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Get your slow, sensual subversiveness on

Slow Food Cycle Sunday: not just another pretty ride



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S-L-O-W down, you move too fast

The No. 1 reason listed on San Diego's Slow Food website to inspire you to join the official movement could have been written for Pemberton's Slow Food Cycle Sunday: Slow down. Enjoy family, friends. Meet new, like-minded people.

One of the most interesting aspects about Slow Food Cycle Sunday, held this year on August 18, is it has changed little over the years.

"That's the unusual hook. We don't at all try to do anything new and different because it's really important that we do things we can keep on doing," says Anna Helmer, co-founder of the event who now runs it with Niki Vankirk "off the corner of the kitchen table."

"It's pretty much organized by two, maybe three of us, year in and year out for thousands of people, and it's really important we're able to keep doing it while still farming and doing our regular work."

The K-I-S-S rule has ensured up to 4,000 people cycling a total of 56 km year after year have fun with few pitfalls.

Yes, it's a little hard work pedalling, and you'll be out of cell range at kilometre 14, but that's all in keeping with the spirit of slow food. Even the route is simple: with only one road you can't get lost.

As you meander along Pemberton Meadows Road, you can stop at any or all of the 13 farms offering everything from farm tours and fresh lemonade to chef-prepared delicacies.

At Helmers' Organic Farm alone they will be boiling up 300 pounds of their Sieglinde potatoes for an assortment of dressings created by chef Andrea Carlson. Now owner of her own restaurant, Burdock & Co. in Vancouver, Carlson is formerly of Raincity Grill, where she created the first Canadian restaurant menu based on the 100-Mile Diet.

For full details on Slow Food Cycle Sunday, visit the website. Meanwhile, Ms. Helmer, the Queen of Slow Food Cycle Sunday herself, offers these tips to best enjoy the day:

1. Other than what you choose to spend on food and drink, the event is free. But donations are very gratefully accepted.

2. Look after yourself. Make sure you bring enough water and snacks, just in case the next food stand you were counting on sells out. "It's just like real life," says Anna.

3. Bring about $30, ideally in small denominations, to buy your food and drink.

4. Try to car pool to get there. Driving a couple of thousand cars to the event is kind of anti-slow food.

5. The route is a flat, working road. Respect the vehicles using it.

6. Please don't bring your dog.

Enjoy yourselves, be safe and as you pedal-power past, remember Anna's mom, Jeanette, her big wheelbarrow and all the other hard-working farmers behind the pleasure you are about to receive.