OK, so I haven’t blogged in a long time, but then I haven’t been ridding or re-building any bikes which is where I get my material to write about. It is now one day into the New Year and I am relegated to the trainer in the basement where I am trying my darnedest to ride 5 to 6 days a week. Where this does help to keep my legs in shape and some weight off, it is really pretty boring to write about. I did acquire a heart rate monitor for Christmas which is allowing me to play with target zones and see the estimated calories burned and the percentage of those calories that were fat. Don’t worry, I am not going to bore you with those details either.
Over the Christmas break I did notice an article in VeloNews that peaked my interest in a book entitled “Land of Second Chances” by Tim Lewis. The book is about the Rwandan cycling team and the country in general. There is a coffee shop that was started Roswell, GA called Land of a Thousand Hills that serves Rwandan coffee and so I was somewhat familiar with the countries story, so I thought. Being that I had nothing pressing to do over the New Year’s holiday and to my amazement our local library had a copy of the book so I had my wife pick it up for me. (I don’t have a library card)
I am a pretty picky reader as well as a somewhat slow reader, so I don’t tend to read many books very quickly. If a book does catch hold of me, I can be totally distracted by it. I sat down with this 327 page book on Tuesday after noon and finished it Wednesday night. May it be noted that during that same span of time I made cinnamon rolls from scratch and watched a movie on Tuesday night and took down Christmas decorations on Wednesday afternoon. None the less I amazed my family by literally devouring this book in two days.
The book is about cycling, broken people, a broken nation, broken NGOs, and, of course, second chances. This book is about so much more than cycling and I don’t know where to even begin to explain it. Having lived in a third world country for two years and dealing with a foreign culture this book hit home with me in a deep inner place. The struggles of the foreigners to understand Rwandan culture and the clash of Euro/Western mindsets with those of the native peoples are both very real to me. I wish I could put into words what I feel, but it may be that it is still to fresh and raw for me to process.
This book so captivated me that my wife, a non-cyclist, is planning to read it. I recommend that everyone read it. Read it with the title in the forefront of your mind. Read it knowing that no one is perfect, no one is without blame, and everyone deserves a second, or more, chance.
I think that is it for me. We tend to give up on things too quickly. We pass judgment and move on. I believe second chances are deserved and can be earned, even for those that society deem unworthy. I am glad that I have been given second chances, and thirds and fourths. My guess is that everyone has needed a second chance from time to time. My question to all is, How will are you to offer a second chance to others?