Lessons from the Saddle of My Bike

Monday is for Discussion  (the following was posted 7 years ago)

[I started this post back in early July and I’m just getting back to it now.] 

bicycle 2Turns out 60K on a 40 pound bike is about the limit for my 60 year old bones. I am completely wiped. But I also got to pray through the streets of Sheldon, IL. Today [July 3] was the day I took another step toward my 1,000 mile goal before the snow flies in the Fall. The goal was to do 60K (42 miles). The next goal is to do 60 miles sometime in September-October but by then, I am hoping to have a much lighter bike with better gear ratios.

42 miles is a good bit of time on a bike and beyond trying to ignore the pain in my legs, the fatigue in my muscles, and the stiffness in my right shoulder which somehow absorbs much of the road bumps, it is a good time to pray and think about the wonder of the gospel.

At about 11 miles I stopped to visit Bob and Phyllis Hartman. Body weary but spirit refreshed, I continued my trek. There is something about a goal that drives performance. So I pushed on.  Eventually, I finished the trip, showered and began the rest of my day off.

Now the weather has changed. Every day is a fight against the wind, wetness, or cold. Friday of last week was too windy to be on the bike so I retreated to the garage and pedaled away on my trainer for the equivalent of about 5-6 miles. I hated it.

Pedaling in place for 22 minutes is harder than pedaling down a road. How is that possible? In the garage, there is no wind, no hills, no upgrades of any kind, no rain, perfect smoothness for the tire, no cinders, no trucks, no cars, no farm machinery to pay attention to, no stop signs, no crossings of highways, no deer jumping out in front of you, no dogs chasing you, no railroad crossings to negotiate, no stop lights to pay attention to, no teenage drivers to be wary of, no drivers hurling things from their windows at you, no startling horns, no chickens to dodge, no pot holes to look out for, no drivers cursing you because they didn’t see you soon enough. None of that happens in the garage.

In the garage, I can listen to the radio and sing, and worship. I can sit up straight and take my hands of the handlebars. I can even close my eyes if I want to.

But it is harder to ride in the garage. Why?

Because I can’t SEE any progress. There is no place that I am making progress toward. My GPS stays in one place. I can’t tell how far I have gone or even know the pace at which I am pedaling with any precision. I have to guess. And there is nothing new in my field of vision.

It’s boring.

It turns out, those challenges mentioned a few paragraphs ago make riding the bike enjoyable. Hard but enjoyable.

And that’s true spiritually as well. The challenges of life, and the challenges to daily walking with God are what adds joy to our lives. Doing hard things with the goal of knowing God better is the only way “to grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ.” (2 Pt. 3:18)

Walk with the living God today. Know Him as your Savior and friend. Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness (1 Tim. 4:7). There is great reward in enduring to the end of the journey (Hebrews 10:35-39).

Final note:   I’ve now completed 914 miles toward my goal of 1,000 miles before the first snow.


Bob and Phyliss Hartman who are mentioned in this post have since gone to live with Jesus. I had the privilege of doing both of their funerals. Oh how I miss them. They were such joys to talks to and their heart and love for one another and their Savior was deep and inspiring. This morning I got word that one of my high school classmates died in his sleep last night. His wife, Evelyn, is continuing on without him now. Pray for her and her family that in the days to come, she and the whole of her family will find hope and peace in the gospel.

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