IN my last blog I told you all that one of my favorite things to do is ride my bike. I guess it comes from the sweet memories of freedom as a kid when I rode from morning until I heard my mom whistle for me to come home (She could whistle really loud). We lived in a typical midwestern blue collar neighborhood where the homes were neatly positioned on roads named for states, with gravel covered alleys splitting the blocks in half. My territory was a 4 block radius which my dad called “the neighborhood”. My imagination would run wild on my little red bike with a banana seat and oversized handle bars. I jumped ramps, made “skid marks”, and raced my friends for bragging rights. I would imagine my bike was a rocket ship, a race car, a submarine, or just about anything that would move.
AS I grew older, and like many things do, the love of riding was replaced with basketball, girls, working, and school. It wasn’t until I was in my late 20’s that I had the desire to get back to riding.
Fast forward to my early 40’s. I had mountain biked in Indiana, or as people who live in the mountains say, “You trail rode in Indiana”, but my desire was shifting to a roadie. I had my eye on a Trek Madone. Every holiday, birthday, or special occasion I asked for gift cards to the Trek Store, and after about 2 years I was able to purchase a Trek Madone. It was gorgeous and I couldn’t wait to take it out on my favorite black top run. It didn’t disappoint.
I said all of that to set the stage of how much I enjoy riding, and nothing for me compares to a great ride, except one thing…riding with a great friend.
Enter Brock Meyer.
This past summer, my children had the opportunity to visit their grandparents who live in NW Indiana, and I took the occasion to visit and set a ride up with Brock.
I couldn’t wait to see him and his beautiful family. He lives in a small farming community in Eastern Indiana where the roads are nice and flat and the corn never ceases to end. He pastors a small Quaker church in town, which by the way has doubled since he has been there.
I’ve never met anyone who loves Indiana more than Brock. He has a love affair with anything Hoosier. But it’s more than Indiana, he loves life like that. He loves with everything. He lives fully alive! He and his wife teach their children to love and live the same way.
I arrive at the Meyer home in the early afternoon, as I pull up, Brock is filming the encounter on his phone. This is just how he lives! We share some long deep hugs and soon were chatting like we hadn’t missed a beat.
After showing me around the “manse”, we were getting excited about the ride. Changing quickly into our riding garb, and sucking down the protein shakes, the butterflies began to flutter in my stomach, I was anxious to test my “Colorado lungs” out in the barely above sea level altitude of eastern Indiana.
Brock showed me the route, and we were off. The pace was quick. about 18-19 mph, but I felt really good. We rode side by side for the first few miles, chatting, laughing, and loving the summer breeze pelting our faces. There is always a refreshing spirit when I am with him. I never feel like I have to be someone I’m not or pretend that I have it all together, I can be vulnerable and real and raw; never fearing of judgement or accusation.
WE came to a busy highway where we began to “draft” one another. Each country mile we would switch places, he would take the lead, whereas I could coast and rest in the draft, and then I would do the same. Mile after mile, switching, drafting, laughing, and talking. The air was heavy, and typical for Indiana, but overall it was a pleasant summer evening.
Our route was taking us down the neatly planted rows of corn, mile after mile was a sea of green, something that I miss seeing in Colorado. Corn, winter wheat, soybeans and alfalfa fields were our landscape. A distant farm with the typical Indiana barns and silos, the smell of manure freshly spread on a field, the whip of a horses tail, and the constant buzz of the cicadas remind me that I am in the heartland.
There were miles of silence as well, this is what makes riding with Brock priceless. As we listened to the serenades of the countryside, pleasantly mixed in with our cadence and breathing, time didn’t matter. My worries didn’t matter. The stress of pastoring was placed on hold, the worry of life dissipated into the horizon. This is what riding does for me, and it only multiplies when riding with a great friend.
Then he hit me with it. Brock is always good at asking questions, he always has great inquiries about life, ministry, fortune, love, and family. “Is your Joy level at 10 right now?” I thought about it, and yes of course it was, I was doing what I love to do with someone I love to be with. But I said, “True joy is being where I hate to be, sick, and with people I don’t want to be with, and the level still being at 10!”
I can’t be with Brock and his family and ride every day. I suppose like most things, we would take our rides for granted if we got to do it everyday. This is what makes it so special. It’s something to look forward to. It’s something I remember with great fondness and affection.
Our ride was coming to a close. We were scheduled to meet his family at a well earned Italian dinner. As we finished our ride, there was a kind of silence. I was excited that I was able to spend the last few hours with him on our bikes, and yet there was sadness knowing that this could only happen about once a year. I’ll never forget what he said when we finally rode into the parking lot…
“OH man! We averaged 17.8mph! I was really hoping to do 18!” That’s Brock Meyer. Living Fully Alive.
The conversation lingered long into the night. We laughed, talked, debated, and loved each moment. This is what riding with Brock Meyer is like.
If you are ever in eastern Indiana, in a little town called Fairmont, look up Brock Meyer. Rent a bike and ride the country roads with one of the few people I’ve met with a true and pure lust for life. Let him ask you questions, and don’t answer too quickly, that’s not what he is looking for. He is deep, drink in every moment with him. Listen to his heart and the way his head whips back when he is enjoying a deep laugh. Watch the way he interacts with his wife and children, learn from the way he eats a meal. Everything he does is with passion.
Perhaps you’ll have the privilege of Riding with Brock Meyer.