Posted on Wednesday 6 May 2009

My first big-girl bike was a shamrock green Schwinn with no gears, reverse brakes, and a basket. My sister had one identical to it. I rode this simple two-wheeler to elementary school each day in Portland, Texas, and my chief destination was just down the street. I didn’t consider that by riding it I was “going green” in any save-the-planet kind of way. It was transportation, and it took me where the State of Texas required me to go.

When we moved to Houston I began to ride the big yellow bus to school and my subsequently-acquired bikes were more complex, including the bright gold, curve-handled ten-speed I took to college and used to zip my way from one end of the sprawling Texas A&M campus to another.

Now I have no place in particular to go each day, but I am wishing for a bicycle again. Maybe it’s the way spring has blossomed all wavy and wild in my sleepy neighborhood, but I itch to go cruising again. And not bent over, clicking through gears to get there – but the way I did on my bright green Schwinn: slowly, with my head up. Noticing things.

The kind of bike I used to have is now apparently called a “cruiser.” And I’m not sure what my parents paid for the Schwinn, but I’d guess it was $20 or less. It was not trendy. It was functional and fun. Now even for a simple cruiser, the choices seem unending, and the prices, well, silly. I don’t need contrasting colored, high quality aluminum rims, or a seat with memory foam technology, or crazy colored white walls. And I certainly don’t need to fork over upwards of $300.

But simplicity does not come cheap.

There is a cost to moving through life more slowly. Sacrificing speed for attention is not a time saver. Choosing the smaller focus over the broad view is not the sure way to world domination. But limits, I’m learning, don’t mean loss. In fact, whole worlds can open up in the smallest, most obscure vistas. They might even be on my own block. I might even see them today, if I choose to cruise instead of dart and dash.

Calvin Miller writes, “The believer who wants an in-depth affair with Christ must not allow time clocks and ledger sheets to destroy that wonderful holy leisure by which we make friends with God.”

I may find the perfect cruiser. I may not. A used one, perhaps. Or a nostalgically green one. But I can cruise without it, allowing myself moments where I may catch the gently blowing wind of another world, and focus my heart on the nearest window to it.

No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him. (I Corinthians 2:9)

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