Thursday, March 6, 2014

More than just a bike ride

Just about every morning in September, we would grab our bikes from the garage and ride down our favorite bike trail. She always pedaled faster than me- not because she was competitive- but because she was so excited to be outside, in nature. I didn't mind because I admired the way she appreciated every part of our bike ride. With one hand she controlled her bike and with the other hand, she reached out for the branches and leaves to feel them. She never looked straight ahead or at the ground as she was riding, but instead, she curiously scanned her surroundings. She was always in child-like awe of the trees, the sky, the river running alongside the trail and the deer that would camouflage themselves so subtly with the tall golden grass. We would always stop for a break, to sit near the river. I took pictures of the scenery and scrolled down my facebook while she waited to catch a glimpse of jumping salmon swimming against the current.

To many, this may all seem ordinary. It was only 8 months earlier that few friends and I taught her how to ride a bike. She wasn't a little girl. She was a woman, in her mid twenties. How could she not know how to ride a bike?
Well, she comes from a South-Asian country where the liberty of a women is not the same as it is here in North America. Only men rode bikes where she grew up. She explained "Even if I did ride a bike, where would I go? Women cannot go anywhere alone."
It was her dream to ride a bike. When she came to Canada, that dream came true.

Our bike rides are so much for than just bike rides. I realized that bike rides for her meant freedom. For me, it has become more than just good exercise and a nice instagram picture. I have come to appreciate this little freedom that I have taken for granted for years. Beyond that, she has taught me to put my phone down and look up at the sky, the river and the animals on the trail. 

This freedom, as women, to bike (alone) and to survey nature is a gift from God. 

Me on my phone and her enjoying the scenery

Sky gazing while sitting outside

catching a glimpse of the salmon as they jumped up

“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being. As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.'"- Acts 17:24-28

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