by DanWolgemuth on July 16, 2010

I’ve long been drawn to the speedometer that is attached to the handlebar of my bicycle. I confess… to a fault.

My multi-function Cateye brand gage is a powerful little tool. It provides useful feedback both during and after a ride. Perhaps the most significant function provided by this handy device is the cadence monitor. A sensor is connected to my pedal and the display on my handlebar shows me just how many rotations of the pedals occur in a one minute period. In cycling communities this is THE number to watch.

To ride at the proper RPMs is a huge factor in fatigue, in physical wear and tear, in prolonged cycling performance, and in an ability to face the varied challenges that any ride will produce.

According to most journals and experts the optimal rotations per minute are 80 to 85. Yes… that’s right… 80 to 85. For most individuals this is really spinning. Lance Armstrong, the most famous current cyclist in the world, prefers to ride at 90 to 95 RPMs.

With modern bikes, and the improved gear technology… it’s possible to ride at 80 RPMs both uphill and down. This means that optimally, your legs are pumping at relatively the same rate in all circumstances…

Just yesterday on a little ride in the country I worked to stay right at 80 RPMs. On a beautiful Colorado downhill I was pumping away at my optimal rate at a speed of 36 MPH. Moments later I was repaying the “downhill loan” and I was still pumping at 80 RPMs but I was only traveling at 9.9 MPH.

Cadence is more important than speed.

We all can remember the days when we strained with every ounce of energy that we had to pedal up a neighborhood hill. We falsely believed that the veins popping out of our neck and the brilliant color of red that our face was turning was a sign that we were diligent, committed, tough and successful. Wrong!

Life, like cycling, throws a wide variety of terrains our way. Few days, let alone weeks or years, are flat and predictable. Often, and wrongly so, we assume that followers of Jesus, and sons of God should always travel at the same speed. Red-faced and exhausted we keel over, we quit in frustration, we disbelieve that we can learn from difficult situations, and we coast when we should still be pedaling.

Our Father is more concerned with cadence than speed. Pain, disappointment, suffering, and doubt can’t be traversed at the same velocity as celebration and success.

In biblical terms I believe that cadence equates to faithfulness.

Faithful uphill and down. Faithful in plenty and want. 80 RPMs.

Our Father gives us many beautiful and practical ways to shift gears. His Word. His Church. His Spirit. All work to constrain, release, or encourage us at the proper time in our journey.

“His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’” ~ Matthew 25:21 (ESV)

Well done… for faithfulness, not for velocity. For commitment uphill and down. Steady. Strong.

Our cadence… not our speed. 80 RPMs.


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