The Blessings of a 23 Year Old Bicycle
In the spring of 2007, I stopped at a garage sale (something I am highly unlikely to do), and purchased a 1988 Fuji Sport 12 (12 speed) bicycle for $2.
That Fall, I made a new friend(an OPC pastor) who introduced me to Road Cycling. I described my bike to him, and he said, “so when can you ride?” Cracked 23 y.o. gumwall tires and all, we went for a 15 mile ride, and I started getting hooked. We rode throughout the Fall, and the next Spring he encouraged me to start training for a “Century”–a 100 mile ride.
At first, I thought he was joking, but then he pulled out the brochure, and said: “see, if we register on the day of the event, it costs us $5 more, but if it’s raining, we don’t have to do it, and we’re not out the registration money.” So, by the time June 2008 rolled around, I had done some 50 mile rides, and felt queasily confident about entering. The day of, I found out the ride was divided into three 30-some mile sections, with food breaks along the way. The weather was great, so I couldn’t back out. It was hard, it was a bit grueling–I hadn’t trained quite enough–but I was hooked on distance road cycling.
- I have replaced the tires (kevlar-laced tires $25 each),
- I added a high power rear blinking light ($35),
- I made gel-based padding upgrades to the handlebars (of my own design),
- I added three H2O bottle holders (N/C),
- I installed Crank Bros Mallet Clipless Pedals ($16 lightly used on Ebay–which then required $40 Diadora shoes & cleats),
- My cycling friends helped me adjust seat/bars for better riding position.
- Some kind Christian friends gave me a Cateye bike computer (measures & displays mph, cadence, max speed, avg speed, etc.)
- My wife bought me some gel-based gloves and cycling shorts etc.
So, as far as money “put into” the bike, it’s about $143. This bike weighs 32 lbs–I know of ways to lighten it, but this will cost more $–might still do it but not right now. My “weight reduction” has been focused more on the engine, and not so much on the bike.
FYI, for a ride of 20 miles at 15+ mph, the kilocalories burned is roughly 1000. Pretty cool. Even a half hour ride is ~800 Kc. I make rides down to my wife’s family 30 miles south of here and it works out to somewhere around 1500 – 1800 Kc, depending on how much I push it.
I just got back on it after 5-6 weeks off, and I realized how much I missed having the wind
blow through my hair– whistle in my ears on a 35+ mph downhill!
When people ask me why I cycle (beyond answering about the wind in my err umm hair), I tell them that it helps me with my health and ministry as a pastor. The comment I make bothers some, but I then say: “And you know what is worse than a fat Baptist preacher preaching against sin? [Pause] Nothing!”
Every time I ride it I thank God for the physical ability to still do something like this, and pray that He will empower me to do something like this until I am too old/decrepit.
Pastor or Christian in the pew–I cannot imagine many biblical, allowable reasons for allowing our bodies to be grossly overweight or to be adversely affected by health complications due to our eating/exercise habits. Lifelong health problems, aches, pains and a poor testament of God’s Good News await those who allow sloth, overeating, unwise eating, busy-ness, or_________ to get in the way of taking reasonable care of our health. The costs of engaging in results-producing, interesting, and challenging exercise are low, the benefits are high, and in many cases our failure to seek health and wellness is likely a matter of sin and is displeasing to our Creator. We need to let the longer term benefits of working at our health outweigh the instant gratification of gluttony or laziness. Christ is pleased when we remove as many obstacles to our message of Good News as is possible. I have known many pharisaical types who make much of their “standards” when around the Lost, but their inability or unwillingness to exhibit self-control tears down the effect of their Good News witness, and the “testimony” of their “standards.”
May God help us all in our striving for godliness!
I am trying to say all of this without tooting my own horn–after all, it’s been 6 weeks since I was on the bike which also means 6 weeks of no significant exercise. (I did saw and haul 2.5 full cord of wood, but that is different exercise, and I am not trying to count it. Mapmyfitness.com did not have “sawyering” and “wood processing” as a fitness category, so I will not claim any significant exercise in the last 6 weeks. At the present time, I am trying to find a magnet or fluid-based stationary trainer to use in the off season. Craigslist here I come–I am hoping some people get one for Christmas, and either get sick of it, or are selling their old one as they upgrade to a new trainer… We’ll see. I can fall back on running, but at 47 y.o., it’s getting harder to convince my knees that pounding the pavement is good for them!