Lessons From A Long Bike Ride

Today my bike and I rode in the first leg of the Hilly Hundred, an annual bike tour which covers about 100 miles over a weekend. (We won’t be doing the next leg since it falls on the Sabbath. I can’t say that my legs are complaining about that.) It was a marvelous day – clear blue skies, temperatures in the 60’s and 70’s. Riding with 1000’s of other bikers (I was number 7460) was an interesting experience, totally different from my daily solitary ride. There were some awesome bikes, too. My favorites were a double tandem with Mom, Dad, daughter, and stuffed animal as riders, and a tandem pulling a 1/2 bike extension for a child AND a baby cart behind that.

And the ride lived up to its name – “The HILLY Hundred.” One fun thing about organized rides is that the hills have names. There was “Cemetery Hill” and “The Three Sisters” for a series of hills, which, as a man riding near me at the time noticed, would have been better named “The Four Cousins” since there were four killers in a row, not three. Now, I ride hills like these every day, but there’s a difference when you are on a 10 mile ride and a 50 mile trek. By the end of a long ride hills take on a more daunting look than they do when you are still fresh.

In recent days on my rides I’ve been thinking about the similarities between the hills I meet and trials that come in life. I’ve tried to decide whether I prefer the short intense hills or the long gradual ones, and have wondered if I can draw a parallel between short, intense trials and those long, less serious but ongoing grinding ones. While I can pick my bike route to include the kind of hills I feel up to that particular day, I’m really glad that I have no choice over what kind of trials come my way. For the Hilly course we received a map with the route and an elevation profile, showing where the hills would be, and how steep they were. How good it is that we do not have such a map of our lives, which would cause me to live in fear of the future! God’s grace comes as we need it, not in advance.

One small thing that helped on the Hilly, especially nearer the end, was the encouragement of fellow riders. We all wore tags on our backs with our names, so strangers could ride up and greet you by first name. Several times people said kind, encouraging words to me as we were making an ascent. It surprised me a bit how much these words made a difference. How much more important are our words to our brothers and sisters as we all “run the race” that really matters.

Here’s just one more thought about hills and trials. I was remarking to Tim recently how life seems to just get harder as the years go by. He told me that my perspective was off. I thought of this today as I rode. How easy it was to not enjoy the exuberance of the downhills, or the steadiness of the flats, and just look for the next hill. It was a good reminder for me to not just focus on the difficult things and times of life, but to enjoy all parts of life, knowing that He has planned perfectly every season and time.

Heb 12:1 ¶ Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,


mrsd said…
Good thoughts. I too need to enjoy each place I am, because lots of times, I don't! I'm trying to work on that.

Popular Posts