride, and picnic. “We have one couple that have gone to all three Bastilles,” Delfs commented, “It was fun. Just fun!” It also drew out new riders, anxious to learn how to get around the city by bicycle.
Slow Ride Speed Date usually draws Hub And Bespoke customers more familiar with cycling, and interested in meeting others. To further give attendees a chance to meet and mingle, after the matched ride, everyone can adjourn to a local establishment (“we don’t pre-arrange this,” Delfs said,) for drinks/food, and more open fellowship. On July 29th, Slow Ride participants can repair to Fremont Brewing Company – and help raise money with the Spoke-N-Food event also happening there that night.
For everyone who wants to participate – and meet others who share their fondness for a ride – either on July 29th (35 and under) or August 5th (35 and over) sign-up for Slow Ride Speed Date through the Hub And Bespoke blog.
This is a chance to take control of your destiny, meet others who share your courage – and have a lovely ride along the Ship Canal. Do it today – as Slow Ride Speed Date is a free, first-come, first-served opportunity!
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©2014 Kirby Lindsay. This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.