Mark Willey loves music. You’d expect that from someone who plays the organ for an Adventist church near Washington, D.C. He also directs the choir.
But another thing Willey loves is bicycling. “I have home movies from when I was 2 years old, riding down our driveway on a little bicycle,” he says. “My life would be empty without music and cycling.”
Several years earlier, Willey sometimes rode to work on his bicycle. While getting around on a bike might sound easy in small towns, he rides in and near Washington, D.C., known for having lots of traffic. Willey and his wife decided to only have one car between them, instead of two. “We thought that by selling my car and not replacing it, we could save possibly $700 a month.”
First, Willey calculated he would have to ride 13 miles each way between work and home. Then he started collecting clothing and equipment to make his rides safer, more comfortable, and easier. “I purchased a rack and waterproof bags to carry what I need for the day. I even got a trailer for my bicycle that I can put 100 pounds of stuff in, in case I have a lot to carry. I ride pretty much year-round, except for snow. I’ve ridden when it’s very cold. I ride at night, with powerful lights on the front and back.”
He rides his bike about 5,000 miles a year. “When I ride to choir practice, the choir knows because I’m more energetic.”
“Riding snaps you out of lazy thinking,” he says. “I think of my best ideas on the bicycle.” In addition to all the plants and animals you may not see while riding in a car, there are also smells and temperature changes you don’t notice when you’re inside a car.
Finally, there are the health benefits. According to Willey, many Seventh-day Adventists think our church’s health message is only about not drinking alcohol or smoking. They aren’t careful about the use of sugar and fat in what they eat. This causes problem with their weight. It can also cause disease, such as heart disease and diabetes. Exercise several times a week has been shown again and again to help prevent diseases and control weight.
Riding his bike to work takes 50 minutes one way instead of 25. “The way I look at it,” he says, “for basically an extra 50 minutes a day, I get an hour and a half of exercise. I do better at work and I sleep well. It’s great!”
—This article by Stephen Chavez appears on pp. 40-41 of the January 2016 issue of the Adventist Review.
Copyright © 2017, Adventist Review. All rights reserved worldwide.