Coasting

When I was in the 6th grade my school was at the end of a dead-end street, which was at the top of a not-too-steep hill. Coming home from school we would try to see how far we could coast on our bikes before we had to start pedaling. We’d pedal really hard across the parking lot, and then start coasting as we hit the top of the hill. I think my record was nearly four blocks!

Coasting is so much fun! It’s easy and exciting, and involves no work at all. Your legs are never tired at the end of a long coasting spree.

But you can only coast downhill. (Well, okay, I guess you might be able to coast for a short distance on level ground, but not nearly as far.)

Downhill might be fun on a bike, but it’s a lousy way to live. Solomon wrote:

The path of life leads upward for the wise to keep him from going down to the grave. (Proverbs 15:24)

Coasting is easy, but it’s taking you in the wrong direction.

Coasting doesn’t cause any muscle pain, but it doesn’t build any muscle strength either.

Coasting is fun for awhile, but the longer you coast, the harder the journey back.

Save coasting for your bike rides, but in your life be very cautious of coasting too long.

Instead…

  • Keep learning new things
  • Keep reading challenging things
  • Keep growing in new areas
  • Keep setting stretching goals
  • Keep forgiving
  • Keep strengthening relationships
  • Keep climbing higher and higher

It may be work to climb to the top, but the view is incredible!

One Response to “Coasting”

  1. David Bates Says:

    In cycling, of the fitness/racing variety, coasting is for recovery or when pedaling would only make you go too fast. Pedaling downhill is generally a waste of energy (especially in hilly country of roller coaster landscapes), few cyclists can actually make up time on a rival in the downhills. The winners crush their foes on the climbs and everyone else just survives. Coasting on the backside of a climb allows for your muscles to recover from the grueling climb, so pedaling at that time is only robbing you of some much needed recovery. Coasting is a chance to rest up before another hard effort.

    You can also coast for short periods on the flats, but like you say you’ll slow down. In a pack of riders it’s easier to coast for longer stretches, but not as necessary because in a pack you are working less. The rider at the front is working hard, but the riders behind are working about 25% less relative to the speed they are carrying because of being caught in the slipstream of the pack. This is why a lone cyclist is almost always caught by the group eventually. A group of cyclists working together can maintain a faster pace than a rider on his own. The cyclists take turns at the front for a few minutes at a time, where they are taking the brunt of the wind and charging hard. Then they peel back a few to rest and another rider takes his turn “pulling” at the front. A rider on his own is using up far more energy than the riders in the pack behind him. Kind of like a believer that says he doesn’t need to go to church.

    I’d bet there’s a few sermon illustrations to be found in the world of cycling.

    Like


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