10 February 2014

The Cycling Clergyman: Fourth Installment

This week was a tragic week, Marcus Nalls, a 26 year old chef was struck and killed by a drunk driver near the Franklin and Harriet Ave.  intersection.  Mr. Nalls was doing everything right, he was wearing a helmet, had front and back lights and was still struck and killed.  I volunteered my efforts as a clergy person for the memorial bike ride.  Before going I took one last look at my front wheel only to discover a front wheel axle nut missing and a front wheel about to come off.  I ran down to Bikes and Pieces, he gave me the proper nut, ran back home and fixed my wheel but it was too late by then to attend the service.  I want to thank the organizers for taking the time and energy to organize such an event.  I hope that I and others do everything we can to make sure Mr. Nalls' memory is kept alive. 

The week of biking went well.  The missing axle nut is a witness to the beating a bike takes riding in the winter over the ice and snow packed onto the streets.  I am thinking of installing front shocks on the bike I am preparing for this spring and summer.  Every morning when it is bitter cold I have to talk myself into riding and not taking the bus.  I like riding but what a hurdle it is to mentally prepare myself for the cold rides.  When it is below zero and I am riding and before my body has yet to warm up I say a simple mantra to get me through, "Mother Earth, I hope you appreciate this.  Mother Earth, I hope you appreciate this..." 

I did, however, take the bus one morning.  I had to be in the Longfellow neighborhood and it was below zero.  When I arrived on Lake Street I hopped on board the same bus as last week.  When my stop approached I walked up to the front and informed the driver that I quoted him in my sermon last Sunday.  "How so?" he asked.  I recounted his words during the midst of the snowstorm, he offered to a questioning soon to be rider, "just get in, we are all behind. I'll get you where you need to be." He smiled and asked, "is that what I said?" Then chuckled and said "alright". Alright indeed.

Finally, probably my biggest concern about my bike experiment centered on conducting pastoral visits.  Would I be able to do them in a timely manner?  So far, the answer is yes.  Three new insights have arisen.  One, I am working more efficiently.  Not having a car has forced me to plan my days better.  Thus, more is getting done (from my perspective only).  Two, not having a car always available has opened the doors to others asking if I would like to borrow their car.  I tell them thank you and then invite them to join me on a visit.  Riding together then turns out into a neat pastoral visit/conversation by itself.  Three, I plotted all of the home bound/elderly members on a Metro Transit map and guess what?  Nearly all are on or near a bus line or bike path!  

Furthermore (I just love that word) I have been in the process of rediscovering and re-loving my commitment to of the Social Gospel (look for more in forthcoming posts). 


1 comment:

Charles ten Bensel said...

Wonderful to see you in bike mode in the frozen tundra! Bike on Travis!