Christian Living · The Transition

Just Keep Pedaling

Zach and I have been in England for over a week now. Long enough to get over jet lag. Long enough to explore the area, get lost a few times, learn our way home, make friends, try fish and chips, go to church. And long enough to buy bicycles.

In Cambridge, cycling is one of the most common modes of transportation. Bikes are a very important purchase, because in a large part of the city centre, roads are restricted to cycles, taxis, and buses. We’re also temporarily staying with some new friends who live about three miles from the city centre. So cycling is a necessity. Thankfully, the cycling path is so picturesque, with most of the journey taking you by the River Cam and through some lovely fields. Although yesterday Zach had to cycle off the path to avoid being plowed over by a cow, so the scenery is not without its dangers.

All this to say, I have probably cycled more in the past week than I have in my entire life. The first day of cycling into town, I thought I would just keel over and die, right there on the bike path. When I got off my bike after FINALLY reaching the city centre, my legs almost gave out from under me. I told Zach a few days ago that muscles in my waist were sore. Who knew you even had muscles in your waist?! Well, now I do. Because mine are all angry at me.

Then, Sunday afternoon on our way home from church, I was trying to catch up with Zach and Mark, our host for these in-between weeks before we can move into our apartment. We were over half-way home, and I was completely done. But then we hit a part of the path that had a slight downward slope, and I thought, “Here’s my chance! Now I can catch up!” So I pedaled with everything I had. I was doing okay until it was time to make a hard right turn at the bottom of the hill.

With some sort of odd screeching sound – that couldn’t have possibly been me? – I toppled over onto the pavement, scraping up my arms and dirtying my dress. This kind older gentleman walking behind me ran over to help me up, but I really just wanted to keep lying face first on the pavement where I’d come to a stop. Zach and Mark were there, too, grabbing my (now slightly scuffed up) purse and righting my bike so I could get back on. But now my elbow hurt as well as my thighs, and I was very concerned that I’d ripped a hole in my brand-new leggings (good news! They’re fine!).

So I took a breath, thanked random-stranger-man and assured him I did, in fact, know these people who were holding my purse, and got back on my bike to finish the trip home. I was convinced my elbow was broken – I’ve always had a flair for the dramatic – but just kept repeating to myself what had become over the weekend my cycling mantra, “Just keep pedaling, Emily. If you stop, you won’t be able to start again. Just keep pedaling.”

Thankfully, I did not break my elbow. And, after many more miles on the cycling path, my legs don’t start screaming at me now until at least mile 2.75 of 3. I’m even beginning to pedal faster. But when I do get a bit behind Zach, or when every part of my body aches from cycling all over creation, I just remind myself, “Just keep pedaling, Em. Just keep pedaling.”

This transition will not always be easy for us. I am sure there will be moments where everything within us screams for us to just stop, turn around, and go home. Try again some other time. Or never. But then we will remember that this journey is all part of the Lord’s purposes for us. And we know that through His strength, we can find it within ourselves to just keep pedaling.

12 thoughts on “Just Keep Pedaling

  1. Love reading your blog,Em. Had to chuckle a little bit . I could just see you tumbling. Hang in there sweet friend. Love you and Zack. Better days are ahead.


  2. I just discovered your blog today, and will certainly drop by periodically. For some reason, this one made me want to comment. Keep pedaling, indeed!
    -A. Crowson


  3. Love you both. You are right where God wants you. Bless you and the bike riding!! Wayne and I went bike riding down our road and when we got home, he told me My Bike Riding Days Are Over! Keep peddling for God’s purpose for you both. I just know God will bless you and use you and Zach in a mighty mighty way. Love your blog!!!


  4. All of this sounds very familiar! Jim and I, and our three kids, moved to Cambridge in 2007, then back to the US in 2010. I even wrote a blog myself, back then, to help through the transition and culture shock! I managed to have three bike wrecks, and two of my kids had biking collisions with cars! But all injuries were minor, and we now reflect fondly on our biking and public transit excursions! We never owned a vehicle while there. Make sure you check out Tesco online, and do the home delivery for groceries, especially if you are living without a car. One of my anxieties when we first moved there was how to keep the family in groceries without a vehicle to transport them, Tesco was the solution! Feel free to contact me anytime if you ever need to chat with someone who has been there!


  5. Thanks for keeping us posted on what’s going on. I’m sorry you have had some difficult experiences, but so is life! I think that is a great motto for life in general “just keep peddling”. We love y’all and prayed for you just this morning!


  6. Love reading your blogs. Just keep pedaling, and stand strong and know your FFWB family is continuing to pray for you and Zack on your journey.


  7. While in Cambridge, I had to keep five bicycles and a kid buggy in running condition. This is tough to do given the amount of bicyclying necessary. Let me suggest my bike mechanic to you, Martin Rys. He keeps a shop in the market in the town centre: He does competent repair work at reasonable prices.

    Competency is important for more than obvious reasons. Some other bike repair guy did shoddy work on my bike, resulting in me having to go to A&E (local hospital emergency). Not sure if Martin will remember me, but say hi regardless.


  8. It is good to hear from you and Zack. We are all praying for you all there. You are where God wantsw you and in the future you you will be so glad you took this step of faith.


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