Singleness, Bicycles, Riding in London, Church Family
Last week, I inherited an Edinburgh Bicycle Cooperative Revolution Pathfinder bicycle* from an associate who was leaving to get married and manage admin for a summer camp organisation just starting up in London. Said associate had inherited the cycle from another associate who had also just gotten married – to the person who started one of my favourite online bookstores. Fortunately, I don’t subscribe to superstition of any kind that might suggest that the marriage thing would be passed on along with the hybrid ride. Which is a relief. (However, those wanting to get married say they’ve been helped greatly by this article by Emma Thornett in The Briefing, that exposes and challenges some of erroneous value-assumptions about being “spoken-for”. This article on sanctification in a season of singleness is also generally helpful.)
The brakes were in poor shape so I took the somewhat rusty steed down to the monthly community bicycle maintenance club in my London borough for some TLC. A very kind gentleman lent me his tools and talked me through changing the V-brakes. Alot of grease, WD40, and GT85 on the bike, my clothes, and my face, and floor, and under my nails later, plus a good amount of patient fine-tuning and adjusting, the brand new brakes worked like a charm. The front brake tuning was the most perfect he had seen, said the gentleman, who then protested that he wasn’t exaggerating. Well, as long as my own handiwork doesn’t kill me…that would just be plain embarrassing…
It’s interesting how something like the acquisition of a bicycle changes one’s perspective of one’s city: London seen from the hard seat is so much more interesting and smelly and explorable, but so much grittier – the impatient honks, the taunts and curses of jaywalking pedestrians, the heat from the engine of the red London bus bearing down behind you… And now, the blue Barclays Cycle Superhighway is suddenly an extremely welcome sight.
Having to be measured out for the bicycle and for necessary accessories brought the weirdness of my body into focus. I never knew I had a head so big that only XXL helmets from a certain brand would fit. Thankfully, summer sales meant a very good discount on Bern helmets. (Oh dear, I’d said to the sales assistant as he scrounged around for the XXL, I didn’t realise my head was so huge. It’s not polite for me to comment on the size of customers’ heads, he smirked.)
The arrival of a bicycle also affects one’s whole household in some way: I asked a housemate to get me some WD40 from the supermarket. Said housemate, upon asking for the lubricant (with unfortunate accompanying hand actions), was duly shown the toiletries section. Still blushing hours after, this housemate has sworn never to buy anything on my behalf again.
We were just talking tonight about how coming into a relationship with Christ changes the whole of one’s life. Well, if the mere acquisition of an inanimate object can change one’s life so significantly, how much more would coming into a relationship with the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe? How much more would one’s life change to know that one has been so loved by Jesus that he chose to who die for us, God’s enemies, to save us from the wrath of God? And how much much more would one’s life change if now, as children of God, we belong to a new family all over the world. Your perspective and worldview must necessarily change; as must your priorities and values and relationships with others. It isn’t being a “fanatic” (in the usual sense of someone who has extreme unreasonable enthusiasm for a foolish cause). Just 3 hours ago, a Curate was empathising with a particular sad situation I was facing at the moment. When asked for a biblical reason for doing so, since the sad situation was purely of my own doing, he said (i paraphrase) that as family, we mourn with those who mourn and rejoice with those who rejoice (Romans 12:15). It would have been the warm fuzzies all around, if someone of the same gender hadn’t grabbed and attempted to smother me with friendly kisses at that point, by way of greeting.
In other news, because it is only on very rare occasions that I remember my dreams in the morning, it is worth noting that last night, I dreamt, not of bicycles and bike rides, but of having a great discussion with several people about general and specific revelation.
And other people get to dream in colour…!
- the frame is aluminium alloy, as are the micro adjust seatpost and the adjustable rise handlebar stem.
- head tube is noticeably longer than an MTB frame’s while the top tube is shorter. This makes the handlebars simultaneously higher yet closer-reach, thus enabling a more upright riding position and therefore less strain on the back; less crick in the neck; less pressure from the nose of the saddle and less weight on the hands and wrists.
- eyeletted seat stays and dropouts make it pannier rack and full mudguard compatible.
- chromoplastic mudguards.
- SunTour alloy chainset with disc chainguard.
- Shimano 21-speed EZ Fire gear shifters – very light action means they are as easy to use as their name implies.
- alloy wheels – lighter weight and better braking surface than steel rims. QR (quick release) for convenience – no need to carry a spanner to remove the wheels. [This means it’s easier for unauthorised third parties to lift as well.]
- Tektro V-brakes are the best Shimano copies we’ve had the pleasure to use.