What Would Jesus Ride? An Audience with @PedalingPastor

5th February 2022

The Spokesmen Cycling Podcast

EPISODE 292: What Would Jesus Ride? An Audience with the Pedaling Pastor

SPONSOR: Jenson USA

HOST: Carlton Reid

GUEST: G. Travis Norvell

TOPICS: Travis Norvell is the pastor of Judson Memorial Baptist Church in Minneapolis, MN. On twitter he’s the @pedalingpastor. We talk about cars, parking lots, what Jesus would ride and Travis’ new book Church on the Move.

LINKS:

Print book

Kindle

TRANSCRIPT:

Carlton Reid 0:14
Welcome to Episode 292 of the Spokesmen cycling podcast. This show was engineered on the 5th of February 2022.

David Bernstein 0:25
The Spokesmen cycling roundtable podcast is brought to you by Jenson, USA Jenson USA, where you will find a great selection of products at unbeatable prices with unparalleled customer service. Check them out at Jensonusa.com/the spokesman. Hey everybody, it’s David from the Fredcast. And of course, I’m one of the hosts and producers of The Spokesmen cycling roundtable podcast since 2006. For shownotes links and other information, check out our website at www.the-spokesmen.com. And now, here’s my fellow host and producer Carlton Reid and the spokesmen.

Carlton Reid 1:09
Thanks, David. And welcome to the show, which is just over half an hour with Travis Norvell of Minneapolis, Minnesota. He’s the @pedalingpastor on Twitter, as in pastor in church, not pasta in Italy. And we talk cars, parking lots, and what Jesus would ride. We also chatted about Travis’s great new book, Church on the Move. You’re not religious? No worries. The book is evangelical mostly about bicycling, walking, and public transit. So Travis, you’ve been the pastor of Judson Memorial Baptist Church in Minneapolis for 10 years. And your Twitter handle kind of gives it away in that it’s @pedalingpastor even though you’ve got one too few, many Ls. But anyway, pedalling, pedalling. Has anybody wants to follow you, and you’re from England. Don’t put an extra L yet you won’t get Travis. So @pedalingpastor kind of explains why we’re going to be gonna be talking today. But you’ve written a book, and I’ve read that book. But before we go, to talk about that excellent book, tell me about the weather where you are right now because my, my understanding is it kind of gets cold there.

Travis Norvell 2:31
Oh, yeah. I mean, today, it’s right now it’s negative two Fahrenheit, and a windshield will be negative 20 throughout the day, so it gets pretty cold. Yeah,

Carlton Reid 2:39
yeah. And I’ve seen photographs on your social media of you been wrapped up pretty warm, and you know, full on, you know, gloves on the handlebars and and you’ve got to have spike tires, all this kind of stuff. So you’re gonna be riding year round. Yeah.

Travis Norvell 2:56
Yeah, me year round writer. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. It’s, it’s, it’s it’s fun, though. It’s fun. Once you get started, you know, your body creates enough body heat, you get warmed up pretty quick. Yeah,

Carlton Reid 3:08
You’re part of Minneapolis, cos you’re only a couple of miles from where George Floyd was murdered aren’t you?

Travis Norvell 3:16
Yeah, yeah. George Floyd. The murder site is about about a mile and a half north of where I live, and about two miles east of where the churche is, yeah.

Carlton Reid 3:26
Mm hmm. Are you riding from your home to your church every day? Is that is that kind of what you’re using your bike for? You’re using your bike for everything?

Travis Norvell 3:35
I use my bike for everything. Yeah, when we first moved here, I had a Volkswagen and I loved it. But the heater in it went caput, and I was tired of putting money in it. So I sold it. And the story is, you know that, that it’s happened on a Sunday that the heater went out? And I was preaching a sermon. It was basically on how do people? How do you sacrifice something so other people can experience joy for the common good. And my daughter who was 12 at the time, I went to tell her good night. And she said, Hey, Dad, I was listening, thinking about your sermon today, which is, you know, totally unusual for a 12 year old, I understand. But she said, you know, what are you willing to sacrifice so others can experience joy? And that just that just floored me? I felt like a complete phoney. And I said, you know, honey, I don’t know, but I’ll have an answer for you in the morning. So the heater in the car went out. And I decided I was just gonna start biking, walking, taking public transit full time. And that was you know, that was nine years ago. So I use my bike for everything. You know, go to the store, go to the Good work, good library entertainment. My wife and I we go out on dates. We ride our bikes. Yeah. It’s it’s kind of endeavour.

