One of my favourite meals to eat out is breakfast. There is nothing more lovely than a pot of hot tea, some scrambled eggs and thick toast that someone else has prepared for me first thing in the morning....sitting with the paper, chatting with hubby or merely watching the world go by... it is truly a delightful way to start the day.
Over the years, whilst partaking in such culinary excursions, I have often seen groups of cyclists that migrate to cafes to socialise and savour a few of the calories they have no doubt just earned themselves.
To be honest, whilst scoffing my own eggs, I never really gave them too much thought, except to wonder why they all get so dressed up in full cycling gear and shoes just so they can go out for a leisurely Saturday morning ride. Why not just throw on some trackies and runners... surely that would be easier?
Well, I have to confess... I know why they do what they do.
I am becoming one of them.
A casual cycling invitation from a friend a few weeks back brought about the welcome realisation that riding is something I actually really enjoy and want to do more of.
It had been at least 10 years since I rode a bike... probably more... but there is some truth to the cliche about getting back on a bike... you don't forget how to ride. What I have learned, though, is that riding for sport is a little different to jumping on the bmx with my brothers or riding a few blocks to get to school.
There is stuff you really need.
The same stuff I have seen on all the cyclists around town.
Firstly, there is a very compelling rationale behind wearing padded bike shorts. I know they look anything but glamorous (and trust me, they make you feel as though you have a small towel wedged between your legs); however, the repercussions of spending 2 or more hours on a tiny bicycle seat cannot be underestimated. Need I say more?
Secondly, occasionally while riding, you have need of certain things...a chap stick... a tissue, perhaps... and there is nothing more frustrating than having to stop and unload your knapsack every time... thus, a cycling shirt with pockets in the back is really very useful.
There are also certain obvious necessities... a helmet, a water bottle and somewhere to keep your phone and keys... but honestly, it does not end there.
There are arm warmers, ear warmers, leg warmers, riding glasses, wind jackets, gloves, cycling socks, spare tubes, standing pumps, mini pumps, riding shoes, clips... and a whole bunch of other things I had never even heard of until just a couple of weeks ago.
Despite the fact that some of the products available are definitely optional, they are created to make a cyclist's life more comfortable and to ensure that the ride is as efficient as possible. You can do it the hard way, or you can invest in a few accessories and actually enjoy the ride. I would hazard a guess that not too many keen cyclists can keep up with the long, regular rides without the protective and supportive gear...which is obviously why they all look the part.
In order to get the full benefit of cycling, I am even considering buying riding shoes and pedals... (the full benefit being the fact that, apparently, riding with shoe clips equates to virtually NO cellulite. I am sold!)
I am going to get myself equipped for cycling.... but, more importantly, I am going to continue to press into the Word of God so that I am equipped for living....there will be hills to climb, valleys to coast down and obstacles to get around... I am going to need all the help I can get!
We are so quick to buy every available addition we can for hobbies and sports and the like, yet we so often attempt to ride through life without all of the accessories and benefits God has made available to us! There are so many promises in God's Word which encourage us and guide our way... He arms us with weapons to fight the enemies in our path and He clothes us in His righteousness. His love covers us and helps us to bounce back when we fall.
And what is even better..... the beauty of God's equipment is that it doesn't make you look at all daggy or awkward.
"Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits..." Psalm 103:2