I've been hiding away from the blog lately, for which I apologize. I've even had a couple of posts cued up, but have been largely unhappy with my writing. This, of course, is great news for someone who is desperately trying to finish a book by the end of the month.
I think is super important to make sure to set goals for yourself for growth. It's one thing to say I want to be a better person, and a completely different thing to say I want to be a better person in these particular ways. It's a different thing to write those goals down. It's a different thing to tell people who will hold you accountable to those goals. So I have been telling just about anyone who will listen that my goal for cycling this year was to be a four season commuter. I want to greet my colleagues at Westminster on the the most miserable Pittsburgh snowy day while I'm perched atop a cycle, exposed to the elements. There will be pride on my face that day, no matter how many layers of face mask you would have to rip off to find it.
So with all of that in mind, the J-Blog presents a weekend tale of cycling.
This past weekend was the National Youth Workers Convention in Cincinnati Ohio (a city no one should ever get excited about). A group of us were going to drive down together, and Sarah's car needed some work anyway. So we dropped Sarah's car off at the shop, loaded all my gear for the weekend into a backpack duffle (weighing in at dang near 50 or 60 pounds with books and laptops and such) and hit the road to the church on my bike. It's just a four mile commute, so even with the extra weight it was really no big deal. I stashed the bike in a room at Westminster I knew was unlikely to be used and hit the road with the gang.
As we were driving home though, it was clear that snow was an issue. And actually, we rolled through an accident scene that made it clear that black ice was an even bigger issue. I have always been a wuss about driving through hazardous snowy conditions, and it was no different on the way home from Cincy. But then the thought crossed my mind: I need to bike home. With the gear. Lots of it.
When we got back to the church I reorganized everything and threw a very nervous leg over my bike. I started to watch the road underneath me, and realized I had no way to tell what was clear pavement and what was icy. This particularly rang true on the fresh pavement of the high school, as it all just looked like a miserable mess. I descended that hill with both hands pulling desperately against the brakes, probably topping out at 2 mph. It wasn't pretty, but it got done.
So I write this post for two reasons: One is that I would like you, the internet community, to join in my accountability of trying to be a winter cyclist. I realize now that I will likely be more scared than I gave myself credit for when the project began, but that this fear is one that I can overcome. The second is a point that I've made time and time again, but that bares repeating, namely that we ought to do our best to force ourselves to slow down every once in a while. On Sunday night, riding home uncertain about conditions around me, I realized that I was taking in more nature and beauty in my short little commute that I usually do, and it was breathtaking. I certainly would have missed it if I just drove home. I probably would have missed it too if conditions were a bit more perfect. But once I settled in and figured out what I was doing, I got to take in the show. And God rarely disappoints when you slow down to watch the show. It can be a beautiful thing.
More to come!