I wasn’t planning to post anything about bike riding for a while but yesterday changed that. Be patient. I promise to change topics next time.
Cycling is popular where I live. Daily I see the cyclists with the skintight shirts hunched over their bikes – whizzing down the roads near me. They have sponsors on their shirts.
I have a bike and like to ride. There are dirt trails in the area where I live that were designed for hiking trails but I thought it would be challenging to ride my mountain bike on them. And it was. It was very challenging to keep my bottom on the bike seat and not on the actual trail. After several falls and one that ended up with me in a back brace for several weeks, I decided to park the mountain bike and start riding on the streets. The only problem was I only had a mountain bike and riding on the streets was quite laborious. I chugged along for a few months until a friend loaned me her bike.
What a difference it was to ride a bike designed for riding on the roads. I felt like I could join the fleet of those bikers in the skintight shirts and bike shorts.
One day I was feeling pretty confident as I “flew” down the highway. Then my seat slipped and flipped backwards. I continued to ride as if it was completely normal to have the front of your seat at a 45-degree angle! I winced; I mean I smiled, as the true bikers passed me.
As I fought with my seat the rest of the six miles home, I thought of what an imposter I was. I had a fairly decent bike, a helmet, gloves, my iPhone mounted on the handlebars and even a Camelback water pack. I liked to think of myself as a cyclist but the truth is I am a mother who is just trying to get some exercise.
I wear my Yoga pants rolled up to look like biker shorts. My helmet was my daughter’s and the only thing in the garage. I wear my everyday tennis shoes – not those fancy shoes hooked into the pedals. (Shoes hooked into my pedals sounds like an accident waiting to happen. I can just see myself having to stop at a stop sign with lots of traffic around and I miss getting my shoe unhooked and fall over!) I definitely do NOT wear a skintight shirt. My iPhone is strapped onto the handlebars and the cord gets caught up in the camelback hose. I do have legitimate gloves and the camelback but I think it is all negated by the fact I have to wear my drugstore “reader” sunglasses in order to see my phone. If the sunglasses do not negate my legitimacy, then the seat that keeps flipping up seals the deal.
I pedal the bike and (sort of) wear the clothes but I am an imposter. I’m not a cyclist. I’m a bike rider.
When it comes to following Christ, how many of us dress the part? Or act the part? We go to the “right” church. We buy the right Bible. We wear the right clothes. We say the right things. But are we really following Christ? Or are we imposters? Are we kind to our neighbors? Do we even know our neighbors? Are we long-suffering? Do we strive to be imitators of Christ?
Sometimes we work so hard to pedal through this Christian life we forget to take Christ with us. The true Christ. The Christ who says, “Come and follow me.”
“Whoever, will come after me, must take up his cross.”
“Love your neighbor as yourself.”
“Pray without ceasing.”
“Bless those who persecute you.”
“You will do greater things then me.”
It is a journey. Six months ago I was riding a bike my kids found in the woods – with tires leaking air. Today, I am riding a fairly decent bike. At least the name is recognizable in the cycling world. A few months from now (after my family has lavished Christmas presents on me – I mean, after my family has tried to help me save face,) I believe I will have the proper pants, helmet and headphones. Then, I will be a cyclist.
As far as our walk with the Lord, we must continually be seeking Him in his word. Seeking Him in those quiet moments.
We must make sure we are going where the Lord is going and not merely asking Him to go where we go.
I do not want to be an imposter. Do you?
There is a postscript to this story. I wrote the above before Christmas and shared the story with my husband. For Christmas I did get biker pants, Bluetooth headphones, pedals and shoes that clip in, a new helmet, and flashing lights. (My husband can take a hint, don’t you think?)
I’ve been riding pretty regularly and was tired of my same route so I loaded my bike into my car and drove to a place I often see other cyclists start their treks. I was feeling pretty confident in my shorts, my cycling shoes and my other gear. That is until the college kids from the triathlon team got out of their cars. Their helmets were more aerodynamic, their shorts were shorter and, apparently, true cyclists don’t wear shirts! The boys go without and the girls wear their sports bras!
Even though I had more of the gear than I did a few months ago, I am still a cyclist imposter. But, this mom got on her bike, clipped into her pedals and took off. And the youngsters didn’t even pass me! Okay, maybe they took another route.
Why the postscript? To further illustrate that we have to keep striving. Last night I read Romans 12: 9-21 and realized this Christian life is a daily journey to be a Christ follower.
But I am going to keep on pedaling!