Just Like Riding a Bike


I hadn’t ridden a bike in years when my sister asked me if I wanted her old one. She said she was tired of trying to balance the bike while standing on her tiptoes whenever she stopped.

Her old bike’s seat was too tall and couldn't be adjusted any lower so she was getting a new one.

Since we’re exactly the same height, I couldn't see how I'd be any more successful at riding it than she was, but I said sure, I’d take it.

My teenager-nephew rode the bike over to my house, leaned it up against the shelves in my garage and informed me the kickstand was broken.

I hopped on to try it out in the driveway and wobbled right back off before my feet could even find the pedals.


My nephew raised his eyebrows and grabbed for his phone to record the spectacle of his auntie trying to ride a bike.

{It's possible he may have even been hoping for a somewhat comical fall to incorporate into his eighth-grade moviemaking hobby.}

I've heard the old saying of course, that doing something again after you've neglected it can be just like riding a bike.

They say a skill once learned isn't forgotten so after you get the hang of it again, it won't be long until it feels natural.

But I'm not so sure about that.



I got on the bike again and pedaled a few yards, but I was shaky and unsteady.

The handlebars veered crazily as I struggled to balance and I realized I'd need some practice to regain my confidence.

That's where I find myself these days.

Hesitantly pedaling on this new path I'm on, hopeful and eager to achieve a cruising speed, but sometimes thinking what I wouldn't give for a set of training wheels!

It would feel so cozy and safe to trust all the things that give me comfort -- my routine, schedule and organized environment -- but they {like the training wheels} would only offer a false sense of security that wouldn't benefit me when I find myself on more difficult terrain.



The thing is, I may want to roll along with confidence and conviction, but God welcomes my dependence on him.

I'm looking for the most direct route to reach my destination because I don't have time to waste and it already feels too late. {Maybe you're feeling this way too, on your journey these days?}

But God is inviting me to experience the intentionality and mindfulness of living in this moment right in front of me.

So as much as I doubt myself and my capacity to handle unsteadiness and uncertainty, I'm going to keep pedaling.



The old adage that says we have to keep moving to maintain our balance -- in life and on a bike -- is true, I guess.

After riding my sister's old bike around the driveway for a few minutes, I squeezed the brakes and jerked to a stop.

I almost fell off since it really was hard to balance on my tiptoes, just like my sister said.

I asked her how she liked her new bike since she'd decided to get a child's bike instead of an adult's.


She said the seat fell off while she was pedaling and she almost ran over the dog so she was looking for some new wheels again.

Since it sounds like biking is going downhill for both of us, I wonder what she thinks about a tandem bike?

Then maybe I could just go along for the ride.



{A little note on the photos: none of the bikes pictured is mine, and I'm a little surprised I take so many pictures of bikes! The photos are from Paris, Rome, Milan, New York, St. Augustine and Cocoa Beach.}


I'm joining my friends at Holley Gerth's place at Coffee for your Heart.



Comments

  1. Valerie, this --> 'experience the intentionality and mindfulness of living in this moment right in front of me.'

    That's what I want.

    I think I'll leave the two-wheelers behind and stride forward on my own two feet. There's safety with solid ground right underfoot.

    So very fine to connect with you again ...

    ;-}

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    1. Hi Linda,
      You're right! I actually was pondering the wisdom of riding a bike again and think it might be safer to just incorporate a more robust walking program to stay on solid ground! Thanks as always, for visiting my little online home here! xo

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  2. The photos on your posts are lovely and transport me to foreign places and I like that. My granddaughter is traveling to Israel with Liberty University on the 16th - she is so excited. I do like bicycles and I can relate to your sister's (and now your) dilemma. Is the bike a 26" bicycle? I've been thinking about getting some new wheels and am inclined to test 24" so I can put my feet on the ground easily. And, of course I want a big European basket on my handlebars - I may even stick a faux baguette in it to play the part. xo

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    1. Hi Susan,
      What a fabulous trip your granddaughter is planning - -it really does sound so exciting! I had fun finding all the bike photos :) and I am laughing at the idea of your basket and baguette -- ooh lala! How Parisian is that?! xoxo

