A recent Bicycling Magazine survey revealed that more than 70% of those that take to the road on a bicycle do so alone. Honestly, I am surprised. I probably shouldn’t be; I hardly ever ride with another human being. But, as the accompanying article pointed out, riding with a group has a number of advantages: Drafting, help with a flat or mechanical, someone to call for an ambulance if you need one, etc.

When I was a kid, I hardly ever road alone. Dad wouldn’t have let me, even if I wanted to – for safety reasons. Still, he didn’t have to make me ride with others. The adventure was always more fun when shared with a friend (there’s a lesson in that).

So why am I now so reticent to ride with another person? In part, the reason has something to do with freedom and convenience. Scheduling a ride with someone else is harder than jumping on my bike when my calendar and the weather permit. Similarly, it’s hard to find someone that rides the same pace that I do. Adjustments will have to be made; and I don’t want to be the one slowing someone down.

So, like most, I ride alone. Well, sort of. Let me explain.

I don’t remember when it first began, but sometime in the not too distant past, God began accompanying me on my rides. I know what you’re thinking (and you’re right): He was there all along. We do take Him with us wherever we go. So, let me say it correctly: I noticed that He was there.

Perhaps it was because I needed Him; or, I just stopped thinking about the ride long enough to notice His presence. Whatever the catalyst, it was an exciting revelation. My rides became more than exercise and a chance to get out of the house; they became a time to talk with the God that gave me the health to ride. I discovered that He had much to say on our rides together.

Sometimes I start my ride with a subject I want to discuss with Him: A question I have, or a passage of Scripture that has me puzzled. Other times, I wait for Him to pick the topic (a time for me to practice getting and staying quiet). There are rides where all I do is pray for those He brings to my mind. Many times He communicates a truth or encouragement He want me to share with them.

I have learned to hear God’s voice on my rides with Him. Sometimes He says very practical things like “go home” or “turn here”. Many times, He shares His mysteries and ways, when we ride. The few times I have finished a ride without some manner of communication have been unenjoyable, frustrating and difficult. Most often, this is due to my getting distracted or becoming self-aware in the ride.

Some of the most enjoyable things He shares with me are kingdom lessons related to riding a bicycle. An example is the lesson I recently posted on Staying Focused. I hope to write many of the others in the near future. For now, consider these lessons while riding… a bicycle:

  1. God is always with us, no matter the activity. His children carry Him wherever they go.
  2. He is patiently waiting for each of us to need Him, or simply recognize He is there.
  3. He always has something to say to those that have a heart to hear, but He will not waste words on those that are distracted.
  4. Once you get a taste of the sweet communion He offers, you will not be satisfied without it.
  5. What He has to share is most often meant to be shared with others. Be careful to write down what you have heard. Of course, you don’t want to do this while you’re riding. Remember, stay focused.

Let me close with this thought. Riding alone is not for everyone. In fact, there are many kingdom benefits to riding with a group: Fellowship, hearing from God in community, the opportunity to disciple, etc. Perhaps the overriding lesson here is to ride as God directs you, prepared to hear what He says; so that you can share it with another.

Humbly yours and forever His,

President, inLight Consulting, Inc.