Carlton Reid 4:47
That’s kind of a preview of your first chapter because you mentioned that that’s that’s how your book begins about that. Yeah, yeah. Here we go. Tada. Now another thing that’s in that first chapter, which tickled me and which I’ve told you I’d tickle me when we’re emailing this. And it kind of describes your your community as well. And so I’ll just I’ll just quote it back to you. You’ll know of course very well. But you’ve got to explain what you mean by this because I love it. So you say your congregation of mostly quirky people who live at the intersection of the television shows the Vicar of Dibley and Northern Exposure. What do you mean by that?

Travis Norvell 5:25
Well, you know, every meeting that wherever in, I keep a little journal, and I’m like, when do we cross the Vicar of Dibley line. And last night, we had a weird a two hour meeting, and we made it all the way to an hour and 23 minutes before we crossed it. So we it, you know, it’s hard to really pinpoint, but there’s always some point where we segue into like, over these minute details, that don’t really mean anything except to us. And we start, you know, not bickering, but having these deep conversations on. How, what is the sentence of this motion going to actually look like? You just kind of devolve into it, or you know, you’re sitting in the middle of a meeting. And someone just comes up with the most off the wall question. And then it feels like you’re in an episode of Northern Exposure, like somebody just walked through the door. And, you know, like, they you know, that all they have is a pair of shorts, one and nothing else, it just feels one of those kind of weird meeting. So that’s what I was talking about the congregation that way, it’s, you never know what’s going to happen. There’s always going to be somebody that’s going to have some kind of off the wall, comment to say, but then they’re also going to be this, you know, kind of loving, compassionate people at the same time. So it just makes for a very interesting day at work. Yeah,

Carlton Reid 6:36
Yeah coz both those programmes, they’re they’re definitely quirky, the people involved, but there is absolutely tonnes and tonnes of warm heartedness in both shows, isn’t that right?

Travis Norvell 6:46
Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Yeah, this is the kind of beauty of everyday people, you know, kind of, in the midst of bizarre circumstances, but then also just common everyday things you see,

Carlton Reid 6:59
As I said, you’ve written a book, titled Church on the Move, a practical guide for ministry, in the community. And I do want to ask you in a minute about, you know who that book is for. But first of all, tell us about your personal journey. So in the book, you talk about in your college years being hit, you’re running a bike, getting around, and you were hit by a beer bottle, thrown by some, some yield, and then you kind of said, I’m never going to get on a bike again. And then, you know, fast forward a few years, and you’re actually at a funeral, give giving the funeral. And then you said the person you were, you were eulogising, at this burial service was a lifetime cyclist, and that kind of got you inspired again, so tell me about that journey.

