A Bicycle Ride of Trust
In the spring of my second-grade year, Dad proudly accommodated my request to remove the training wheels from my bike.
I first learned how to ride a bicycle in the front yard with both Mom and Dad walking on each side of me. Once I was confident riding in our front yard, Dad bought a nice, two-seated bike called a tandem from a retired couple right before my ninth birthday so I could learn to ride on the street. The retired couple was very pleased that a blind boy and his dad would enjoy the bike while having quality conversations along the way. The bike had three meters, including a speedometer, tachometer, and an odometer which had only 20 miles registered.
A couple of times each week during the summer and early fall, Dad and I rode in tandem on a six-mile journey. The ride took us approximately 36 minutes to complete, as we averaged ten miles an hour. Throughout the last couple of minutes of our ride, we opened up and traveled at our top speed of 25 miles per hour, resembling an eager horse running for the barn after a vigorous day’s work.
Dad’s legs were much quicker than mine, so if we happened to speed up to around 28 miles an hour, I took the liberty of enjoying a Blake Break until he slowed down to where I could keep up again. It was especially exciting when there was an occasion to attempt to peddle as fast as a car that would be driving slowly along a residential street. I always hoped the driver observed our speedy team effort.
The next spring, a few months before my tenth birthday, Dad surprised me by putting my hand on the single bike which I often rode in our yard and asked if I would like to follow him on a residential street. I was reluctant but decided to give this a try. I got right behind him and heard him peddling. When he wasn’t peddling, he would talk to me so I could stay lined up with him. Initially I encountered a few accidents but became better and more confident with each ride.
I quickly learned to stay in Dad’s direct path or else I would experience an unpleasant ouch from running into a mailbox, street sign, or curb. I had complete faith my Dad would alert me to anything unknown which could pose a problem. He trusted I would follow his navigational lead from his voice and the noise of his bike. If Dad happened to run over a small object, like a paper cup that had been tossed on the street, I had gotten so good at steering his exact pathway that my two wheels would roll right over the same piece of litter. I was now more at ease than ever and gained great assurance knowing Dad was leading the way a few feet ahead of me. True victory came when we were able to travel around town with me on my own bike.
It was especially exciting when someone occasionally assumed I was my sighted older sibling Brad riding along with Dad. They would say, “Hi Brad.” I would turn to them with a big happy grin, and say, “Hi, I’m Blake.” Since they knew I had no sight, I imagine they thought that was genuine father and son adventure.
Dad and I haven’t lived close enough to consistently ride together for some time. After our more than 20-year hiatus, Dad surprisingly suggested that we take this challenging bike ride again. I was a little off the beaten path at first, but within a few short minutes, I was enjoying an incredibly fun time like before. Since I wasn’t as limber as I was 20 years prior, I was relieved to have no accident to report.
During one ride, a friendly neighbor and Sunday school teacher, Dorotha Mack, was riding her bicycle and saw me following Dad in complete trust. I had never met her before, and she turned to me and said with total interest and passion, “Wow! You’re doing great!”
A couple of weeks later during a telephone visit with my mother, Dorotha eagerly mentioned that it was very uplifting to her as she was going through a down time. I was thrilled to hear Dorotha was inspired by our demonstration of trust, and that it had reinforced how we should respond to our Heavenly Father.
Most people, myself included, would probably think that my Dad should have been satisfied with us riding together in our stress-free comfort zone on the tandem bicycle; however, when I heard Dorotha’s awesome observation, it became obvious to me that God had simply looked ahead and knew that we had some inspiring to do.
Just like my skiing experience, Dad demonstrated the huge impact one person can have on another who is willing to listen, believe, and obey wise guidance and coaching. This is also the kind of trust we should have in our Lord, so that we can enjoy the best quality and most productive results in our lives. I also made a brand-new, priceless friend named Doratha Mack because of this awesome event.