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One iPad Commercial Brings International Attention to Detroit’s Slow Roll

Detroit SkylineA cycling program in Detroit is getting international attention after it was featured in an Apple iPad commercial a few months ago.

Slow Roll is a free community bike ride program that takes place on the streets of Detroit every Monday night. The goal? To bring people together and create a more immersive relationship with the city. Thousands of riders explore various neighborhoods in groups, getting to know Detroit and each other.

Riders gather at a predetermined location in Downtown Detroit every week and pedal toward the less-developed areas of the city. Usually there’s a notable destination, like the Packard Plant or Fort Wayne. Volunteers keep the riders packed together and following the right path, and community members sit out on porches to watch riders go by.

The ride was already wildly popular in Detroit, but the iPad commercial featuring co-founder Jason Hall has brought it to a whole new level. Over a hundred cities have sent in requests to start their own rides.

“It’s surreal,” Hall told his local CBS affiliate. “Since the Apple commercial we’ve been highlighted in a hundred cities, four cities in Sweden, we’re in Buffalo, we just launched in Chicago, we are doing Houston and Dallas, Texas next.”

The attention didn’t stop there. “I met two guys from China today, who said they saw the commercial in China,” Hall added. “Two guys from Buddy’s Pizza recognized me and they were in town from Seattle.” Cities in the U.K. and Iraq have also started Slow Roll programs.

“Last year I was still struggling – working side jobs, bar-tend where ever I could,” Hall said. “This is the first year where we’ve been able … to devote all our time to it.”

The rides have also benefited the communities they cover. Research shows that 52% of all girls and 66% of all boys play organized sports, meaning that the other half of the youth population may be lacking in exercise. Plenty of adults don’t get the physical activity they need, either. The Slow Roll creates a combination of laid-back exercise and fun that appeals to people of all ages and from all walks of life.

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