Travis Norvell 7:50
Yeah, you know, I grew up in a on a, on top of a mountain in a country on a, you know, in the middle of country on a dirt road. And I loved riding bikes. But to get to the nearest place to ride a bike safely, you know, had to go off the mountain and then down to town. And, and I just loved riding bikes. I just, you know, as a kid, I just, it was something I love to do. But there wasn’t like a real, there wasn’t a biking community in my hometown. And there wasn’t really a safe place to really ride. I mean, I don’t know how many times almost got hit, as a kid, just people taking corners too fast and running through stop signs and such. And then when I was in sixth grade, though, our patrols you know, there’s the there’s the people at public schools, who stand is crossing guards for people across the street into the school. Our patrol group, we went to Washington DC for spring trip. So we got on a bus and we drove eight hours to DC. Everyone else is looking at the, you know, the DC, all the monuments in Washington, DC, but I was amazed, because that was the first time I ever saw a separated bike lane. And, you know, I was 12 years old. And that’s all I wanted to talk about. And I came home and my parents like, what do you think a DC I was like, Mom, dad, they have these bike lanes that are that are separate from the road and people ride on them. And they can go all over town and and they were they were just like, Yeah, but did you go the Washington Monument? Yes, yes. But there were these bike lanes, and they just kind of rolled their eyes at me. So I’ve always had this as a dream to be in someplace like this. But it just never would work out. And then I’m at the I’m doing the funeral. And one of the family members is talking about this guy. And he said, you know, he was a really kind of bizarre person. He rode his bike year round to Providence, Rhode Island, and he would ride it in the winter and he had these special tires. And everyone just kind of chuckled at him being you know, centric person. And I’m sitting there going, you can ride you around your bike and you don’t have you don’t have to have a bike lane. So that that just started then I was off after that. And I kept trying. And I just couldn’t but just never did work out when we moved to New Orleans. I thought I finally found that you know, this, this city, it’s flat, it’s compact, it’s easy to ride around. It’ll be no problem at all. And then I started riding but the one thing I didn’t think about New Orleans is a subtropical climate. So every day at four o’clock, it rains pretty much, and I would get stuck in these rainstorms unprepared. And there was a real boundary that was crossed, because it’s so hot and humid there, I would I would go into a parishioners house, and I would just be covered in sweat. And one time I go to visit and and the person that I’m visiting says, Can I get you an extra shirt? It just felt like a really odd boundary to be in, not to say, you know, kind of an odd place. So I said, Can I just sit by the fan instead? So So, so I kept trying it there. And then when we finally came to Minneapolis, you know, that’s when my daughter preached a sermon. But there’s also this great biking community in Minneapolis, and they were just a lot of people, the people that bike shop, when I told him the perennial bike shop, when I told him what I was wanting to do. They just, you know, took about a half hour and walked me through how you’re going to do winter biking, the, the gear you need, the problems you’re going to have and here’s, you know, Blessings for your ride. So it was just a, it’s been a very supportive place.

Carlton Reid 11:15
In those two years that you’ve spent in Minneapolis in your community. You’ve used that many of those anecdotes in this, this this book church in the loop. So it’s this book for your community is this book for and it could have been for the Vicar of Dibley equivalent in the UK, you know, vicars who are wanting to, you know, ride around their parishes who this book is for?

Travis Norvell 11:41
Yeah, I mean, the primary audience is, you know, pastors and vicars and priests. That’s the primary … that’s who I wrote it for. But the other part of his is, I think a lot of other people can find some inspiration from it. But just because it’s just a way for people to get to know their neighbourhood, by riding your bike by walking by taking public transit. If you take that way of transportation, you’re just exposing yourself to so much more in the community. You’re making yourself open for new relationships. So even though it is geared specifically for parish priests, and pastors, it has a broader appeal in a lot of ways. So I’m hearing from community organisers. Also, just hearing from from people, nonprofits, you know, how do we get to know our community better? Well, here’s, here’s a great way to do it.

Carlton Reid 12:37
Now there’s a whole chapter in the book about parking lots. And how to depend I mean, this is for me, as a as a UK resident, I don’t get this quite so much, but we don’t Yeah. And I know that you get that in America, and basically how auto dependent churches have become. Tell me why being automobile dependent, isn’t good for a church. And, and I know you do mention many anecdotes in the book about but so what can be done with parking lots instead. And this is, of course, a parable for everybody, not just for churches, but just describe your thinking around that.

Travis Norvell 13:20
Yeah, you know, parking lots. They enable … well, first, I should say, you know, most churches in America, city churches in America before WWI they were all built around our being accessible for walkers, bicyclists, and people that took the streetcar so that none of these churches had parking lots. And for you know, think churches for 1,900 years did not have parking lots. This is a recent phenomenon. And then what happened when churches became auto centric, and in parking lot dependent, they became disembodied from the neighbourhoods that they serve. So before you had everybody within probably a 20 minute drive, or walk or streetcar, ride, attending church, but a car enables you to drive 45 minutes to an hour. I’ve heard from some people that that right into church, so rather than a neighbourhood church, you become a church that’s in the neighbourhood, but nobody from the neighbourhood attends. And so it just becomes this kind of vacuous place, and then a parking lot just increases that. So you tear down houses in the middle of neighbourhoods. So you can have parking, which is a parking lot, just a temporary storage of an automobile at maximum a few hours a week. And it just creates these barriers between the church and the community. And it enables people to just kind of slip into the church community for an hour or two a week and then slip back home to their house. wherever they reside, but there’s also kind of some psychological and I would say spiritual parts of this as well, let’s say that you count the number of churches that you pass on your way driving to church, the number is going to be here in America is going to be quite large, regardless where you are. And let’s say that you’re the church that you’re at, you kind of get in a disagreement with someone, it’s so easy with a car to say, You know what, I’m just going to go to the next one, I don’t have to worry about it. But if you are walking, biking, taking a bus, to a place, you’re kind of committed to it, you’re gonna have to work out through workout some of those feelings and emotions. And you’re gonna have to learn how to get around, get along with people that you don’t really maybe you wouldn’t invest your time with. If you’re in a car, it just creates a little bit ease of way of getting out of relationships. And I think that’s a that’s a bad move for churches for faith communities for any kind of, you know, neighbourhood organisation. Hmm. So, so that’s why I think parking lots, you know, are not exactly the best investment of space and money for faith communities. But I think there’s things you can’t let’s say you have like a gigantic parking lot, there’s things you can do. You know, here here in Minnesota, somebody started what’s called the straw bale gardening movement, where you just basically grow vegetables in a straw bale that has some fertiliser, and it’s just some nitrogen really … in one parking spot, you can grow enough to feed a family of four for an entire year. Or my thought is like, don’t think of ’em as church parking lots, think of them as church plazas. In a way that’s just more than just temporary storage of automobiles, but it’s a place where people can gather, you can have farmer’s markets, you can have basketball courts, you can have soccer pitches, you can have arts, marketing, just there’s so many things you can do other than just store a car.

Carlton Reid 17:03
You know, look, you talk about how one parking lot of a church where there was some hoops, basketball hoops, yeah, put up. And then that was deemed by the church elders or by whoever, as Oh, that’s, that’s just not good use of this space. And then they came along and and chopped it down and how unChristian, that is when you’ve got a lot of kids there. And people using this as a community space. And then you you take that away again, that’s that’s kind of unChristian.

Travis Norvell 17:36
It is it’s totally and you know, that was the that was one of the highlights of my youth was at basketball court. We loved going there, we spent so much time there. And they it this was a perfect place to a parking lot was for people from the outside of the community to drive into park their cars, go to worship and to get in their cars and leave. But the parking lot for us was a basketball court. And we all lived in the community. And it was our place to go and hang out. And rather than try to see how these two could be combined the church and in the basketball court, the church only saw it the only imagination they had was this is only for cars and cars only. And it’s it’s disturbing. Our Sunday morning worship. So once one day we were out playing and as we were leaving, we saw a guy come with a blowtorch and cut the basketball poles down and we just you know we just started crying it was it was terrible. Yeah. I just thought that was a poor imagination on their part. Hmm.

Carlton Reid 18:40
So cycling, I mean, your book it majors on cycling, but there’s definitely tonnes of walking in there. And and transit is in there a lot too. So all of those ways of getting around not in cars. Good way, as we know, of really seeing and experiencing a locality. Now driving can be doesn’t have to be but certainly saved a lot of times is quite selfish. It’s even. And you mentioned a poster that you put up the seven deadly sins. You could say driving everywhere actually has quite a few of the seven deadly sins. So you’ve got sloth, obviously. Yeah, there’s some envy in there plenty of times when you’re looking at the you know, the other car and you want to upgrade and stuff. Definitely a lot of pride in that. So again, we’re coming on to the unChristian stuff about driving here. I’m not trying to put too much in your mouth, but anyway. So my question is, What would Jesus drive?

Travis Norvell 19:45
There’s a whole campaign about this. Maybe 10 years ago, there was a minister who came up with an idea what would Jesus drive and you know, obviously, they came up with a, a Prius at the time, some kind of, you know, hybrid vehicle, but you know, I don’t I think Jesus would drive it all. You know, I think that he would, obviously he liked he loved to walk. We read the gospels, but I think Jesus would be out there on a bike. I think Jesus would be walking, I think Jesus would be taking public transit because he wanted to be around people. So he would, that’s the best way to be around people. He wanted to be around those in America, a lot of times that people on public transit are people who can’t afford to have a car. There are people who are trying to struggling through life. And I think that’s definitely where, you know, Jesus would be hanging out at the bus stops hanging out the rail stops and would be on those places rather than in a car. Yeah. And I think that he would take the money that he would have put into a car and put it to better use and for the common good. Mm hmm.

