My commute - a Young Crown parable

My house sits at an altitude of 166 metres; work rests at 31 metres. – the two are roughly 6km apart. I have taken to commuting by bicycle which, as you can imagine, is super-fun on the way down and hard graft on the way up. As it takes roughly twice as long to get home as it does to get down to work, this gives me some time to think, pray and enjoy the scenery (in between coughing fits and heart attacks). Today it occurred to me that my commute is actually reasonably instructive of the process of Young Crown’s own pursuit of youth and children’s ministry. So here is my very own modern day parable. (Which made sense in the oxygen-starved ascent of the hill this evening.)

On the way down to work, the ride is easy. The scenery looks good, I can even keep pace with traffic (Milton of Leys’ handy speed-checkers have clocked me at 30mph) and some days it’s faster to ride down on the bike than to drive. The weather can be changeable which sometimes dents my confidence to ride, sometimes makes the ride hard work, but doesn’t stop me from donning the helmet and cracking on.

The hill on the way up is a different story. On day one it seemed impassable. It took a few attempts to find the quickest route – with some of the shortcuts ending up longer, some so muddy they weren’t worth the effort. Once a decent route had been established, it still took a great many attempts to achieve the home-run without jumping off and walking for a section. Some days the accumulated tiredness in my legs makes the journey painful, but with each journey comes a bit of extra fitness, a bit more achievement, a bit more ability to keep going, a slight improvement on time.

I used to cycle a lot – with many epic journeys under my belt. Somewhere down the line the amount of cycling I did tailed off. Not through any desire to abandon it, I managed to find myself in the position of ‘bike-owner’ rather than ‘bike-user.’ Having made a decision to go back to cycling, I set about making it happen. Some investment in fixing the bike up and kitting it out with lights, etc.; digging out the bike lock, helmet and gloves; and – hardest of all – pushing myself to get back on the saddle and get riding again. The bike I have is ok – it is fit for purpose. It’s not perfect, some might even say it is the wrong style of bike to be doing the urban commute on, but it’ll do. When money allows, I’ll probably change the tyres over to new semi-slicks; but it’s not stopping the bike from doing what I need it to for now. I got a cycle computer for my birthday. I haven’t fitted it yet – partly due to a lack of time and partly due to knowing how embarrassed I’ll be by my average speed.

There’s this corner near the end of my trip home which is a decisive moment. It comes a wee bit past the point where I want to give up. Once I round the bend, though, I can see home and that gives me the boost I need to keep going and get there – plus I know that if I can see home, there’s always the chance that my wife can see me so I definitely don’t want to give up at that point!!

I have over four-and-a-half years left on my contract to work on that uphill commute!

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