Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Importance of Shock Absorbers: Lesson #2 from My Bike

At Al's Bicycles, Jason the salesman (or salesboy—to me he looked about twelve years old) asked, “So what’s your main objective, speed or comfort?” 

“Comfort.” The question was barely out of his mouth before I responded. I’m sixty-two years old. My biking goal is to burn a few calories and keep my joints moving while semi-enjoying the experience. The Tour de France or a reasonable facsimile was not, is not, and never will be on my bucket list. So when Jason directed me to the Raleigh Route 4.0 and explained it was built for comfort, I was interested. He pointed out the seat with extra padding and extra width, the raised handlebars that didn’t require a 170° bend at the waist, and the shock absorbers. Shock absorbers? Now he really had my attention. The only shock absorbers I’d ever had while bike riding were the extra padding and extra width on my backside.

At Jason’s suggestion, I took the Raleigh out for a test drive. I rode it up and down the street that ran in front of Al’s shop. The gears made pedaling easy, the seat was comfy, and the handlebars were at just the right height. To test the shock absorbers, I purposely drove over speed bumps and potholes. Oh, my! The difference between that bike and my previous one was the difference between a Lexus and a Pinto. (For those of you under fifty, I’ve provided a helpful link to explain what a Pinto is.) I still felt the bumps to some degree, but they weren’t the bone-jarring, teeth-rattling jolts I’d been used to. Jason made his sale. 

Since then, subsequent rides on my new bike have given me time to do a lot of reflecting on life. One such reflection was on the importance of shock absorbers— not those on our vehicles but the ones in our lives. Just like those on my bike, our “life” shock absorbers cushion the ride. They don’t eliminate the bumps and rough spots, but they do lessen the pain as we navigate our way over or through life’s challenges. And their assistance bolsters our belief that we can endure and will survive the pain. 

I consider the essential shock absorbers in my life to be faith, family, friends. In that order. I know several people right now who are facing difficulties, some life-threatening. The ones who seem to be handling their challenges the best have faith, family, and friends to rely on. 

What about you? Are your shock absorbers in place? I pray that they are and that you’ll enjoy a smooth ride.


  1. I rode a bike like that on Mackinaw Island once -- called it Fat Betty, and it was wonderful. You're right -- nobody should ride a bike or go through life without shock absorbers. Thanks for a lovely post!


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