Carlton Reid 20:51
Now as as somebody who has studied this professionally, as in I did religious studies at university, I would say yeah, I’m, I’m pretty much with you there. Apart from the smiting the Romans, but all that kind of stuff, but anyway. So continuing this seven deadly sins theme, another another sin is wrath. So getting angry, people get angry. And we know this people get angry driving in, in cars now I have I, I put this in my in my Roads Were Not Built for Cars book actually has a whole chapter or a whole section on people getting angry, but, and I mentioned that I’ve seen nuns driving at me aggressively, you know, about to knock me off my bike. It says something about driving turns mild mannered, goodly people into something very different. And you mentioned in your book, the very famous Disney cartoon Goofy, where he turns into, you know, Mr. Wheeler, after being really you know, Mr. Mr. Walker, see becomes like this, this, this this horrible person when he gets behind the wheel of a car. So how can we, how can we be made to recognise that we shouldn’t be Mr. Wheeler, the selfish, angry wrathful Mr. Wheeler, we should be much more like the mild mannered, kindly. Mr. Walker?

Travis Norvell 22:25
I think it takes a lot of intentionality on the driver’s part, you know, the big I think the driving disconnects you from life, it puts you in a, you know, in a steel box, where you can have, you know, temperature, temperature control, and you have also, you know, aroma control, depending on how what sense you want emitted in your car, you also put in this in this box, whatever, music or podcast or whatever you want to hear, everything’s controlled about it. And so you’re so disconnected from other people. And studies have shown you once you go over about really 15 to 20 miles an hour, you can’t read another human face. So people, rather than just humans, it’s almost like they’re transformed into objects. So the intentionality on the driver’s part has to be so much but, but I mean, people just get in a car and just drive I don’t think there’s much intentionality at all. The I in the book, I talk a little bit about, you know, the Vatican came out with the rules for drivers. People dictum, and, and we’re talking about that the Vatican had to say that, you know, that drivers should occasionally pull over on the side of the road and pray that prayer, just to kind of just to kind of break up the monotony. And, I mean, think about that, what other what other task, does the Vatican say, when you’re in the middle, you should probably stop about every half hour and pray.

Carlton Reid 23:53
I picked that out of your book, I definitely highlighted that. So the diktat said, “when driving a motor vehicle, special circumstances may lead us to behave in an unsatisfactory” and and this is amazing, “and even barely human manner.” I mean, just wow!

Travis Norvell 24:11
It is wow. Exactly. Yeah.

Carlton Reid 24:14
But that’s never really I mean, that’s, that’s just a, you know, a tiny footnote, it’s never really expressed out loud. So as you said, right at the beginning there, you know, about that guy who did the eulogy at the funeral is the you know, you’re seen as pretty peculiar people. So to be a pedalling pastor, is seem to be peculiar.

Travis Norvell 24:39
It’s peculiar, and it’s even peculiar within my own profession. You know, I have a little licence plate I had made for $6 that just says clergy on it. And I put that on the back of my bike and ride it around. And the reason I did that one time I was, I mean, I like cars. I’m not gonna say I’m not I’m not anti car. They’re parts of motor vehicle. Was it I love my dad used to work with him all the time. And that’s what I spent most of my weekends doing was helping him rebuild engines. But here I was sitting at a stoplight, and another person of the clergy pulled up, and they were driving a car, well name it, but I knew that car very well, and it costs $65,000. And as they pulled away, they had the clergy sticker on it. And I thought, okay, what are we saying about our profession, that this is, this is how we, this is what we are projecting, you know, presenting to the world. So, you know, I so even within our own profession, when I show up to events, there’s there starting to be some other people ride bikes and on Twitter, you know, I found some people that around the nation that are doing this, too, and especially, you know, in the UK, there’s more. But still, we’re viewed as a little bit peculiar that why would you ride a bike to, you know, to for a pastoral visit, or to a conference or to appreciate event? Hmm,

Carlton Reid 25:57
I mean, doctors get the same, district nurses get, anybody who chooses a very practical method of getting around gets the same stick really to be hit with your peculiar for doing something that’s actually incredibly sensible.

Travis Norvell 26:14
And, you know, in the middle of, you know, the climate crisis. Here’s a way that okay, until there’s, you know, full electrified vehicles, which I don’t think solves much problem. But until then, here’s something you could do right now that would cut emissions that would make you happier, and make you healthier, and would put you in better touch with your community. And yet, it’s still not adapted as this, you know, cure all which I think the bikes a miracle is a miracle machine.

Carlton Reid 26:43
Hmm. You also wrote that, in the book that bike lanes are not just for privileged, Spandex-clad, Lycra-clad speed-racing bicyclists, but I’ve still remember when we’re talking, when you’re talking before I had this image of our own bird was couple of years ago, maybe a bit more than that of an African-American church who were complaining about bike lanes being put in outside their church. And they were almost saying this is a racist thing to do. Because all you’re going to get is middle class white guys coming past that African-American church and how bad that was. And I found that quite odd. But there is this, it’s almost a stigma of this as a middle class white thing to do, even though the great majority of people on bikes are actually poor people. But there’s a stigma attached to the fact that bike lanes are for white middle class, people. So how do you square that circle?

Travis Norvell 27:50
Yeah, I mean, it’s tough. It’s tough. Very much. So. And the article you’re talking about, I believe, was in Washington, DC. And I think that’s something that bicycle advocates need to think about, you know, is kind of these undertone racial themes that are running through it. And I had a, that’s the churches in DC, if you look at there, there are, you know, historical, African-American churches that are still present in areas where the membership of the of those congregations can’t afford the gentrification of the neighbourhood. So they’ve had to move away. And so I have kind of a very soft spot, that soft spot in my heart that we need to create a lot of space as much as possible for African-American churches and other churches in those regards that need to have I would hope that we would give them more leniency when it comes to bike lanes. You know, there’s ways you can work with the community, though we can a bike lane be for a few hours on Sunday, can it be can parking be allowed in it? I mean, I think there’s ways that the bike community and churches, African-American churches could work together, rather than being you know, it’s a it’s either or it can be both and in that regard, but for me, the the, you know, the part where I started seeing racial justice and bicycling happened in Atlanta, Georgia, when I got off the bus, was going to the Martin Luther King centre, and there’s Ebenezer Baptist across the street where he was where he was pastor, you know, there’s a bike lane in front of Ebenezer Baptist Church. And I started thinking, Okay, what is the connection between bicycling and social justice and racial justice? And you start thinking about it, okay, in America, the civil rights movement was, you know, a movement but it was, you know, as a movement based on the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which, if you think of in America, that was the greatest moment for bicycling, walking and public transit in a America that the African-American community organised and for a year plus, they walked, they took bicycles and they had community carpools to get to work and do errands. There’s a wonderful picture of a Montgomery city bus empty. But it’s surrounded by African-American kids on bicycles riding around it that was taking place during the Montgomery bus boycott. So So I think that if we look historically into this, we can see that bicycling primarily and walking in public transit can be ways for us to form new relationships in our divided democracy. Hmm, that’s, that’s right. That’s the best way I try to square that circle.

Carlton Reid 30:44
Hmm. You describe your parish as a bikable parish, not not not because it’s veined with bike lanes. But just because you can get everything in your locality. So like the famous now famous, you know, the 15 Minute city? Yeah, where everything everything is is is close. But you also discovered by using Excel documents and Google all sorts of different tech that you discovered of where your people in your community live. You found that the 75% of your community also lived close to the to the church. So are automobile centred churches getting it wrong?

