Monday, October 5, 2009

Zen & the art of cycling

Back in the day when I was hopelessly lost (1974), one book that I thought to be important was:
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values by Robert Pirsig. This was a text in which he explores the Metaphysics of Quality. The book describes, in first person, a 17-day motorcycle journey across the USA, in which he tries to decide if there is anything such as quality. Yipes, the blind leading the blind.
Now in the glaring light of Jesus Christ, I am learning lessons in every quarter of my life, including scuba diving and cycling. I'll save the scuba lessons for another day, but road biking has become a major pursuit now that I can't compete in b-ball and tennis as I once did.
So, I'm learning lessons on the bike. Often I ride alone due to schedule, but really, cycling is a team sport and best enjoyed in that setting.
One great lesson from riding with others came when I understood the concept of drafting. That is the principle illustrated in nature by geese in a V. What a pleasant surprise the first time I 'got on the wheel,' of a rider ahead in a paceline. It was like hooking up my bike to be towed by vehicle! Saving 30-40% of energy, 'drafting' is staple of pro riding. Check out Levi's teaching,
'Slipstream for Your Soul,' for a nice message on this analogy.

When you are rolling in a paceline, you can see some sweet spiritual lessons:

1. You can do more as part of a group than individually. Suddenly, you are part of something bigger and more effective than yourself. That's what the church is in relationship to the Christian.

2. You don't want to let your teammates down. When you are about to 'bonk,' it's easier to push yourself when other cyclists are depending on you. So, you draw on more than you thought you could deliver. This is where the Holy Spirit comes in, He is the power.

3. When the team is really rolling, 'magically', you feel part of a living organism.
I remember watching Lance and US Postal on the Tour, when they would roll through a stage like a machine, smoothly changing riders at the front, it was a thing of beauty to behold. The church is the most important institution in the world, we should fire on all cylinders and function like a team.

Finally, isn't cool how geese evolved to use the V for drafting while they fly?

No comments: