Friday, 22 July 2011
Let me explain.
In an effort to be environmentally friendly and to save the planet I’ve decided to cycle to work instead of taking the car. “Quite laudable”, I hear you say; and you’d better say it because I’ve risked life and limb to save this planet of ours from pollution and whatever else it suffers from.
Besides, gas (petrol) costs so much these days, so a bit of cycling would save me money, I thought. These days when I fill the tank it costs me more than the value of the car itself.
As I was saying before I interrupted myself … I bought a new bicycle and with it a book entitled “How to ride a bike in one easy lesson!” You should read it I think … all one hundred pages of it!
My first difficulty was reading the book and attempting to cycle at the same time. Can’t be done! Not enough hands to hold the book and handlebars simultaneously.
So I rode the bike, leant on a nearby tree on the sidewalk, and read the book.
Passers-by wondered what I was doing but I fooled them by looking at my watch every now and then and pretending I was waiting for someone.
Eventually, I was ready to go. I put the book in the little pannier at the front of the bike, and eased myself gently away from the tree.
For some unexplained reason my feet froze on the pedals and the cycle did not move. It stood still for a second or two and then fell horizontally to the left.
I hit my head hard on the grass verge, but luckily I was wearing my new helmet which softened the blow somewhat akin to being punched hard by a champion boxer. I waited for a count of ten before getting up again.
I leant against the tree, re-read the first chapter of the book, and started again.
Success! This time I fell horizontally to the right and hit my head hard on the firm tarmac. The helmet was not as effective at softening the blow.
Several falls later, five to the left and four to the right, I decided to change strategy.
This time I pressed hard on the pedals as I moved away from the tree. The bicycle moved forward a few yards but then lost momentum and fell … to the right I think!
My determination egged me forward as I eventually managed to turn the pedals a few more times and move further on … wobbling as I went.
And then disaster struck. My trousers got caught in the chain contraption near the pedals and the bicycle jumped forward like a bucking bronco throwing me head first over the handlebars and landing me hard on my back with the bike on top of me still attached to my trouser leg.
The next day I tried again. I really had to master this new mode of transport over the weekend if I’m to cycle to work on Monday.
As they say, necessity is the mother of invention.
I think I’ve invented, or to be more accurate, discovered, a major improvement to be incorporated in the manufacture of bicycles. They should all be fitted with satellite navigation systems as a standard feature.
This is essential, I believe, to avoid the dangers of cycling at some speed into trees, lamp posts, letter boxes and other street furniture.
As I managed to gain forward movement I noticed that my cycle always managed to go straight for a stationary object rather than avoid it as a car would do.
Somehow, the handle bars would wobble left and right yet still propel the bike towards the obstacle it is meant to avoid.
Anyway … what’s all this leading to, I hear you say.
Basically, it’s that this latest experience reminded me of a story an old priest friend of mine told me years ago.
Once upon a time there was a young boy of six who’d been taught by his parents that Jesus is always with him. Protecting him, helping him, and guiding him throughout life.
One Sunday afternoon they all went out cycling in the park. Mom and dad on their bicycles followed by the six-years old on his small tri-cycle!
They cycled gently until they reached a small hill. Easy enough for the parents to climb; but a little hard on the little boy, despite his parents' encouragement.
He pedaled as hard as he could with his little legs but the tri-cycle would not move forward; in fact it was sliding backwards somewhat.
Eventually the boy got off his cycle and said: “It’s no use Jesus. You’ll have to get off the bike and help me push!”
Now why can’t we have as much Faith?