I don’t know about most people, but the way I learnt to ride a bike was through a series of stages. First I was given my very own tricycle. Next I progressed from using my feet to push myself along, to learning how to pedal. When I outgrew the tricycle I received a bicycle with training wheels - a whole different biking experience. The angle of sitting was different; I was higher off the ground. Pedaling required more force and the center of balance had changed. When I’d mastered that bike, I knew it was time to remove the training wheels. After a few wobbly starts, and a number of bumps and bruises, I was finally on my way. All this, of course, came to pass under the faithful watch of my parents.

Similarly, when progressing in Judaism we need to take it one step at a time. First we learn the ropes. Then we figure out what needs to be done and make sure that we are doing it in the right way. Next, we position ourselves so that when the time comes we will be ready. Finally, we take off the training wheels and go off on our own. Bumps and bruises are okay, as long as we are trying and going in the right direction. All the while we must realize that we are working under the watchful and caring eyes of our Father in heaven.

Our theologian was not satisfied with the metaphor so we put our heads together and came up with a second one.

A bike has many parts but the main structure includes two wheels and a frame. Likewise, each person’s life is made up of many parts. Many people have influenced our lives, but it all boils down to two parents and G‑d. In order for each of us to be born into this world there was a partnership: our parents and G‑d. We are doing our own balancing act, which itself is an important part of life. We are doing the riding, but we must always remember that it’s not just us who make the ride successful. Remembering this helps to keep our egos in check, and allows us to experience the best bike ride, or lifelong journey, ahead.

All smiles, our theologian friend continued his day satisfied, thanking us for letting him take up our time. We thanked him, too! There are many people who we can learn from. This man challenged us think of a lesson to take from our bikes, something we would not necessarily have done on our own. Now we have something else motivational to contemplate while pedaling.