A Crazy Idea!

Reflecting on my Tour of Hope experience

I told people before the tour that, in a moment of weakness, I agreed to do this thing. This “thing” involves three days of sitting in a saddle (eina boude!), cycling more than 300 kilometres to raise support for Rays of Hope projects. All the way from Clarens in the Free State to Alex in Joburg…

Now you must know the last time I was on a bicycle it was my old “dikwiel fiets” in school – too many years ago to even remember what it was like. This dikwiel was designed to take you from point A to point B – no gears, cleats, bells or whistles … back then helmets were for sissies and gloves worn by rich people’s kids to keep their hands warm in winter! Many years later, about 4 months ago, I got back in the saddle, only to discover that what I used to enjoy as a kid has now become a science, requiring strength, equipment (some real larney stuff nogal), endurance and technique.

Well, I took the challenge (or “bait”, Ian and Duncan?), borrowed a bike (thanks Eugene) and went on this thing to suffer for the Lord. I cycled about 250 kilometres, chickening out on some of the hardest stretches of road and climbs, fully aware of the fact that Joan would not appreciate being a widow at this stage. But, on reflection, I enjoyed the tour, if only to say I did something I never dreamed possible. And in the process I have also learned much from this experience:

  • There’s a whole fraternity of cyclists out there, forming a close bond, who were willing to take me in. Thanks to all those who rode with me in this race for your care, advice, patience and acceptance… and teaching me your cyclist language. You made me think of Jesus … and his story of the Good Samaritan.
  • It takes much endurance to ride such a distance. It made me think of my Christian life during which I need to run this race (live the life) with endurance.
  • The support team was excellent – vehicles, motorcycles, food, accommodation. It’s impossible to do this tour without good support (thank you, Jennifer and team). Once again, it made me think of living in Christian community, where we support one another in Community Groups, worship, serving … a whole “cloud of witnesses”.
  • I often thought about the real reason why I put myself through this pain! The support raised will help people far less privileged than I am to have some chance of changing their life circumstances. Perhaps picking up a sore bum and legs was worth the effort!
  • The road looks VERY different from a bicycle, especially the inclines. I never experienced them so steep in my car before! I have much more respect for and understanding of cyclists. I still think they are crazy, but I can better identify with them, the guys and girls “out there”. When Jesus became a human being, He showed us what true identification is. We can learn from Him about caring more for our fellow human beings.

To all who supported, sponsored and prayed for me for this tour, thank you! I know the Lord will richly bless you for making this a worthwhile exercise. I think next time I’ll do the trip in a car – it’s much easier putting my foot on an accelerator!!!

Photo courtesy of Charles Pitt