A 47-degree Friday morning and I’m on my bike. Turning north onto River Road I had to fight to stop second-guessing why I was doing this. Sunrise was at least 50 minutes away so I was riding solidly in the dark, cold and wind. My headlight is like a billion lumens and I had the LED tail light rippling its red brightness, sending the message, “Here I am, don’t kill me!”
All was good, except possibly my sanity.
Then I turned east on Quinaby and all was not so good. It’s an older country road with no shoulder and no fog line, which never seemed to matter during daylight rides. Coming down at me from the slope of the I-5 overpass was a set of car headlights in bright mode; these lumens must’ve been like a trillion because I couldn’t see. I was already fighting against watery eyes due to the chill wind and now I was riding blind; I literally couldn’t see the road. I knew I was somewhere near the edge, but with no fog line I couldn’t tell how close. If I rode off the edge I’d crash into a soggy gully which, considering I have a neck fusion, could cause me significant physical harm.
What do I do (aside from pray)? Only thing I could do was gravitate slightly to the middle of the road while hoping not to float into the direct path of Mr. Highbeams. Thankfully there was no one behind me, otherwise I probably would have just stopped and walked my bike to the edge; and nobody likes to stop in the middle of ride!
Mr. Highbeams passed and I breathed a thankful sigh of relief. Once my sight adjusted to the dark again I picked up my pace to get to the next road, it had a fog line. With a fog line I can ride faster and with more confidence. Several more roads ahead of me were even more countrified than Quinaby, no fog lines, narrower and riddled with cracks from seasons of baking and chilling through the years.
This got me thinking about guidance; because really, what is a fog line but guidance? It helps me see and stay on the right part of the road so I don’t fling myself into some gully or farmer’s field awaiting the blades of harvesters. What other guidance do I rely on? Well, my life is filled text books, health policies and the parables of Jesus. For instance, Jesus teaches us to help those in need regardless of how different or similar they are to us (Luke 10:30-37). He teaches us about forgiveness and mercy (Matthew 18:21-35). And He teaches us about being watchful (Mark 13:35-37).
Speaking of being watchful I hit yet another road without fog lines. But now the sun is shining in streaks of pink and orange through the patchy clouds gathering in the threat of a coming storm. It’s then I realize my body has been gripped in the tension that comes from knowing I have put myself in danger. Now as the light emerges, the danger passes and the tension drains. Even though the ride was only 16 miles, I’m exhausted—but I’m alive!
Maybe I’ll get that indoor trainer after all.