Life Is Like Riding A Bicycle

“Life is like riding a bicycle. In order to keep your balance, you must keep moving.”

— Albert Einstein

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.

— Philippians 4:6

Bike Ride

I love fall. I love the crisp autumnal weather where summer has broken and winter has yet to set in. The temperature makes it one of the best times to go bicycling. I particularly relish bike riding into Yorktown during this season of one way bridges. With the wind blowing through my hair I merrily wave at the long line of waiting cars.

As I rode into work today, I reflected upon the wonder of bicycles. With two pedals and no engine I am able to propel myself at a speed that would not be sustainable by foot. Little did I know the tragedy that stood behind the inspiration of this pedaling marvel.

The bicycle was invented in the year 1817 by a German named Baron Karl von Drais. His Laufmaschine (german for “running machine”) was constructed mostly of wood. It was nicknamed a dandyhorse due to the brave and whimsical men who tried their hand at balancing on a bike. What inspired the bike?

The prior year was known as the year with no summer. In 1815 a major eruption took place at Mount Tambora in the Dutch East Indies. It is thought that this was the largest eruption in at least 1,300 years. The event caused a volcanic winter that led to freezing conditions in the middle of June the following year. The volcano of 1815 caused crops to die in 1816 which caused a mass starvation for horses. Many accepted the lack of transport by horse during this somber season. Baron Karl saw the need for an alternative means for transport. Necessity is the mother of invention.

Karl’s inspiration reminds me of a recent conversation: don’t waste your sorrows. It is often our times of grief that reveal some of our greatest triumphs if we keep our focus on God. Our choice is between staying stuck our pedaling though it. Paul reminds us, tell God what you need, trust Him to work and never stop giving thanks.


God, Though we may face dark and gloomy seasons we will not be anxious. In everything, we trust You as our heavenly Father who gives good gifts. We know that sorrow may last for this moment but hope comes in the morning. Give us a sense of balance born not of a smooth road but of our continued trust in You. Though our energy wanes grant us the strength to keep peddling. Amen.

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