Saturday was a really beautiful day. The sun was shining and the air crisp, good conditions for the ride and walk a group of us were about to embark on to raise money for and awareness of The Dale. I borrowed a nice bike from a friend since the one I could have been riding needed some major repair. We gathered at the start line and began our picturesque ride to the Leslie Street Spit. Well onto the road, as I chatted away with someone, I was suddenly aware of the murmurs of my teammates from directly behind me.
I can’t quote verbatim, but it went something like this: ‘Erinn’s seat is too low. Do you notice that she should be in a higher gear? I think her back tire is soft. She’s working way harder than necessary’. Though in mid-conversation I stopped and said, “I can hear you talking about me!” I think I even inferred that their commentary of the bike issues felt like a description of my sometimes-life: everything a little askew and more work as a result. What ensued was laughter and agreement that the situation was ripe to be made into a sermon illustration or life lesson.
We finally pulled over and Joanna raised my seat. I hadn’t even realized it was a problem until she pointed it out. Let me tell you, it is amazing the difference such a seemingly small change makes. Suddenly my legs could extend, creating momentum I didn’t have before. As Joanna’s dad pointed out, being up higher meant I had a better view. Eventually I sort of got the gears in the right place. The soft tire never got fixed, but I’m certain if it had my speed would have picked up.
Clearly, I’m no professional cyclist, though I do like to ride. I love the wind on my face. I love even more what being on a bike last Saturday reminded me of, that: I have friends who are looking out for me, noticing my weak spots, and finding ways to ease my load; a little air in my “tires” can go a long way; and small changes make a big impact. It is somehow comforting to be reminded of these simple truths, especially when life can be so overwhelming and such a lot of work.
By Saturday afternoon I was home. The stress I felt leading up to the big event (not so much the ride, but the fundraising) finally subsided, leaving me a good tired. I told Cate I needed to have a nap and escaped to my bed, where I’m certain I dreamt about the morning. I was riding along the spit, surrounded by my teammates on a bike the perfect size for me, with a properly positioned seat and fully inflated tires. I don’t remember much else, except that it felt like I could have cycled forever.