These are the scenes that were shown yet hidden from me. These are the words spoken yet not spoken to me. What I will tell are things that are, things that have always been and things that are to come.
I was alone on a hot stretch of road. My water bottle was empty. My mobile phone's battery was drained. In every direction I saw vast wastelands. I tried to find shade but there was none. My legs felt torn up and useless. The stench of a dead skunk, flattened by a automobile filled the air. I rolled past the grease mark that once was a black animal with white stripes. Eventually I stopped to look at my map. But the map was tattered and disintegrated in my hands. A gust of wind scattered the remnants far away. I was alone and lost. "Ah, Lord, could this really be the end?" I cried out. Pedal on. Out of options roll forward to see what fate awaited me.
A fiery light illuminated the distance. It was far away but moving toward me. Like a line of force from the heavens, a tear in a strange design. Far away but moving in. It seemed to draw me in.
I could feel its heat as it approached. Not a searing heat but a comforting embrace. An image emerged from the fire. It appeared to be an angel on a bicycle. Fiery eyes like stars penetrated my soul. "You are not lost," it said although there was no movement from the angels mouth. Words formed in my head and I understood. "I will see you home."
"I am very thirsty. I need water and food," I cried out.
"And you shall have it."
The angel pointed to a sheltered table. On the table there were three water bottles filled with a substance that appeared to be water yet appeared to be brighter and shinier than water.
"Drink from the first bottle," I was told. I leaned my bicycle against a tree and sat at the table. I reached for the first bottle and the scene changed. The wasteland morphed into a lush mountain valley yet we seemed to be rising. Our table and road and bicycles rising higher and higher until we were the tallest point on the horizon. The bottle felt very cool and the liquid was very refreshing. I drank the entire contents in 3 pulls.
"Look down from the mountain and tell me what you see and I will tell you what you see."
I could see many bicyclist. Some riding fast. Others were riding slow. The fastest riders were very bright. The slowest were dimmer. The brightest bikers eventually dimmed and others became faster and brighter. The dimmer bicyclist became brighter. Some also became dimmer and there light extinguished. Everything was in flux. No one biker maintained the same intensity consistently. It was impossible for me to follow one for more than a moment. They would disappear into a sea of others, indistinguishable from one another. It told all of this to the veloangel.
The angel pierced me again with its fiery gaze and the words I will repeat to you appeared into my mind with sound. "There is always the fastest biker and always the slowest biker. You are neither. There have been times when you were the fastest. There have times when you were the slowest. As long as you ride your light will shine."
The veloangel motioned to the second bottle. I knew I was to drink this. Once again I completed the bottle in three swallows. I was told to look down the mountain again. I saw the fastest biker. I could see its face. The fastest biker was smiling. Without sound or facial movement the fastest biker spoke to me.
"I am the fastest biker. I am a fleeting image. My time is short and I will expire and reform as someone else soon. Someone else will be the fastest. I smile because I know I am the fastest. I worked hard to be here, my chance. Feel the heat from my light. It soon will be less intense. I will not be in agony when the torch is passed. My time in front has filled me with joy. It hurt to get here but I am at peace now. I have tasted true speed and true freedom. For that I am satisfied."
And as quickly as the fastest biker rolled to us, it as quickly rolled away. I almost thought I saw the light of the fastest dim and I tried to concentrate on it with all my being. But the veloangel summoned me again. It told me to look behind me.
Behind me I could see the slowest biker. The slowest bike rode toward me at an incredibly slow pace. I thought this bicyclist would fall over. It appeared not to move at all. The slowest biker smiled. And like the others the slowest spoke without movement, spoke without sound. Words appeared in my thoughts again.
"I am the slowest biker. I was not always the slowest. I once was fast but my light was dimmed. I ride slower and slower. But I am happy because I still ride. Those who do not ride are the dead and the dieing, those who physically cannot and those who never had a chance, those who are skeptical and those that will never know the pure joy of riding a bike. Have pity on them. Some knew the joy. Others lost the joy. But I know the joy and i continue to ride. My time as slowest is finite and someone else will take my place when I leave this realm. But my spirit remains."
"You once were slow. You are slower than others yet faster than others as well. You light will shine brightly and slowly dim like mine if you are safe and take care of yourself. You can ride a long an joyful journey if you are safe and wise."
The slowest biker communicated this to me as it rode by. Soon the slowest biker was gone and I found myself staring at the third bottle. The veloangel nodded and I knew it was time to drink the third bottle. As with the others, I finished the refreshing liquid in 3 drags from the bottle. Without being prompted I looked down from the mountain a third time.
I could see every biker everywhere. I could hear their sighs and sorrows. I could hear their laughter and jubilation. It was almost more than i could bear. Millions and millions of bicyclist going everywhere, some lost, others knowing where they were. Some broken down. Some rolling just fine. Some getting along with each others. Others fighting over trivial matters such as 26" or 29" wheels, Campy v Shimano v SRAM. Trail etiquette seemed to be the major issue. Manners. People not getting along because they knew not how to share a road or trail. Knowledge and lack of knowledge. Their voices rising to me like growing din that turns into a freight train. I covered my ears to know avail, the sound completely filling my head. I turned to the veloangel and cried out, "Please stop this. I cannot bare another moment."
The mountaintop vanished and we were back on the side of the road that I was lost on. The noise ended, thankfully, as well. But the wasteland was transformed into a beautiful countryside. Upon further examination I knew where I was. Not far from home, no longer lost! I felt at peace.
The veloangel spoke again without movement or sound. Its thoughts filled my head and I understood. "You may never be the fastest and you may never be the slowest. But if you help others on their rides and you ride safely and with concern for others your light will remain bright. And perhaps someday you can help others in this realm of the ether worldly bicyclists."
The angel smiled and spoke a final time. "Would you like a draft to the lean to?" I nodded yes and rolled with the veloangel. I do not know how fast we were going because my computer could not register the speed. it was as unreal as my visions. We slowed down as the lean to appeared. There were people there sitting and enjoying themselves. I saw a gazebo near by. And i caught a glimmer of something else.
A bulldozer was rusting near by. Underneath its treads I saw Knapp. He was alive but vultures were picking away at his skin. "What have I done? What have I done?" Knapp cried out. The veloangel spoke one more time.
"He has received his reward in your world. Gnashing of teeth and fire await him in mine."
Then the bulldozer disappeared. I turned to veloangel to ask him if this was to come true and be Knapp's fate but the spirit was gone. I heard a faint voice in the distance. "Do not forget what you have seen. Do not keep these things to yourself."
I was 10 miles from home. My friends were with me. Someone was playing music and I could hear a cold beverage being opened. Everyone was happy. Just then my phone beeped with a text. "Dinner will be ready in an hour. Home soon?" Yes. I will be home. I wave at the people at the lean to and rolled toward the first tunnel. Home soon.