All Bike Rides Are Good Bike Rides

Admittedly, my recent Interruptions have been serious, direct, and hopefully eliciting prayer.

But during difficulty, during worldwide chaos, when I’m angry with my life and most everybody else, I ride my bike.

Some prefer living in Charleston, South Carolina, where riding a bike on the streets is like being the skinny kid in high school and playing dodgeball against the football team (i.e., cars and pickups don’t like cyclists). Or in New York City where 89 percent of bike riders have been knocked off their bike by someone opening a car door without looking  (OGV statistics). Or in Chicago where you’d be insane to ride a bike.

Give me Springfield, Ohio – connected to the largest network of paved trails in the USA.

When I tell my wife I’m heading off on a bike ride, I could be going to Urbana, Xenia, Dayton, Cincinnati, Columbus, or even Cleveland – all connected to a bike trail a mile from my house.

To be a good cyclist, you need a good motto. My motto is: “Any bike ride is a good bike ride.” 

I’ve come close to being mugged on the path by a guy carrying a gun, been chased by a large black dog while feeling his saliva as he chomped and missed my leg, and almost hit a rope with my neck at 20 mph that some idiot had tied across the bike path.

Remember… all bike rides are good bike rides.

The good bike rides include trying to chase down a younger and more fit cyclist and ending up in the emergency room with dehydration, having my son cut in front of me taking out my front tire with another trip to the emergency room, and being catapulted over the handlebars to land and slide on my face only to wake up an hour later in the emergency room.

I keep telling myself that rides ending in the ER are still worthy of my motto… “All bike rides are good bike rides.”

Why mention thunderstorms, hiding in culverts from lightning strikes, and the large 80-foot tall tree that fell on the path just behind me?

I’m telling you… all bike rides are good bike rides.

I encourage others with my motto. The guy next to the path with a broken hip from a fall, the 18-year-old with a bone protruding through the skin just above his ankle, and a friend who knocked down an attacking Great Dane with mace.

Well, to be honest, I didn’t have the nerve to tell them at the time that all bike rides are good bike rides. But I thought it.

I was more vocal when I saw an older couple heading out on their first bike ride from a staging area. They said they had retired and wanted to start doing something together. I told them the motto but didn’t mention that they were heading toward the area of the last known sighting of the large black dog.

When I started riding the bike trails 30 years ago, I decided that I would mostly ride alone, to be a serial solo cyclist. My ministry takes time, there are many people, lots of problems – so I wanted to get away from the mayhem and enjoy the peace and quiet of a good bike ride.

So off I go on my bike.

There was the time that I had one flat tire miles from home only to have another flat a few miles later – one spare inner tube with me but two spare inner tubes needed – was the only moment that I thought, “Why didn’t I  just stay at work?

Yep, all bike rides are good bike rides – sometimes so good, that they make you want to go back to work.

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