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Location: Clearwater, South Carolina, United States

Thursday, July 14, 2005


On another long ago day, when the Hickman Road of my youth was still paved with dirt, many guidance systems were tried and found to be faulty. One of the physical ones still stands out in my mind even after all these years. It concerned the complexities of remaining upright on a bicycle while still moving and steering in the general direction you desired to go.

My bike riding came somewhat late in life - age 11, I think - not necessarily due to a lack of coordination or dumbness on my part, but the absence of a proper sized vehicle on which to learn. I finally inherited a two-wheeler from my sister, a boy's bike, but about two sizes too big. Determination finally won out and I somewhat mastered the skills necessary for locomotion.

The basics behind me, I went on to the finer points of riding. Two of these I remember were the hook-slide stop (pretty easy on dirt) and the running start. The latter was accomplished by running beside the bike while holding the handlebars, then taking a flying leap with the goal in mind of landing with your sitter-downer on the seat and not on the crossbar, as this last experience tended to be rather painful.

Then there was the art of riding with no hands, this was intended to show the neighborhood kids that you were absolutely fearless. But this act of bravery got to be rather old hat when all of them learned to do the same.

While descending the hill on the road of my home turf one day – on my pedal powered straddle buggy – another system of bike guidance burst into my consciousness. It came to my mind so fast that I had no time to weigh out possibilities that it might have severe repercussions, it just seemed so brilliant and I knew it would make me the name on every lip in the neighborhood.

The plan was to remove my feet from the pedals - where they should be - and place them on the handlebars - where they should not be - thereby guiding my swiftly moving conveyance and being held in great awe and esteem by all the kids closely watching this activity.

Looking back, this daring plot may have worked if my hands were still on the handles when my feet left the pedals. Instead, I tried it from the "no hands" position and one foot touched before the other - causing the plan and my upright, forward moving condition to come to an almost immediate halt. This resulted in me winding up on the surface of the road in a somewhat prone, knotted up position, intertwined with various bike parts, bruised and with a bad case of dirt rash. I vowed never to try that method of guidance again.

If our way of life guidance is anything other than God's way, it will all fall apart just as surely as my failed plan, will hurt much worse, and will last a LOT longer.


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