Cycling has been one the ways I have chosen to keep fit but as I prefer to run, I have been a fairly inconsistent cyclist. I therefore recently joined a group of early morning cyclists who regularly cycle about 5 times a week. I did so with some trepidation but when I heard some would bring in their teenage sons my confidence was bolstered. I saw myself as a fit 54-year-old man and I could surely keep up with the teens should their dads leave me in the dust. A few minutes into the ride I quickly learnt that these teens were the pace setters driving, we the older men, into the ground. Once I reconciled myself to being the rear marker my mind opened up to some interesting life lessons.
I had until then ridden by myself and thought highly of myself. Being part of this group showed me my shortcomings and the work I needed to do in order to grow. It was clear that if I consistently rode with them, I would build my stamina and speed, simply put I would improve and grow. I turned my mind to the community I have around and was grateful for their input in growing and maturing me. I pray that I do the same for them.
The members of this group would wait up for me to catch up never allowing me to become isolated and run the risk of giving up. They took turns to ride with me to engage and encourage me. This decision would prove to be a game changer when I fell off my bike. The fall occurred when I hit my brakes hard in order to avoid hitting a car in front of me that had slowed at a bump. My bike slid on the wet ground and the next thing I knew was a one of a kind pain shooting through my left arm. I later learnt in hospital that I had dislocated my left shoulder. Andrew Waititu who at the time hanging back with me was able to act quickly to organise how I would get to hospital, called family, and rallied back the rest of the team. I can only imagine the challenges I would have faced if I were on my own.
We are facing difficult and unprecedented times brought upon us by the Covid 19 pandemic. The protocols for safety call us to isolation, quarantine, and social distance. Whilst we must observe protocols to keep us safe, we must also make deliberate efforts leveraging the tools and channels available to us to connect and keep connected to community. It is in community that we encourage one another, spur one another to good works, sharpen each other and, care and love one another. As written in Hebrews 10:24-25 “And let us consider how to spur one another on to love and good deeds. Let us not neglect meeting together, as some have made a habit, but let us encourage one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
The excellence of this group of cyclists measured by their speed and stamina was a product of their consistency. 5 days a week, every week had delivered results beyond the physical. There were deep friendships nurtured, enviable father-son relationships, a wonderful camaraderie anyone would love to be part off. I was challenged to consistently invest in my human relationships but also in my relationship with God, to build that desirable camaraderie.
My cyclist friends had invested in good bikes, helmets, lights, safety indicators, the works. They also invested in maintenance of this great tools. The net result is an enjoyable ride that delivered the desired goals. I am reflecting on whether I am investing in the right tools for a fulfilling and effective life.