It was 2012 when I did my first RAIN—the annual one-day, 160-mile Ride Across INdiana. I had trained diligently for it, riding over 1,000 miles in the first half of the year to make sure my body was in good enough shape, but what I wasn’t quite prepared for was the steady 7-10 mph headwind that blew throughout the day. So, by the time I was a little over halfway through, my muscles needed some relief, which came in a way I hadn’t expected.

I’d been riding by myself for several miles when suddenly a group of faster cyclists came up from behind me. Seeing their matching jerseys and assuming they were much more experienced at this kind of riding than I was, I fully expected them to blow on by me. Instead, as they pulled alongside, one of the cyclists called out to me, “Hey! Wanna draft off us?” He then motioned to me to drop in behind them, as the group graciously formed themselves into a “V” pattern, just like geese do when they’re flying together.

The result was amazing! For about the next 10 miles I had the advantage of pedaling in a virtually wind-free pocket they’d created for me, such that I was able to cruise at about 18 mph with them, instead of my usual 12-14 mph. And by the time they finally decided to break away, I felt much more optimistic about the remaining 70 or so miles than I had earlier.

Life can feel awfully long and hard sometimes, can’t it? That’s why it’s so important to have people in our lives off whom we can “draft” occasionally. What’s more, it’s important for us to be that kind of person for others every now and then. After all, it’s not always the same goose who flies at the front of the “V” formation, you know; they take turns.

So, let me ask you two quick questions. First, are you humble enough to admit when you need help, and to ask God to lead you to others who might ride/fly in front of you for a while? Second, is there someone in your life who might need you (and maybe some of your friends) to come alongside and call out, “Hey! Wanna draft off me/us for a little bit?”

Who knows? It might be just the encouragement you or someone else needs to keep on pedaling!

“Therefore, encourage one another and lift each other up, as indeed you are already doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

Dave Marty is a retired pastor who lives with his wife, Mary, in Brownsburg, Indiana. They have two beautiful daughters, two great sons-in-law, and two creative teenage grandchildren. In addition to cycling (including unicycling), Dave also enjoys gardening, Scrabble, hosting Holy Land tours with Mary, and tutoring kindergarteners at a nearby school