No room at the inn

Bicycles lined up outside a cafe

Standing room only: it gets pretty crowded in Bath Lane of a Saturday morning. Photo: Eddie Barkla

It could have been a time for a head count of cyclists! It was the eve of the first Christmas Caesar Augustus had decreed a census be conducted throughout the Empire. Everyone had to go to their own hometown to be listed. So Joseph who was engaged to Mary had to leave Nazareth in Galilee and go to Bethlehem in Judea being from King David’s family. While they were there, Mary gave birth to her first-born son. She dressed him in baby clothes and laid him on a bed of hay, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Can you imagine calling a census of all cyclists across Bendigo of past and present, commuter, recreational, Audax, competitive road, track Vets, BMX, Triathlete and MTB of all ages? There would certainly be no room at the inn in Bath Lane one of the many congregational meeting places of the regular cycling fraternity.

While it must have been hectic in Joseph’s time, take a moment to give a thought to the waitresses who have to cope with lycra-clad smelly bodies, having to work out who is Big Muzz or Serge, the Banker or Killer and head wind, scooter or the matriarch or the captain, just some of the local identities in the cycling fold (along with many other names not mentioned).

Speaking of expectant mothers, what a year this has been for new babies within the cycling network for cycling dad’s and mum’s requiring more than two hands to count the large majority of first born babes all making part of the head count. Guess this throws the popular theory out that all cyclists do is drink coffee and ride their bikes.

That night in the fields near Bethlehem some shepherds were guarding their sheep. All at once an angel came down to them from the Lord, and the brightness of the Lord’s glory flashed around them. The shepherds were frightened. But the angel said, “Don’t be afraid! I have good news for you, which will make everyone happy. This very day in King David’s hometown a Saviour was born for you. He is Christ the Lord. You will know who He is, because you will find Him dressed in baby clothes and lying on a bed of hay.” Suddenly many other angels came down from heaven and joined in praising God. They said: “Praise God in heaven! Peace on earth to everyone who pleases God.”

We are most grateful that there has been relative peace between the shared road users and cyclists, this could be due to the wonderful cycling shepherds that oversee the group’s (flocks) etiquette. There has also been a large influx of new cyclists and we have many cycling angels that infuse the frightened with peace and understanding till they find their place on the road in the groups and are linked into the wider cycling community at the coffee shop with ever increasing joy.

When Jesus was born in the village of Bethlehem in Judea, Herod was king. During this time some wise men from the east came to Jerusalem and said, “Where is the child born to be king of the Jews? We saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him. And the star they had seen in the east went on ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. They were thrilled and excited to see the star. When the men went into the house and saw the child they knelt down and worshiped Him. They took out their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh and gave them to Him.

Bendigo is blessed with many cycling stars of all ages that are ambassadors of Bendigo at State, National and World events and we hope in 2012 at the Olympics in London the Bendigo stars will feature that we can follow their sporting fortune. Another aspect of the community of cyclist is their heart of compassion to be moved to give when there is a need.  Take this year’s event of the local fires where we witnessed the open hearted approach in free giving.  As for the wise men, they’re now bike shop owners!

May “The True Spirit of Christmas” rest upon you and your families with ever increasing freedom, as they angels proclaimed!

See you on the road to peace soon God willing

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