Bicycling or Biblical Studies – which comes first?

Don't they look great in spandex?

Our second son Thomas has two dueling passions – his love for Christ and his love for cycling.

Of course, we know where his actual priorities actually lie, but we can’t help giving him a little grief about it now and again.

Rembrandt's painting entitled The Mennonite Preacher Anslo and his Wife, possibly a harbinger of things to come.

Thomas and his older brother Paul share this passion together.  That’s not the only thing they share.  They both have a strong competitive spirit.  They frequently ride together, and they quietly relish the moment when one of them is able to make the other one “hit the wall” – a biking term for running out of gas.  Having been raised by a demure, quiet, and humble Mennonite woman, neither of them are prone to draw attention to themselves, or to the one that has been vanquished, but the truth does come out in a subtle form, one way or another.

Up until this point Paul has had the upper hand due to a number of reasons.  A couple of summers back Thomas came down with mono and it took him all summer to get back into condition.  Last summer he complained that his bike was 8 pounds heavier than Paul’s, a huge disadvantage when every extra ounce is critical.

For the uninitiated, this is the cycling transfer they put on the back of the pickup.

The Orville Cycling Club races every Wednesday evening, a group that Paul has been a part of for some time.  Unfortunately, Wednesday night is when Thomas is responsible for the weekly youth activity at the church.  To my knowledge, he has not had the opportunity to race with Paul with this group, another unfair advantage that Paul has over Thomas.

This summer Thomas picked up a different bike that is the same weight as Paul’s.  From what I’ve been told, it is game on.

After six years of being a youth and associate pastor at our church in Kidron, Thomas is moving on.  Where to, he is not exactly sure.  One thing we do know is that June 10th is his last day at the Kidron Mennonite Church.  He then drives out to Colorado for board meetings, after which he has no current plans for the rest of the summer.

Another decal on the back of the van. Notice the interesting use of the bicycle chain integrated into the logo.

He is driving out there in his Neon, and not just any bike carrier was good enough for him.  He is not just a road warrior, but also a serious off-road mountain cyclist.  This requires two uniquely different styles of bikes, both of which he is taking out with him to Colorado.

He had a friend of ours jury rig a serious bike rack, one that carries two bikes, and also allows him to open his trunk without removing the bicycles.

I understand he won’t be climbing Colorado’s 14,000 footers on foot; he’ll be going up them on his mountain bike.

The conditioning that these guys go through to prepare them for racing is demanding.  They pay strict attention to their diets, especially the day of a race.  What they ingest is critical to their endurance.  What they consume after this race is a different matter.

To keep them from “hitting the wall”, while riding they ingest a viscous substance called goo.  It comes in tubes which they squeeze into their mouths while riding at full speed.  I understand it is high in sugar, providing much needed instant energy.

the goo dispenser.

Thomas is considering attending a seminary this fall to pursue his M-Div.  Which school he will attend has not been decided yet.

Six years of working with youth has provided for him an excellent background in ministry which will stand him in good stead as he looks to continue to serve others while serving the Lord in some capacity, probably in a pastoral position of some kind.

The church will need to be forewarned that cycling will continue to be high on his priority list, but at the same time be assured that it will not be a distraction, but rather an enhancement to his future aspirations.

Note the custom welded trailer hitch on the back of his Neon - not exactly your Grandfather's bike rack.


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