As I posted last Thursday, I finally got to ride my new bicycle. My first attempt only went two blocks, when I realized I did not know how to shift from the big front gear/ring to the smaller one. After calling my running friend, Tim Torgerson, in a panic, I went to the NOW sports store where they showed me in 2.3 seconds.
Returning home I tried again to see if I could bike beyond my neighborhood. I did finish nine miles but I was not very comfortable on the bike. Shifting, clipless shoes, cateye speedometer, all felt awkward and new. Fortunately I kept my favorite quote by Ken Blanchard in mind: Unless you feel awkward doing something new, you are not doing something new.
So this morning Tim offered to ride with me and help me become more familiar with my bike. First off, he reminded me to shift back gears often, but mainly stay in the smaller gear ring in front. We then biked about 17 miles together. At one point, he had to make some clothing adjustments and stopped, but I pedaled on, thinking he would catch me soon enough. After being chased for two miles, I slowed and stopped. When he caught me he shared a bike etiquette rule: if someone in a group stops, you stop as well. You don’t know how long the person will need to stop and catching someone on a bike is a big challenge. “Love your neighbor as yourself,” I thought.
Tim also wants me to practice is riding in a straight line, not wandering all around the highway. It is more energy-efficient and less stressful for the other riders with you. To do this I needed to keep my visual focus further down the road, not so short-range. I still had to glance short-range for rocks, bumps or pits, but I needed to look further out to guide the bike in a steady way.
Here lies a spiritual lesson. Too often I am looking at short-range problems or issues, not seeing the larger picture of following Jesus. He not only rides beside me, but he is the long-range direction on whom I need to stay focused. He will keep me on the “straight and narrow.” “But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life.” Matthew 7:14
What is God teaching you lately?