Bicycle benefit teaches lessons

Clyde Davis: Local columnist

Last Sunday was the Ride for the Roses in Austin, Texas. For the uninitiated, this is a long distance bicycle ride organized by the Lance Armstrong Foundation. Participants raising pledges which go to the Foundation’s cancer-fighting efforts. The lessons I learned.

Okay, they were lessons reiterated. There is not much here that I didn’t already know, or that you don’t either. They are areas of our lives in which reminders never hurt, however.

We are part of the human race, and we have to take care of one another. We are in community for a reason. I lost track of how many times I stopped to check on another rider who may have been sitting on the shoulder or to the side of the road, or how often I stopped to share my Powerade with someone who looked depleted and exhausted. I remember very clearly, though, when my pedal slipped while I was climbing a hill and I went down under my bike. Even before I could move, there was a cluster of riders around me, blocking off traffic, pulling the bike off of me, etc.

We also have to take care of ourselves. All of the above help would not have mattered if I hadn’t had my helmet on. I’d be writing this column from a hospital head injury unit. I know how hard my head hit, and it was at least concussion range. (Parents, please make the kids wear safety helmets.)

Loving someone means giving them space to be and freedom to move. Before the ride I was teasing my wife about riding next to her and hovering over her the whole way, but there was really no question about her making her own ride and me making mine.

There are bozos in the world. They are in the minority, and you can’t let them shape your response to life. Austin drivers, for example, are mainly cool when you are in a car or on a bicycle. The few bozos one does run into should not be allowed to ruin the day.

Some things cannot be predicted, they simply have to be dealt with. I couldn’t have planned for an upper respiratory infection, a brake that kept grabbing, 95 degree heat or a 20 miles per hour wind. You will always have something that is beyond your control, and you simply have to grin and bear it.

Good music is important. That has nothing to do with the bike ride, but a lot to do with Austin. It surely brightens your day to know that good, live music awaits you.

Clyde Davis is pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Portales and an instructor at Eastern New Mexico University. He can be contacted at: