Cycling and Creation Stewardship

A couple of weeks ago, it was "Bike to Work Week" here in the Vancouver area. Now, from September to April, I do ride my bicycle each of the four days per week that I'm on campus (rain or shine, light or dark), but during bike-to-work week, I only made two appearances. This is because as a theoretical physicist, I can actually do most of my work from home; in addition to that, I have been visiting the SFU biophysics group once a week (taking public transit).

Cycling to work began as a dream for me while I was a graduate student. I was living in Langley and doing my PhD studies and research at UBC for 5.5 years. The first three years, I actually drove most of the time, and if my wife needed the car, she'd drop me off at a park-and-ride in south Surrey. Then I took transit for the last 2.5 years: 30 minutes bus, 30 minutes SkyTrain, and 30 minutes Broadway B-Line. Even though it took 50 to 75% longer than driving, it was much more relaxing and I could read journal articles and use a laptop computer (swapping batteries half way!) to write my Fortran-90 code and my dissertation while commuting, and Valerie says I wasn't frazzled upon arriving home anymore.

About a year before I finished my PhD, I visited TWU to see if they would hire me, and I had a dream of living within cycling distance. As it turned out, a decade had to pass before my job opened up, and in the meantime, in Florida and Iowa I was able to bike to work. (In Florida, I'd bike to campus in the morning heat, and take the bus back in the afternoon during the daily thunderstorm; in Iowa, it was only 5 minutes, but often 20 below!)

So now I am living my dream of cycling year round to and from work. The benefits include (a) no pollution or greenhouse gases, (b) saving money for gas and car insurance, (c) good exercise. Last semester, one of my students in our senior seminar on science & Christianity noted that it seems to be a pattern in creation that if there's one benefit, there's often another. He used my cycling to work as an example in a presentation in which he talked about the holistic nature of creation stewardship. Christians in particular have a God-given calling to be his responsible representatives on earth, based especially (but not only) on Genesis 1:26. Thus it appears that my cycling to work is also a component of my teaching the Christian worldview.

Last updated Jun. 16th, 2008 at 1:01pm by Arnold Sikkema