Of Bikes and Men

Posted on July 27, 2011


By John

Recently I had my new (to me) mountain bicycle stolen off our front porc, leaving a lonely front tire still chained to the porch post.  My heart’s reaction to this was poor. It immediately was filled with  anger, dejection, resignation, self-abasement, judgement, and a thousand imagined revenges upon the thief.

I really like to ride. When I ride to work, it is 7-8 miles each way and I love the crisp morning air, the view of the rising sun off the spokane river, and the feeling of rejuvenation and energy I have when I am done. I also love the idea of being a cyclist, of telling people I ride that far to work. As pathetic as it sounds, I want people to think I am that tough.

I have another bike that I have been riding for some time, an old Peugeot road bike that originally came with a light and white wall tires. It is a funky old thing that the thief accurately assessed as having little value and left it alone. The stolen bike was the nice one. Though used, it was in good condition, and as a Specialized Rockhopper, it carried far more status than my Peugeot.

Though I don’t like to admit it, what I am really mad about is that what the thief took was my status. He stole my glory. I wanted to show up to work looking cool and urban jungle tough. (Not that Spokane is anywhere near an urban jungle, and it may not even be urban.) I am captivated by my imagined image of myself.  I am continually thinking about what I look like in the eyes of other people.

Confession: Realizing this chews me up and spits me out. I am not free to be who I really am because I want to know that I have an image that is appropriately, manly, tough, or whatever I think is cool at the moment. I have forgotten that who I really am is not defined by who you think I am. As a Christian, it is determined by something far beyond that. God tells me that I am rescued from that hamster-wheel living of seeking my identity in what others think. He tell me I am adopted. I am free. I am His.

Bikes are not all that interesting once you have been rescued from your need to have your image be your god.

I still like to ride though and if you see anyone riding around Spokane on a Specialized Rockhopper, feel free to politely ask them if they stole it off a porch on the lower South Hill.