>A Singletrack Point of View


Flat Tire. July, 2011.

Keep Your Eyes on The Trail
Our canyons are a popular destination for bicyclists. Nearly every morning I pass a pack of road bikers riding into our canyon as I’m driving out. They race along the narrow winding road, jerseys flashing, all determination as they lean into the hills. Almost every evening, a fellowship of mountain bikers congregate in the parking lot at Cook’s Corner, swapping stories and swigging water as they load their dusty suspension bikes into truck beds and onto roof racks.

I rode my bicycle for sanity while I was writing my dissertation, so I appreciate their devotion to their sport. When my thinking stalled, a bracing ride through Los Angeles traffic from Westwood to Hermosa Beach always knocked my brain out of neutral. Dodging car doors and distracted drivers as I pedaled down San Vicente Boulevard, anticipating the ocean air that would wash over me at the beach, occupied my mind so fully that any academic spasms were chased out.

As a matter of survival, I adopted a rule of the mountain cyclist on my urban tours: Keep your eye on your path, not on your bike. As one author puts it:

Look at where you want to ride instead of what you don’t want to hit. You automatically ride toward whatever you look at. Look for a good line through the rocks and ruts and you will follow this line. But if you look at a rock or rut that you don’t want to hit you will hit it for sure! With practice, you will be able to quickly spot a good line, and will be able to relax and ride down it accurately.
Mountain Biking Northern California: A Guide to Low Impact Riding on Singletrack Trails

These days, I adopt this rule in my walk with Christ. Focusing on obstacles leads me to trip over them. But when I fix my attention on my King, and refuse to look at the temptations that rut the path, my steps draw me closer to Him. I dare to imagine the unimaginable: an eternity worshiping in His presence. Fixing my eyes on this promise eases the worldly spasms that grip my heart.

1 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:1-2 (NASB)