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The Spiritual Analogy of Cycling. Motivation. Recently took up cycling for exercise Physically very exhausting for an unfit person Prompted thoughts about how to ride better About the strategy of riding, and being efficient

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  • Recently took up cycling for exercise
  • Physically very exhausting for an unfit person
  • Prompted thoughts about how to ride better
  • About the strategy of riding, and being efficient
  • To avoid thinking about exhaustion, related these thoughts to spiritual matters
  • Why cycling?
  • Mostly a sport of endurance
  • Parallels to our walk in the Lord
  • Tour de France – one of the great world sporting events
  • Most time spent going uphill
  • The following aspects will be referenced throughout the presentation
  • Key performance metrics
    • Average speed
    • Max speed
    • Time
    • Cadence (rpm)
    • Energy output
    • Slope grade
    • Heart rate
    • Elevation
  • Just my thoughts – I am no cycling expert.
  • This is not about “Cycling for Jesus”.
1 push when riding downhill
#1 Push when riding downhill
  • After an uphill climb on the bike, it is tempting to recover on the other side by coasting or pedaling very gently.
  • However, if you switch to a high gear, and keep tension on the chain, and pedal, you reap the benefits at the bottom of the slope when the next hill comes.
  • Your momentum & speed makes the next climb easier.
1 push when riding downhill1
#1 Push when riding downhill
  • In the Lord, too often we take our foot off the accelerator when we are feeling good (on an easy slope).
  • If we push, push, push even when we are content and strong in the Lord, the next trial will be overcome more easily.
  • Doing anything else will lead to a yo-yo effect.
  • We need to use our trials to propel us through the next one.
1 push when riding downhill2
#1 Push when riding downhill

Galatians 6

  • 8For he that sows to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that sows to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
  • 9And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
  • 10As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
  • 9 We can't allow ourselves to get tired of living the right way. Certainly, each of us will receive [everlasting life] at the proper time, if we don't give up. (God’s Word)
2 air resistance
#2 Air resistance
  • When riding, you will feel air resistance.
  • Even when you are riding WITH the wind.
  • (Usually your speed would be faster than the wind)
  • This obvious fact first struck me when I rode past a propane station. I was riding into air resistance, but only smelt the propane once I had got past the station, suggesting I was riding with the wind.
  • You will always feel air resistance.
2 air resistance1
#2 Air resistance
  • We have the Holy Spirit, God is on our side.
  • Yet we are surprised when we encounter trials, obstacles, resistance.
  • The Lord said this would be the case.
  • Though the Lord is with us, we still feel resistance because the majority of the world is against us.
  • Even so, it is better to be riding with the wind (the Spirit) than against it (think Jonah!)
2 air resistance2
#2 Air resistance

Matthew 10

2And you shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endures to the end shall be saved.

Matthew 11

  • 28Come unto me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
  • 29Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest unto your souls.
  • 30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
3 don t stop
#3 Don’t stop
  • Don’t stop pedaling at any time.
  • Even if you are fatigued, don’t stop turning your legs over.
  • Giving yourself the option of stopping for a rest weakens the riders mind. Will slow physical progress.
  • Better to pursue fitness and resilience.
  • Be steady and consistent.
3 don t stop1
#3 Don’t stop
  • Cycling trainer’s advice:
  • “As tempted as you might be, don't take a day completely off the bike after the week's hardest effort. The best way to recover is with a short, easy spin—30 to 60 minutes at a pace that always allows effortless talking.”
3 don t stop2
#3 Don’t stop
  • Spiritually, allowing yourself to “take a break from things” is a step in the wrong direction.
  • Weakens your armour.
  • Allows for habits that won’t help in the long run.
  • Rather, always be making at least some positive progress every day.
3 don t stop3
#3 Don’t stop

1 Thess 5:17

Pray without ceasing.

James 1:12

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. (ESV)

Psalm 17:5

Hold up my goings in thy paths, that my footsteps slip not.

