The Rev. Casey dunsworth

serves as Associate Campus Pastor to the Belfry, the Lutheran-Episcopal Campus Ministry to UC Davis

and as Program Director for LEVN, the Lutheran Episcopal Volunteer Network.

Spinning Clumsiness into Sunshine

I fell off my bike again yesterday.

As a newly minted Davis bike commuter--hold your applause, it's a 3-mile round trip--I have been figuring out the details of gear shifting and hand signals and unabashed helmet-wearing (I am an OVERWHELMING minority).

I'm not proud of my ineptitude--shouldn't I be adult enough to stay upright on a bicycle?--but I'm not totally embarrassed of it, either. Failing at riding my bike some of the time means I'm succeeding at riding my bike the rest of the time--and the simple fact is, I'm riding my bike to work instead of driving my car, and that's saving me money on gas as well as adding cardio to an otherwise sedentary day.

And each morning/afternoon I've ridden through the park and down B Street to the Belfry, and each afternoon/evening I've ridden home, I've noticed that I'm smiling. I can't help it. The sun is shining (sometimes the moon) and it's been pretty warm either way and sometimes there's a nice breeze...and other people are riding their bikes, too, or walking their dogs or whatever. Somehow the small act of riding my bike to work spins an otherwise harried few minutes in the car into a carefree jaunt through a park.

At the LEVN retreat in February, we watched a TED talk about a mapping app that found alternative routes--not just fastest, but greenest, quietest, and happiest. It crowdsourced this data from beta users, who looked at photographs of the routes and tagged those photos with adjectives, positive and negative. The app only exists in Barcelona and London, but it changed the presenter's life. He said he'd been biking (which is already better but still wasn't good enough) down these main streets in London that took him the miles from his home to his office. One day, there were road closures or construction or something and so he made a quick turn and went up the next block, discovering that his entire route bordered a public park, and he'd never even seen it. It took a handful more minutes to go that route each day (the path is curved and/or indirect) but as far as happiness is concerned, it revolutionized the mood with which he traveled to and from work.

Though I've only been biking to work for two weeks, and have to drive some days because I'm schlepping a crock pot of soup, it has already changed the way I think about where I live. For every day I fall off my bike, there are several days on which I do not. The Casey of a few years ago would never have even considered riding her bike every day, and certainly wouldn't have believed she was capable. The Casey of yesterday is tempted to side with the Casey of a few years ago, given the bruise on her knee and ego. But the Casey of today rode her bike to work, anyway, somehow spinning clumsiness into sunshine.

Good Question -- John 18:1-19:42

That Crafty Feeling, I guess.