Wherever your relationship is going, a tandem will get you there faster
May 12, 2021
The forecast on Mother’s Day promised drizzle, and the temperature was colder than usual for spring. Oh boy, I thought, classic Ballenger biking conditions!
Last Sunday we joined several other cyclists for a Philadelphia-based ride along the Schuylkill River Trail. It was the kick-off ride for Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light’s (PA IPL) Cycling for a Cleaner Future event, which includes a promise to ride 100 miles over three weeks, raise money for this great state-wide climate justice organization, and to advocate for policies that combat climate change. Several riders from St. Martin’s Climate Action Team are participating. You can learn more and sponsor us here.
Jess and I have been riding our tandem on short and long rides since we purchased it eleven years ago for our “tandem anniversary”, celebrating 20 years of marriage. To mark the occasion, we took a 30-mile ride to a bed and breakfast in central PA, through rain, wind, and a harrowing highway crossing in the dark. Not every ride has been that challenging, but there’s something about wet pavement and a wind chill that evokes the thrill of that first biking challenge together.
As Jess likes to say, wherever your relationship is going, a tandem will get you there faster. I like to think that the art of riding a tandem bike is a lot like ballroom dancing. You learn to move with your partner, to anticipate turns and follow a lead. It takes some practice and a will to learn together. Along the way the effort hones the trust required for a relationship marked by synchronicity and solidarity and mutuality. And it gets you places.
As part of PA IPL’s 2021 bike rides, Jess and I will be taking out the tandem weekly, and I’ll be adding to my miles by biking to work at St. Martin’s during the week. Look for reflections from other St. Martin’s riders over the next three weeks. Pray for us, sponsor us, and join us in the ongoing work of climate justice and care.
The Rev. Barbara Ballenger
The Rev. Barbara Ballenger
(215) 247-7466 ext. 102
Barbara (she/her) joined St.
Martin’s in 2014. In June
Barbara’s family moved from State College to Philadelphia, where her husband
works at Drexel University. They’re excited to be a part of St. Martin’s
vibrant faith community. Barbara’s family includes her husband, Jess, adult
son, Jesse, and high school-aged daughter, Hannah. Non-human family members
include Tara the rat and Oakley the dog.
Barbara hales originally from northeast Ohio, where she grew up and went to school. She received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Kent State University and a master’s degree in pastoral ministry from Ursuline College.
Barbara’s ministry background is based largely in the Roman Catholic Church where she worked for more than 17 years in a variety of faith-based positions, including parish faith formation director, campus minister, newspaper reporter and program coordinator for Catholic Relief Services. She also worked for eight years in a performing arts ministry as a retreat leader, songwriter and storyteller.
Most recently Barbara worked for Episcopal Relief & Development as a training coordinator in US Disaster Preparedness and Response. She joined the Episcopal Church in 2010, with the long-term goal of priestly ordination.
Woven through her work in ministry is a passion for social, economic and environmental justice. Over the years, Barbara has worked on issues of peace and non-violence, cultural understanding, global and domestic poverty, sustainability and environmental stewardship.
For fun Barbara loves to read, make music, and turn broken things into mosaics. You’ll probably also see her riding her bike around West Mount Airy and Chestnut Hill. She might even stop and ask you for directions.
Barb began seminary in the fall of 2017. Read more here.
In June 2019, Barb was ordained a Deacon in the Episcopal Church, on her path to full priestly ordination later in the year. Read more about becoming a deacon here.
On Friday, December 13, 2019, Barbara was ordained to the Priesthood at St. Martin's.
Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light Annual Climate Advocacy Bike Ride