Skip This If You Are Tired of Bike Stories

President Bush and I share a common passion: bicycling. That’s about where the similarity ends, though. He rides a mountain bike, and I ride a middle-aged ladies’ hybrid bike. And he’s something of a speed-demon, leaving co-riders behind if they can’t keep up his rugged pace. At least one Secret Service agent has broken bones while trying to keep up with our adventurous leader. My cycling on the rural roads around our home is much more tame, especially since last September when I flipped over the handlebars, resulting in a broken arm and an increased sense of vulnerability.

President Bush took up cycling last year after his doctors advised him to stop running, since, as happens eventually to all runners, his knees were shot. In my younger days I ran cross country, then I ran just for fun, though I occasionally did some serious biking. Later, when babies started coming too quickly to make getting back into running shape as feasible, I switched to walking. Last March Tim bought a new bike for me as an early birthday present, and I renewed my love for riding on two wheels. I love the speed, the distances that can be covered, and yes, the height from which I now view snakes, as opposed to when I’m walking.

President Bush, like I, finds biking to be a great stress releaser, even going so far as to say, “Prayer and exercise are what keep me going.” While I might add a few ingredients to that list, I have to concur that those are vital, and often even interrelated parts of my life. Getting outside every day, if at all possible, and spending time moving, makes such a difference in my outlook on life. Where else in my life can I count on such stillness? Not inside our lively home! Even sweet Ben, not a big talker yet, goes around all day saying, “Mama! Mama!” Someone always needs something. On my bike or walking on the trails on our farm it is usually so quiet! Today on my ride I think there must have more planes flying overhead than cars passing on the road. This allows me to have wonderful time to meet with the Lord, sometimes with stillness, sometimes with words or singing, often with awe and praise for the beauty I’m passing, turning my thoughts to Him. So often as I ride and pray, the Lord gives me answers in how to deal with troubling issues or problems I’m facing.

Last week I ran into a friend I hadn’t seen for a while. This dear mother told me that she was struggling with all the demands of her young family. “We think we want to have a large family,” she said, “but it is so hard just caring for the four we have. How do you do it?” One of the things I asked her as we talked was if she had any way of getting some time alone, preferably outside, each day. She said she had recently put all the kids in their rooms, told them to do something quiet, and then went out to walk laps around their home. “Exactly!” I told her. At different times in our lives we have to do various things, but taking just a few minutes alone to be quiet, pray and regroup, can make all the difference in a day.

Mothers of young children – carve out time to be alone with the Lord. Get up very early to go for a walk while your husband is still home, or put your baby in a backpack and other young ones in a stroller and go to a park, or just put your children in their rooms and walk house laps! But move. Enjoy some quiet. Pray. Rejoice.


Oh yeah, one more bike lesson. I’ve found that when I dress the way my husband suggests on cold days (non-cotton layers), I can actually keep warm without overheating. Amazing how that works, listening to your husband. And he bought me this cool neon-green windblazer, ostensibly to keep out air blasts, but really so any moving vehicle within a mile will see me.

Comments

mrsd said…
Great advice!
Kara said…
Dad should get one for himself and go with you more often :)

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