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  3. Yes, keep on pedaling, dear Valerie, no matter how uncertain or unsteady you feel. I love your analogy here. Yes, God wants us to keep us dependent on Him. This is such an encouraging reminder - "But God is inviting me to experience the intentionality and mindfulness of living in this moment right in front of me." Thank you! I want that, too! Love and hugs to you! Oh, and thank you, too, for an update and smiles on your nephew's continuing moviemaking hobby. :)

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    1. Hi Trudy,
      Oh yes, my nephew is still in the moviemaking business (haha!) and still videos all of us when we least expect it! Dependence isn't a thing we often desire but really, it's the best way to get closer to God and hear his heart for us, isn't it?! xoxo

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  4. A set of training wheels definitely sounds like good idea at times! Much better though to keep moving forward, trusting God to help us even in the shakiness and unsteadiness when progress is not as fast as we would like. I love the photos!

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    1. Thanks Lesley! I'm saying yes to keep moving forward, just one step at a time!

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  5. Dear Valerie,
    It really is amazing how many beautiful photos you have taken that include bicycles!
    I think the Lord must have been in this object lesson! At least for me, I can so identify with this: "It would feel so cozy and safe to trust all the things that give me comfort -- my routine, schedule and organized environment -- but they {like the training wheels} would only offer a false sense of security that wouldn't benefit me when I find myself on more difficult terrain.

    The thing is, I may want to roll along with confidence and conviction, but God welcomes my dependence on him."

    Wow, is this a continuous learning process for me. I am so grateful that He does come alongside to help! Thanks for these thoughts that are speaking to my heart tonight. You are in my prayers as the Lord is leading you into new territories! Blessings, love and hugs to you!

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    1. Hi Bettie,
      I had to wonder how so many bikes snuck into my photos without my notice! But I think some areas in Europe are just more populated with bikes than cars, like Paris, where they had stands of bikes you could rent. Thank you for always being here with so much encouragement -- I appreciate you! xo

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  6. "I don't have time to waste and it already feels too late." Yes, Valerie, I'm definitely feeling that these days. The thing is, I don't think those feelings are true. It's not too late, for any of us. God has purposes for us up to the very last minute ... I'm realizing that more and more as I observe my parents in this season of their lives. I think the antidote is exactly what you say--depending on God, moment by moment. Keep pedaling, my friend ... and I'll be right next to you on my bike. (No tandems for me ... I have a feeling me on one of those would be a disaster waiting happen in about two seconds!)

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    1. Hi Lois
      I appreciate your thoughts that it's never too late for any of us and God has a purpose for us, even as we grow older! Somehow it seems that way sometimes, though when you look back and realize that those carefree seasons passed by all too quickly and you've hit mid-life! And I agree with you about a tandem bike -- they do look like they'd be tricky to balance! xoxo

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  7. Once again, I love this so much, Valerie! I definitely relate to seeking comfort in the midst of life, knowing that it is only false security. It isn't easy to handle uncertainty; but God gives us so much as we learn to depend on Him and trust Him for all. I hope you'll finally find a bike that is a right fit for you! Blessings and love to you, friend!

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    1. Hi Ronja,
      So glad to see you here and I heartily second your thoughts of depending and trusting being gifts from God that just happen to appear a little more difficult to open at first, but they are really priceless gems for this journey we're on! xo

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  8. Yes, sweet friend! Keep right on pedaling! Life can sure throw us some hurdles, but by God's grace, we have to keep plugging along. :) I am so excited for you and believing God for amazing and wonderful things in your future! I hate to think how unsteady I would be on a bike these days! I haven't been on one in so many years, and with all the extra blubber I have accumulated, I fear it wouldn't be long before I was sprawled out on the ground. Your nephew could make quite a documentary from that image, I'm sure! LOL! So thankful for you, sweet friend, and trusting God to keep propelling you forward into the awesome things He has ahead of you!!! Sending much love and many hugs your way. :)

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    1. Hi Cheryl,
      Ahh -- those hurdles in life -- we can either view them as roadblocks or see them as a challenge we need to practice jumping over to continue on our journeys, can't we? I'm with you on how unsteady I am too, on a bike these days, but maybe we can view it as a victory that we're just thinking about continuing to pedal! xoxo

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  9. There is a reason I haven't ridden a bike as an adult, and you just illustrated it for me! :) Thanks for the mental images to laugh at.
    Sometimes I think God keeps throwing new stuff at us so we can't get comfortable and complacent. We need to stay dependent on Him!

