Life Lessons I learned Riding a Bike: The Best Views Take the Most Work To Get To

Life Lessons I learned Riding a Bike: The Best Views Take the Most Work To Get To

One of my favorite places to ride bikes is in Summit County, Colorado. Some of the prettiest paved bike paths in the United States are in this area. With elevations ranging from 8,777 feet to 10,563 feet above sea level, there is a wide range of difficulty levels, with routes suited to a variety of interests and abilities. Riders can choose from a leisurely bike ride along the Dillon Reservoir to a 1500-foot climb over thirteen miles from the Town of Frisco to the top of Vail Pass. More than 38 miles of the pathway is built and maintained by Summit County government, with an additional 17 miles maintained by the towns of Breckenridge, Dillon, Frisco, Silverthorne and Keystone Resort.

Just riding around Dillon Lake, which is a beautiful ride, is eighteen miles with 1200’ feet of climbing - but not all of the ride is for the faint of heart. From the city of Frisco you can head up (and I mean up) to Copper Mountain Resort, Breckenridge Resort, or Keystone Resort. One of the prettiest views of the area around the lake is from Swan Mountain Pass. The climb is only about two and a half miles, but it is a tough one. On the east side of the pass is a paved bike trail that is fabulous. My legs and lungs burn every time lead up there on the bike. You work your way up the side of the mountain through switchbacks that meander through pine trees and aspen groves, and if you look back you get an amazing view of the Keystone Resort Mountains. About half way up you come up over a crest and the whole horizon opens up with a view of the majestic Buffalo Mountain with Lake Dillon gleaming at its base. It is really breathtaking. But if you ride in a car to the pass, you miss the moment and that particular view. Sure the view at the top is the same, but there is something about putting all the hard work into pushing your legs in the easiest gears to get to that first incredible view that is magical - and you are still only about halfway up. I have multiple photos from that view - most were taken on my first ride of that year's vacation - the beauty never disappoints! Keep pushing your legs and pedaling and you cross Swan Mountain Road and the switchbacks start up again through another beautiful grove of pine and aspens. It is a breathtaking ride that is almost indescribable in beauty - but it is a leg burner that my kids still refuse to participate in. To be honest, though, they don’t appreciate the view as much as my wife and I do. I believe the reason they don’t appreciate the view is that they never have had to work to get there. The cost of the view from the top for them after driving there was free…they are more concerned about feeding chipmunks at the top then the pristine view. But for me, I smile every time I go up there. The physical cost for me on my bike greatly increases my appreciation for the view, both part way up when the horizon of mountains opens up to your biking view, and at the top where the view of Summit County is absolutely breathtaking.

Isn’t that just like life? Things that take incredible amounts of work are appreciated by the ones who did the work far more than the other casual observers. I never really appreciated all that my parents sacrificed for me until I became a parent myself. I never really appreciated how expensive things were until I had to start paying for them myself. I didn’t appreciate how much college cost until I had to pay for my kids to go to college. I never truly appreciated cars until I bought one with my own money. I can’t remember worrying about how clean my parents' cars were, but I’m fixated on keeping the cars I paid for clean. There is something about the relationship between how much something is appreciated and how hard it was worked for.

That’s why the life lesson my bike taught me riding up these mountain passes was this:


The best views are costly. It is true in the physical sense, and it is true in other ways too. Pick your area: relationships, finances, education, careers, your health, etc. The best views in all these areas take the most work to get to. If the cost is minimal, the appreciation is minimal. If the cost is great, the appreciation is great too!

I think the association between the cost and the view (or appreciation) is so real because it is a principle of life. Even Jesus referred to it when He said this, “unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” John 12:24.

Only when a seed is buried does it produce something bigger than itself. Whether it is the physical cost to get your body on a bike to the top of a mountain pass, or the sacrifice of yourself to provide for your family, the best view and the greatest appreciation takes the most work to get to. It is a principle of life - and thus a life lesson that I learned personally on my bike. So, if your view isn’t what you were hoping…maybe, just maybe you are still climbing the hill to the view. Keep persevering, day by day, sacrifice by sacrifice, and you will eventually pop out of the woods and get a view of life that is amazing. If you were on your bike with me and we were pedaling up that mountainside, I would say, "keep pedaling - the view just up above is worth it!” Your legs may be burning and everything within you may be crying to quit, but remember: THE BEST VIEWS TAKE THE MOST WORK TO GET TO.

I believe this life lesson has been around since our creation - a principle of life. The greatest cost ever paid was the cost of God the Father sacrificing His Son, Jesus, for us. That’s why those of us who know and follow Jesus have so much appreciation for God’s love for us. His sacrifice of His death on the cross was just like a seed that is buried in the ground and grows up to multiply and feed many. His death produced life - eternal life for those who confess Jesus as our leader and recognize Him as raised from death - alive! Think about it, the God and creator of all we know and see decides that our life and well-being is more important than His comfort and security. And so He pays the ultimate cost, not by pedaling up a mountain, but by completely sacrificing His life for ours, His righteousness for our mess. His death brings us life. Just as on my bike, the best views in life take the most work to get to. God’s greatest sacrifice brings us the best and greatest life - life immeasurable - and eternal.

Don Erehart

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