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Where Are You Going?

July 21, 2022

“Enter through the narrow gate, for the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction, and there are many who take it. For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” Matthew 7: 13-14

When we started out across country tandem bike ride, the most common comment was “you must be crazy.” Most people we talked with couldn’t imagine biking across country. A cyclist a few years older than me said, “It is about time you grow up.” I had shared that we had done a few one or two-week rides. Then, he said, I have always dreamed of riding across country. So, I responded, “Maybe you should grow up.” Otherwise, people just thought we were crazy.

As we entered Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, most knew we were “through riders.” They just wondered where we had started and how far we were going to get. A bike with packs is someone going through their state. Not many would travel there for vacation.

Then, we came to Iowa. Most ask, “are you training for RAGBRAI?” Or “are you heading west to start RAGBRAI?” Everyone assumes we are here for RAGBRAI. It starts this Sunday and lasts a week. RAGBRAI stands for “Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa!” It started in 1973 when one guy at the Des Moines Register newspaper challenged another to ride across Iowa in a week. He agreed only if the other road with him. In the paper, they invited a “few friends” to join them. The first year, about 300 people joined them. Now, 49 years later, it has “become the longest, largest and oldest recreational bicycle touring event in the world.” There are 10,000 registered riders. The estimate between 20,000 and 25,000 ride each year. They start on the Missouri River and ride east to the Mississippi river.

When we tell them that we are riding across country, a few have encouraged us to change our plans and ride RAGBRAI. They proclaim, “It is the biggest party on wheels.” Yet, if we joined them, we would be going the wrong direction and be two weeks behind our plan. More importantly, we are really enjoying riding alone across America. Except for my friend, John, joining us for 20 miles when left his house, we have biked alone. This gives us time to talk, listen, pray, think and simply bike.

When we are off the bike, we enjoy having morning devotionals together, reading a couple books and simply having “down time.” Spending time with 25,000 going the wrong way is not that appealing.

Yet, how too often in life we simply join the crowd. We overlook what God would want us to do. Since everyone else is doing it, it must be right. Following Jesus isn’t always easy, popular or the exciting thing. Often, it is going a different direction. Going against the crowd. Listening to God. It is entering through the narrow gate, taking the road that is hard that leads to life. For in life, we find God. We find peace. We find the way home.

John Deere Museum in Waterloo, Iowa.

Showing off our riding clothes.

Waiting for a house to move, so we could continue on the trail.

Iowa (Illinois and Indiana) have a lot of corn.

Taking their advice and walking through the tunnel.


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