1. What prompted your desire to start the International Christian Cycling Club?

IMG_3262

Marlen with wife Bobbi

I got interested in bikes and bike racing when I was 12 years old through a scout master in our local troop. The training discipline, speed, colorful outfits and challenges associated with trying to win even one race was captivating to me. Over the next 8 years I in essence became addicted to the sport. When I turned 20 it became clear that I idolized bike racing over a relationship with God. With that new awareness I came to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ in Dec 1979. I now put God first and cycling second in my life instead of the other way around. In 1986 I then felt the leading of the Lord to give back to cycling what I got out of it— namely my salvation in Christ. Through a mutual connection in Denver Colorado the embryonic framework of ChristianCycling took root. Glory to God!

2. What kind of ministry did ChristianCycling do in the early days?

It was very much one to one. We developed a jersey that promoted the “person” of Jesus Christ and not a “product” like Shimano etc. When riders would come along side us we would ask what team they road for? The responses were mostly product or location (My first team was Scarborough Cycling Club) based. These riders would then see the name on our jersey, “International Christian Cycling Club” and that was the perfect segue into presenting Christ. We then started attending races and other cycling events and having small home gatherings and bible studies. The club grew by word of mouth from there. Glory to God!

3. What are some of the highlights for you of your involvement with ChristianCycling?

There are so many, but in picking a few I loved watching the growth of Spokes take shape from Canada, then to the US and finally overseas. I think the membership went from 4 of us in 1986 to about 1100 in 1993/4. We were developing manuals, procedures, getting incorporated, refining our gospel literature and clothing to promote Jesus Christ in every way to the bicycling culture. The most precious highlights obviously were when a cyclist would come to a personal relationship with Christ. You can’t beat that!

However, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention a sobering highlight, but one that amazes me tIMG_2412o this day. In 1999 when our leadership went through great trial, the Lord had already identified the next generation of ChristianCycling ambassadors who loved Jesus and believed in the ongoing ministry to expose bicyclists to the gospel of Christ. Because of this, we are celebrating the 30th Anniversary of mission and ministry in 2016. Glory to God!

4. What was your main mission or goal for ChristianCycling in the early days?

Keeping the main mission simple was the key. Our hearts were driven to plant seeds and water the message of “exposing cyclists to the person of Jesus Christ” in hopes that they would want to come and receive Him as Savior.” We trusted the Lord as scripture teaches to bring the increase (1 Cor 3:6). Basic yet profound. Glory to God!

5. How would you encourage current members in their use of cycling in order to be a light and testimony?

First of all, keep a vibrant faith of your own by staying grounded in the Scriptures, prayer and Christian fellowship. Second, learn how to gently present Christ on and off the bike (A good resource is William Fey’s “Share Jesus Without Fear”). Third, be yourself. God created us all unique in His own image to represent him with the personalities and talents that have been God given to each of us (Psalm 139:1-6). Lastly, be a kind and courteous bike rider. Encourage the riders your with. Come alongside them. You don’t have to win every intermediary sprint, or drop every rider you can. Let them know you care about them, their family and lives. Over time, your interest in them will demonstrate that Christ is equally interested in them as well. Glory to God!

6. Do you still bike? How does cycling fit into your current life and ministry?

IMG_3226

Marlen with son Marty

I still love to ride, but my racing days and desire to suffer on the bike are long gone. I typically only ride on weekends anywhere from 15-25 miles. I only own a mountain bike now so that is all I do. In the winter I do jump on the spin bike from time to time. As far as ministry goes on the bike it is still the same as when I started. One rider, one conversation starter and seizing the opportunity to tell why I ride for ChristianCycling and my love for the Lord Jesus Christ.

One last piece of great advice for the over 55’s. The only chance of staying with any rider your with is to ask all questions of them at the base of every hill. If they get to you first with a question you will get dropped.

Lastly, from the depths of my heart and soul I do want to thank every member past and present for riding for Christ and simply using ChristianCycling as a platform to “be salt and light” to the cycling community over three decades (Matt 5: 13-16). Glory to God!

Marlen Wells

Co-founder and President from 1992-1999.