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    1. Sarah,
      Why didn't I think of that? There's a reason I haven't ridden a bike in years -- it's child's play! haha! xo

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  10. I love all the pictures Valerie! I can see how you may not intentionally have taken so many bike shots, yet likely as bicycles are in abundance in those places you have traveled! It sounds like there is some new pedalling on unfamiliar roads right now for you. In where I live, the extreme change in weather over the seasons can leave pot holes on city bike trails and wash out parts of the trails in the trees. So can be tricky balancing until those get fixed! Your post reminded me how were dependant on God when navigating those trails that seem too far gone to travel on, or too rough to navigate. But He fixes and steadies the path for us. Always a delight to read your writing. So good!

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    1. Hi Lynn,
      Oh I love your thoughts that God navigates the trails and paths with us - so true! I can imagine you're looking forward to some warmer weather in Canada and hoping for some flowery spring trails to try out! xo

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  11. I keep reading that true growth happens outside our comfort zone-- and it sounds like you're on the [bike] path to some new growth in some familiar areas perhaps?!? :) ♥ In my own wondering over here I'm inspired by your stance: to keep pedaling. Thanks for a fun read and I'm glad you're relatively unscathed from your bike riding adventures-- save a little bruised pride maybe?! lol... Love finally catching up with you on the blog again-- somehow I think I missed your post previous to this! Off to read now. ♥xo

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    1. Hi Heather,
      You're missed around the blog-o-sphere :) but I can imagine you're navigating new and exciting challenges through doors God has opened for you. Keep pedaling on your creative journey! xo

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  12. But I want my training wheels back!! Not really but maybe a little? I completely agree...at least I feel like being so out of my element these past few years must have been to put me in a place where I had no other choice but to depend on God or majorly crash! And I’ve had more than a few crashes. It seems like the more comfortable I get the less I believe I need Him. And He’s not about to abandon me to my own devices, at least that’s the best I can understand it all lately. I love this post! I’m going to save it so I can read it again and again when I am about to give in to begging for training wheels.
    Christy

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    1. Hi Christy,
      So good to see you here! And I'm with you on wanting the training wheels -- knowing we have a little help as we bike/navigate life feels so much more secure! But how right you are that the less comfortable we feel, the more we come close to God, wanting his nearness and desiring his heart. We'll keep pedaling together! :) xoxo

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  13. Hi Valerie- So happy to have a chance to visit after such a crazy few weeks. :) I love coming to your blog and reading your beautiful thoughts. I also love the pictures. They make me want to visit. I wonder if you will be traveling again soon? Love these thoughts. I can relate to wanting to be comfortable and feel in control- (very badly) so much so that I think I miss out on a lot. The thing about depending on God that is so great is I build my confidence in Him and it then affords for a much more restful way of living. The work then becomes the trusting and the effort is spent leaning my full weight on him. The heavy work thankfully is his. Often I think that I can do it better maybe or it just feels as you have said more comfortable at first doing it my own way. But in the end it become very painful and tiring trying to tie up loose ends and carry the weight on my own. Such great pictures too! I love the different bikes! Anyway so glad to visit with you here! Hope you have a wonderful Easter!! xoxoxo

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    1. Hi Susie,
      I've missed your lovely posts but have seen the exciting times going on in the life of your family these days! I love your words about building confidence in God resulting in a more restful way of life -- that is so true! I don't have any travel plans at the moment but sometimes a little trip will pop up with the right timing! :) So good to hear from you! xoxo

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