The first bike I really remember was a gold banana bike. If you know what I mean, then we are of the same generation. If not, look it up. It was the cool bike of my generation when they were the rage.
Next was a blue and green Schwinn single speed with a coaster brake. I turned the handlebars upside down so it was sleeker – and I thought – faster. Next was a Montgomery Ward white ten-speed. I was the first in my neighborhood with something like it. And while I was a little ridiculed, all the kids had them within months.
Those bikes of my youth gave me the freedom I wanted. To go places that were slightly off limits, but not so far out of bounds that I couldn’t recover and be back home before trouble had time to brew.
In my early twenties I had a Shogun 300, all back. It carried me everywhere around Boston, regardless of the time of day or time of year. In my late twenties and early thirties, I had a few other bikes, but nothing that was really memorable, especially because career and family were distractions away from riding.
Then in my early forties, I got an inkling of something I loved. Of something that I really used to enjoy. A friend re-introduced me to the then big sport of road cycling, and after I bought my first bike, I was instantly hooked. A few years passed, and I knew that I wanted something special in a bike. And after months of research, posting, talking and thinking, I bought what I call “blue lighting.” A steel frame, made-especially-for-me, one of a kind, human powered machine.
And that’s how faith works for me. I remember those important faith events – like beloved bikes – and they remind me who I am in Christ, and when I reach back to the basics of my faith, I make sense of everyday life. I remember the moment I realized I had accepted Christ, the time I was baptized, the time I told a few people at work – whom I had known for a long time – that I was a Christian.
“May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation” Philippians 1:11. When I remember key faith events, I remember the fruits of my salvation. I see the pattern and the joy of my bikes, maturing over the decades, just like faith. I remember that God is changing me, that God has entirely forgiven me, and that Jesus is my Lord and Savior. The ever-growing pattern of my deepening commitment is clear. That is my faith ride.