Now that it is getting warmer here in Michigan, our “Slow Roll” bicycle group has started up again. This is a group of 10-15 people that meet in the parking lot of the local senior center every Tuesday night at 5:30 p.m. On most Tuesdays, we make a loop around the neighborhoods bordering the center, about 10 miles at the most. We have a very capable leader, Myron, who plans the route, informs everyone where we’ll be going and then once on the ride makes sure that the group stays together and is safe. Once a month, we meet at a trailhead on the outskirts of the city.
I am gaining more confidence with each ride, but haven’t always had good experiences, from the time I crashed my brother’s brand new 10 speed into the car parked across the street, to the first slow roll ride last summer when I bumped into Al’s bike from behind and knocked him over! It’s not the bicycle’s fault — just the rider, who tends to be naturally klutsy…or maybe easily distracted.
A few of us met up for one of the Tuesday night rides recently, looking forward to getting away from the constant flow of traffic on city streets. It was a nice day, cool enough to be comfortable and not too crowded as we started down the graveled path. There were a few other bicyclists, joggers and people walking dogs; so it was necessary to be alert and ready to slow down or maneuver around them if necessary.
However, there weren’t enough obstacles in the path to be a problem, except for the three round red poles that were placed in the ground a couple of feet apart every time the trail came to a street crossing. The poles weren’t really a problem either. There was enough distance to ride between them as long as we slowed down. Their purpose was to deter cars from driving onto the trail and also to alert people using it to the intersections, some of which were very busy.
The part of the trail we took wound through a nature preserve and skirted a small lake. There were pond turtles sunning themselves on logs as we passed by. It took concentration to stay on the path! We even had to go around one adventuresome turtle who had decided to cross from one side to the other. Such a welcome sight though and a nice change for us city dwellers.
After about four miles, we stopped for a hydration break and then turned around to go back to our cars. I crossed one last intersection, keeping my eyes open for vehicles in the road and then looked ahead to the three poles. But instead of going around the middle one, I rode right into it and ended up on the ground! What a surprise! I had to laugh. Running into the pole? Really?
Well, the bike was bent a little and I was bruised a little, but thankfully nothing more drastic happened. The whole group did an about-face and Al gave me a hand up. After Myron straightened the bent bicycle, we were able to get on our way again. I only had a pulled muscle and a few bruises as reminders to pay attention to what I was doing!
Students in school are very familiar with the command, “Pay attention!” How many times do they hear it during the day? Since learning doesn’t end with graduation, this is one lesson that I am still trying to master. Whether it involves watching the road or trail, listening to people who are speaking to me, taking what I read in the Bible to heart, being alert to what the Lord is telling me to do or not to do, noticing the miracles in the world around me...I need to pay better attention! Help me Lord!
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV
“Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.” — Proverbs 4: 25-27 NIV
Judy Lowery lives in Michigan. The Good News column appears regularly in The Porterville Recorder. You can read more at Judy’s blog, goodnewswithjudy.blogspot.com.