When I started riding motorcycles as an adult I shield away from group rides. First, I had no idea what happened in a group ride. Second, I had no interest. My first group ride or two did little to change my views. Although there were pre-ride meetings with group instruction, the senior riders seemed to ignore the instructions from the start.
My views changed with the first ride of eight bike group. Although there was less formality, there was structure and and roles. The Lead was designated. Her/his role was to lead, clearly make turns with a bike and rider signaling directions, and set the speed. The Sweeper, brought up the rear, ensuring anyone needing assistance would have someone by their side. Each had a volunteer back-up to cover and support when needed. Everything worked, seemingly effortlessly! Riding in Malaysia went from fun to exciting, edgy to safe. Misbehaving cars and trucks were actively dealt with, freeing the rest to enjoy the road, wind, and experience.
As I read the Psalmist words, “Right Living strides out before him [Compassion, Caring, Community], and clears a path for his passage,” (Psalm 85.13) I found myself out on the road, safe passage marked by the Lead, twists and turns unfolding to plan, knowing I rode protected.
I love riding, even more I am part of a group that rides caring for each other. At times I take one of the roles, enjoying the double sense of joy because I am participating with others in something they love to do.
As I think of the individuals I have the opportunity to work with, some metaphorically work with others as if they were on a ride in Malaysia. They run out at the front, setting the direction, looking for danger, and putting her/himself at risk for the rest of us. They cover the bases, making sure everyone is engaged, safe, and doing what they enjoy. Helping is not a favor, it is simple something we do because we are part of the shared story.
It is time to ride.