Home ANS Feature Holy Spokes: A Quick Word on Urban Cycling

Holy Spokes: A Quick Word on Urban Cycling

by Brian Nixon

By Brian Nixon, Special to ASSIST News Service

Clergy Bike smallerALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO (ANS – September 25, 2017) — During my lunch break while preparing a teaching for Cavalry Albuquerque [1], I jumped on my bicycle to ride my favorite bike route near my house.  I began at the base of Petroglyphs National Monument [2], and following a bike path East, I head to the Rio Grande River.

Along the way, I spot roadrunners, quail, and squirrels.  I stop at the Open Space to view the new textile exhibit [3], and arrive at my destination, the Diocesan House, for prayer [4].  It a beautiful ride, full of sights and sounds, filling my senses with God’s grandeur.

Over the past five years, I’ve made biking an intricate part of my life.  I try to cycle  as much as I can — both for exercise and for good stewardship.  I’ve written several articles highlighting my experiences [5], and consider it a joy to pedal beautiful New Mexico.

I’ve always known that there is other clergy-cyclist out there, but until my recent ride to the Diocesan House, I wasn’t aware of a book touting the benefits of biking, at least from a clergy perspective.

Holy Spokes smallerPrior to my time of prayer in the Diocesan House chapel, I pick up the Living Church Magazine, published by the Episcopal Church [6].  While flipping through the pages, I notice an ad from Eerdman’s Publishing highlighting the book Holy Spokes by Laura Everett.  It caught my attention and I ordered it.

A few days later the book arrived in my mailbox, and as I began to read, I found a kindred soul in the quest to become an urban cyclist.  And though Everett’s and my theological backgrounds are quite different (she’s from a progressive denomination, while I studied at a conservative Anglo-Catholic seminary and work for a Calvary Chapel), I found her references to Brother Lawrence, and her story of becoming an urban cyclist, very refreshing.

I was particularly struck by how biking made her more aware of her community. I, too, have felt the same awareness.  Likewise, her various references to the urban bike culture are both spot-on and pleasingly fun to read.  Following twelve easy-to-digest chapters, using the parts of a bike as a reference — Frame, Wheels, Saddle, Tires and Tubes, Lights and Forks, Handlebars, Gears, Chain, Helmet, Brakes, and You, Everett both educates and illuminates in this gem of a book.  I was particularly struck by her epilogue on Ghost Bikes, something cyclists are very familiar with here in Albuquerque (I pass several each time I ride).

As the book description states, “Holy Spokes tells the story of Everett’s unlikely conversion to urban cycling. As she pedaled her way into a new way of life, Everett discovered that her year-round bicycle commuting wasn’t just benefiting her body, her wallet, and her environment. It was enriching her soul.”

reverend laura everett smallerI couldn’t agree more:  cycling is enrichment for the soul, as is Holy Spokes.

For those interested in the biking community, or want a unique take on a Christian sub-culture, I recommend this fine book.  And who knows, maybe you, too, will become an urban cyclist.

To learn more, click here: https://www.eerdmans.com/Authors/Default.aspx?AuthorId=35007

1) http://www.calvaryabq.org/teachings_view.asp?ServiceID=4235

2) https://www.nps.gov/petr/index.htm

3) https://www.cabq.gov/parksandrecreation/open-space/facilities/open-space-visitor-center

4) https://www.dioceserg.org/WhoWeAre/diocesan-house

5) http://www.crossmap.com/blogs/follow-the-theologians-ride-a-bike-6392 and http://christianfriendsofisrael.webnode.pt/news/innocent-when-you-dream-the-41st-international-balloon-fiesta/

6) http://livingchurch.org/

Photo captions: 1) Clergy bikes. 2) Book cover. 3) Laura Everett. 4) Brian Nixon (left) with ANS Founder, Dan Wooding, at the base of Petroglyphs National Monument close to Brian’s home.

Dan Wooding with Brian NixonAbout the writer: Brian Nixon is a writer, musician, artist, and minister. He’s a graduate of California State University, Stanislaus (BA), Veritas Evangelical Seminary (MA), and is a Fellow at Oxford Graduate School (D.Phil.). To learn more, click here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Nixon

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