From around the corner and around the city they came. New Life Christian Reformed Church in Guelph, Ontario, recently hosted a “Bike to Church Sunday,” encouraging members to cycle to the service on May 25 instead of driving.
About 50 people accepted the challenge, arriving on 25-speeds, 3-speeds, and tricycles, from down the block and the other side of the city.
Event organizer Jake DeBruyn was happy with the response. The idea, he said, came from Patrick Sheridan, a biking advocate and friend of DeBruyn. During visits to New Life, Sheridan had noticed “that we seem to like to do things differently,” explained DeBruyn. “As [Sheridan] considered how to promote cycling beyond just hard-core cyclists and civic activists, he thought we’d be willing to give something like this a try. And we did!”
The event coincided with the beginning of Ontario’s “Bike to Work Week.” “But that was totally by accident,” admitted DeBruyn.
The church promoted the health benefits of biking, the decreased impact on the environment, and the opportunity to see the beauty of nature and one’s city from the seat of a bike. “Biking to church,” said elder Tom Bruulsema, “puts us in touch with the fabric of our community—the people, the places, the natural environment. It’s a great way to prepare heart, soul, and mind for church.”
Those who couldn’t bike to church were encouraged to help with snacks, motivate others, and to pray for good weather and safety.
“This is the first time we biked, and we realized how doable it is. We’ll definitely be doing it again,” said Meghan Klein-Geltink, who biked with her husband and two young children to church.
“We do hope to repeat it,” said DeBruyn, “and will likely communicate it to other churches in the community and try to make something bigger. There’s so many good reasons to be biking, and few reasons not to.”