I have had a road bike since 2009. I used the money I earned working The Masters Tournament three years ago to purchase it. I have wanted to ride the Bike Ride Across Georgia for years. Just a day or so after I bought the bike, I rode one day of BRAG.
I have not ridden it a great deal since that day of BRAG. There are several reasons including guilt for leaving home for an hour or two at a time to do something that feels “selfish” like exercise. We live in a congested area of a larger city that does not accommodate the bicyclists with a kind embrace so there is always the fear of being hit by a car. And I have not had the proper pedals and shoes for riding.
Back in March, Stone graciously gifted me with a pair of pedals. Had he not given me this gift, I don’t know when I would have been able to move up to clip-in shoes. The pedals are worth over $250.00. This was a HUGE gift to me … in monetary value and in personal worth. A previous girlfriend bought a bicycle, but never really rode much. He bought the pedals for her, but she never even used them. So one morning this spring while on a visit to his home in Norcross, Stone flipped my bicycle upside down and gently placed it on his bike stand. He took the time to change out my pedals and bless me in a grand way.
I stood there teary-eyed in his garage as I watched him … morning sunlight filtering through trees and illuminating him as I watched from behind. It has been a rare occasion that a man show interest in helping me like that. Nobody has ever looked at my bike unless they were paid money to do so. Not only did he offer to help … but he followed through. He offered expertise and time in an area that meant a great deal to me personally. He took the time to check my gears and brakes and see that everything was working properly. I remember that Stone got nervous when he heard my voice quiver. Emotion makes him uncomfortable. I choked back the tremble, wiped the tear and gathered my composure. But, I was none-the-less overwhelmed with gratitude.
So, I had pedals, but I still had to buy shoes. Within a few weeks, I bit the bullet and purchased clip-in bike shoes. I found a good deal and was able to land a pair for around a hundred dollars. Because they are only worn to ride, they should last me for years. They fit well and are quite comfortable.
Clip-in bike shoes serve an amazing purpose. If you think of the face of a clock, when pedaling a bike, you use a downstroke force from around 1:00 to around 5:00. In regular shoes, the muscle on top of your thigh does the most work in this motion. When you add shoes that clip into your pedals, your foot is now one with the bike and the muscle on the back of your thigh is able to help by pulling UP your foot from 7:00 to 11:00. So, you have increased your power by around 40% by changing your shoe system.
Another thing that stands out about the clip and shoe system is that bike shoes have a rigid sole. All of your energy is focused on the instep of your foot where your foot meets the pedal. Because the sole of the shoe is rigid, there is no flexibility to allow you to waste energy as the pedals make the revolution around and around. As I ride, I can feel a tremendous difference in efficiency between the two systems.
Riding now … feels different … it operates more efficiently … it uses my energy more effectively
and I think of God and His presence my life. I think of the spiritual/physical parallels in my life …
the parallels between the physical world in which we live and the spiritual world that our spirit moves.
When I am clipped in … when I am attached to Him –
through prayer … reading His word … listening to His movement in and through my life –
more muscle groups are used as I pedal through life,
my energy is used more productively,
and I get where I am going with more power.
When I am well-fitted into the proper equipment,
I can recognize the difference in my routine …
in fact, I am quite comfortable while I am growing stronger.
I am strengthened as I more efficiently spin.
An interesting aspect is that, at times, proper equipment for a particular job
involves a rigid “soul” …. a stiffness that might not be an asset in another situation
but at certain times … with certain activities … is very beneficial.
Yes, sometimes, flexibility can be an energy drain … a negative thing.
So, I pedal and I give thanks … for a gifting from a friend, a strengthening in my life, properly fitted equipment and another spiritual/physical parallel shown to me by Heavenly Father who talks to me throughout my days … as I move and spin through life.