James 1:4

And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

4 ride smartly around obstacles
#4 Ride smartly around obstacles
  • Avoid objects, potholes, anything that can cause you to fall.
  • Corrugations – sometimes riding faster over corrugations can make the road easier.
  • Don’t take risks – the consequences can be great for the vulnerable rider.
4 ride smartly around obstacles1
#4 Ride smartly around obstacles

Romans 16:17

I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. (ESV)

2 Timothy 2

  • 23 But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.
  • 24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,
  • 25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
  • 26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.
5 shifting up a gear
#5 Shifting up a gear
  • Sometimes while riding uphill, it is just easier to revert to the lowest (easiest) gear.
  • However, if you change up a gear, you can gain speed with only a little extra effort.
5 shifting up a gear1
#5 Shifting up a gear

Jeremiah 33:3

Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.

6 the importance of cadence
#6 The importance of cadence
  • A smooth, fluid pedal stroke combined with a good cadence is an integral part of riding fast and efficiently.
  • Cadence = pedaling speed (rpms)
  • If you are riding with a high cadence in an easy gear, pedaling is going to tax your cardiovascular and respiratory systems. If you have a strong heart and lungs, you can probably hold a fast cadence for a long period of time. Because of the easy gear, it will produce less strain on your muscles.
  • Low cadence riding in a hard gear taxes your skeletal muscles, specifically your quads. Since you’re using a big gear, you have to apply lots of force to turn it.
  • Your heart and lungs can take repeated punishment for long periods of time (and they recovery quickly after hard efforts,) while your muscles will fatigue relatively quickly.
6 the importance of cadence1
#6 The importance of cadence
  • Every cyclist needs to find their most efficient cadence.
  • What then if they are cycling too lightly?
    • They are performing poorly or not getting the most out of their ability.
  • What if they are cycling too hard?
    • They may harm their performance in the long run due to fatigue.
    • From a trainer: “Probably 95 percent of the people I coach or ride with are going too hard, too often, to reach their fitness goals. Some high school or college coach along the way has them believing in the old adage of no pain, no gain, and that's the last thing we want our athletes doing.”
  • So there is a balance.
6 the importance of cadence2
#6 The importance of cadence

1 Corinthians 13:11

When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.

Ephesians 2

  • 8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
  • 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
  • 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
7 training
#7 Training
  • There is no way to get better at something unless you practice and train.
  • No way to get fit without exerting yourself.
  • There are no shortcuts for getting fit and healthy (despite claims of easy pills).
7 training1
#7 Training
  • There are no short cuts to the Lord’s instructions, whether salvation or walking in the Spirit.

Genesis 6:22

Noah did everything just as God commanded him.

8 keep focus on the road in front of you
#8 Keep focus on the road in front of you
  • Vision distance is important.
  • Keep your eyes on the immediate road in front of you, to watch out for obstacles.
  • Looking up at the hill in front of you may overwhelm you mentally.
  • Don’t focus on the entire task, but what you are doing to consistently ride.
8 keep focus on the road in front of you1
#8 Keep focus on the road in front of you
  • Looking “up the hill” will get you disheartened and put more focus on natural vision over spiritual vision.
  • Don’t put the focus on the trials and tribulations. Focus on the overcomer.
  • Keep the end goal in your mind.
8 keep focus on the road in front of you2
#8 Keep focus on the road in front of you

Philippians 3:14

I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Matthew 6:34

Take therefore no thought for tomorrow: for tomorrow shall take thought of the things for itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

9 keep things fresh
#9 Keep things fresh

Ride new roads once in a while, says Tom Zirbel of Pro Cycling:

"Bust out a map and explore. The variety will help you stay engaged and may lead to some exciting new discoveries."

9 keep things fresh1
#9 Keep things fresh

There’s nothing for staying fresh like getting out, preaching the gospel, and seeing the Lord work in all manner of ways!

Hebrews 10:24

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Romans 12:11

Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.

  • In cycling races when riders cross the finish line in a group, everyone gets the same time.
  • We are riding with our brothers and sisters as a team, and all receive the same prize.
  • So while you may sometimes feel like this….
  • 1 Corinthians 9
  • 24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.
  • 25And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.
  • 26Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. 
  • 27But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.