Travis Norvell 31:33
I think so. Yeah, I think so. You know, and a study came out, but in Baylor University, which which I quote in the book, you know, most people drive 15 to 20 minutes to church, that you know, it, they’re already not driving long distances, they don’t live that far away. And it’s usually that 25% of people that live far away, it’s how churches have kind of imagined, that’s their target audience, which, which I think they got it wrong. Our target audience is the people within the that 15 to 20 minute city, the 15 to 20 minute neighbourhood. Yeah, and it’s great. And let’s, let’s use the parking lots, then if we have parking lots, let’s use those for the people who live far away, you know, where we’re at with what’s called a welcoming and affirming church, we are, you know, LGBTQIA+ affirming congregation, you may not be able to find that in a community that’s maybe 40 minutes away. So let’s reserve our parking for families and individuals who are looking for a more inclusive neighbourhood mean more inclusive faith community, let’s save our parking spots for them and really concentrate on those within the walkable, bikable, public translatable parts of our neighbourhood. And I think if a lot of churches did a Google Map survey where they put in their directory, and then you can pin each address, I think they would find a great majority of their congregation would would be within that 15 to 20 minutes circle and to begin with, so focus on that, and leave the parking spots and other other places for people outside that circle.

Carlton Reid 33:15
Of course, many people would, even if they live just five minutes away by walking, prefer to drive. You how’d you get around that?

Travis Norvell 33:26
Well, you know, we haven’t really succeeded that. Well. Judson I mean, I’m trying, I’m trying it, it’s it’s tough. But however, you start to see it happening slowly. You know, when I first started this experiment, my kids were mortified, and thought that this meant that we were going to walk or ride or take the bus everywhere. And I said, Look, this is my experiment for my job. You know, if y’all want to join me, you can when you want to. And, you know, it took a few years, and then all of a sudden, you know, my, my kids started riding bikes with me everywhere. And then they started realising that, you know, we don’t need to have a driver’s licence, we don’t need to be have a car to go around the city and hang out with our friends. In fact, they actually found that they were a little bit freer than their friends who were car dependent because their friends who were car dependent had to either get permission from the parents for the car, or they had to get a job to help pay for the car. But my kids, they were able to do otherwise. And then my wife started after a couple of years. One day she just came down one morning she had a cup of coffee and she said okay, I’m going to do it. And I said do what and she said I’m going to start biking to work and it just kind of slowly happened within my family but then also the I’ve noticed church people there’s been a few Sundays in the summer when I went out and we had there was no place there no other spots for bicycles everyone had at their was taken up all the bike parking spots, and there were more people walking. I’m just hopeful that you know, little by little we can we can try to change things. For example, But I’d say that recently, the one thing that I’ve been noticing is, I haven’t really done a good job of myself myself promoting bicycling, walking, taking public transit, as a viable option for transportation, for health, and for community engagement. And that is something that really changed during the pandemic. You know, because biking was one of the great ways we could get around and be together as a community. So we started doing bike tours of the neighbourhood. And you could tell that there’s, we’re gaining some momentum on trying to be less car dependent.

Carlton Reid 35:35
Hmm. Travis it’s been fascinating talking to you. Where can people get your book and spell out your pedalling pastor name for people who, who don’t realise that there isn’t two L’s in it in the American spelling. So tell us that. And then I want to finish actually on on a prayer. And if you don’t remember your own prayer, that’s in the back of your book, and you can’t flick through it, then I’ve got it written down here. But anyway, first of all, tell us where people can get the book, what you are who you are sorry, on Twitter, and let’s let’s finish on that prayer.

Travis Norvell 36:10
Yeah, well, you can find the book at Judsonpress.com. That is, that’s the press that published it Judson Press, that’s the American Baptist press. You can also find it on Amazon. It will be on bookshop and other kinds of independent places, but the best place would be actually just to go to Judson Press in order from there or to, you know, order on Amazon. If you you can find me on social media on Twitter primarily at @pedalingpastor and the prayer. Do you mean the prayer for sidewalks?

Carlton Reid 36:43
No. No that “may your wheels always spin true” that one

Travis Norvell 36:49
May your wheels always spin true. May your brakes always grab. May drivers always see you, and may the smile only riding a bike can evoke, always remain on your face. Happy riding.

Carlton Reid 37:03
Thanks to Travis Norvell there. And thanks also to you for listening to Episode 292 of the Spokesmen cycling podcast brought to you in association, as always, with Jenson USA, watch out for the next episode popping up in your feed later this month. But meanwhile, get out there and ride …

One Comment

  1. February 5, 2022

    Travis, this was so enlightening & informative. I enjoyed every moment of listening to this thought-provoking podcast on the importance of community building, via bicycling.

    And, I especially loved your little laugh when you were speaking about “being geared up”; a nice little pun. I caught that!!!

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