Maybe you recognize the title as an American expression for being surprised at how expensive something can be. Let me try to offer a better context for folks who don’t engage in my sort of fitness activities.
A couple of you have discussed with me what it costs to get a mountain bike that answers my prayer request. Then problem is that it costs a lot more than I like; I’m not cavalier about this. Go to Walmart or Target and you get a toy. The frame is probably the only part that’s durable. The rest is the cheapest trash available. God made me a large fellow (225#), so when I ride, it puts high stress on those parts, especially if I ride off the roads. The rims will bend easily, and I’ve had tires slip off the bead and blow out the tubes on the Walmart toys. The gears are cheap and sloppy and I can’t shift them with any kind of reliable expectation when I’m bouncing along a trail. The brakes don’t grab very well and I risk crashing. Chains snap as I climb a steep hill. And economic inflation hits bikes like everything else.
So I’ll tell you that my hybrid bicycle retails around $300, but that’s “naked.” For long distance riding on roads I add a rear rack, a bottle cage, a front bag for tools (never mind what bike tools cost), and I added quick-release fenders (the least expensive kind). I also fortify the tubes and tires up from the standard junk to avoid frequent flats. So the retail price now is more like $400. But this is still a rather low-end bike, just one step above a toy, and it’s not hardened against the rough riding on the trails.
This is why it’s a prayer request. I can’t afford to walk out and buy one that will serve my purposes; I got the hybrid with a donation. I checked on Craigslist for used bikes in my area that are roughly the same quality as my current bike and for mountain bikes the typical price is $500+ — that’s for used bikes that retail over $800. The only easy part about this is that you don’t add a bunch of accessories to a mountain bike because they take too many jolts. You hang stuff on your body when you ride the trails, not on the bike.
Again, I’m not begging for money here. You can pitch in if you feel moved, but God forbid that you should feel pressured or guilty. That’s the part of my ministerial experience I hated most: the high-pressure fund raising preachers do. I’m not feeling deprived, but my faith says I should ask because God will use it for His glory. And how can I predict what use it will have as our world changes? God knows. He moves us to ask in faith for things that speak to His glory. I don’t need another car and I’m not into even more expensive hobbies like motorbikes. But I do get cabin fever real easily; it’s the way I’m wired. I need time outside so I can get away from computers and other people and get back into touch with Creation while doing something that makes it easier to put less attention on myself. I can’t hike or jog any more, so biking is a compromise that works well enough.
So if somebody has a used bike to donate, that would be the best answer, provided it’s not a Walmart toy. As previously noted, I’m not collecting man-toys — I’ll give my hybrid to someone else because I need only one bike. I’ll keep using the one I have until God works His miracles in this world and provides something more suitable to changing needs.
Let’s build a communion on common faith and personal involvement with each other. This prophet isn’t trying to profit in material terms. I’m letting you know what my faith calls for and I hope you’ll be around to see it answered. I’d rather have your heart than anything you might own.