A few weeks ago I went for a ride with a couple of friends of mine. We hadn’t ridden together before, but had talked frequently about our love of cycling both as a sport to watch and as something to do. After months of saying we must go for a spin together, the alarm clock woke me early on a Saturday (early for me that is – we don’t tend to do early on Saturdays) and I slipped down for a quick breakfast popped on the cycling strip (yes I am a MAMIL – ‘middle aged man in lycra’) and pushed out the bike to meet them. Cycling with someone you’ve never ridden with before involves ground rules, for example, what do you do if one of you is lagging behind? How about hills, do you go your natural paces and then meet at the top, or do you strike up a shared pace and stay together? And maybe the most important question of all, who sets the pace? I consider myself a good cyclist. I’ve cycled all my life, and it’s one of the few sports I have a good physique for with little body weight to drag along, even if the legs look ridiculously skinny beneath the shorts! Agreements made, off we went, and boy was it fun. We did some 30 miles up and down the hills around Essendon, Brickendon and Bayford and were home for a mid-morning cuppa.
I discovered a few things about myself that morning. I might be a good cyclist, but they were better. Whereas I tended to ride at 16mph on the flat, they preferred 20mph, and so I had my work cut out to keep up. I was fine on the flat but towards the end I was struggling on the slopes, and every pot-hole sent my legs to jelly (strange phrase I know, but if you’ve been there you’ll know what I mean!) I kept feeling that I had reached my limit and soon they’d stop noticing I wasn’t there and leave me behind in a crumpled heap on the floor! Fortunately they were gracious and kept stopping for me and I made it around, promising myself that I’d have to put in more practise and pedal harder and faster so that next time we rode I would be able to stay with them. And that is what I’ve done. On the flat 20mph is no longer the test it once was, and the slopes are getting easier. If I keep at it I am sure that next time I will find it comes much more naturally to me.
Our recent Bible notes in James started with Paul’s attitude towards suffering. He wrote, in James 1:2-4, ‘Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.’ I wonder if in some small way I have found the truth of this on two wheels.
Church newsletter article 25.05.14