The Bike Escape: finding hope in a simple machine

While on my trainer yesterday, I searched Netflix for “cycling” anything. What I found is amazing. I know that it’s an older video (please excuse my tardiness), but the power of it is still as impactful as ever. I have watched the video twice already and cannot stop thinking about it. Next time I am riding and find myself whining about new shoes, helmet, bike, or the same old route, I will think of these guys.

In 2005, Jonathan “Jacquez” or “Jock” Boyer was coaxed by another bike legend Tom Ritchey to go to  Rwanda. Many know Jock as the first American to ride the Tour de France. Jock won 87 amateur races, 44 professional races, and competed in nine world championships. His life is interesting without a doubt, with very dark places in it (this blog is not to condone his actions of the past) . . .  but Jock’s move to Rwanda would prove to be a defining moment for him, the people of Rwanda, and cycling.

Rising from the Ashes isn’t one directional. It is also about a legendary cyclist, now registered sex offender and tagged child molester (rightly so), doing something good and restorative in his life. In the film Jock discusses the crucial part of cycling. Suffering.  And suffering does many things to many people. Some pull away and avoid it, while some people absorb it and use its awful energy to produce positive change. The amount of suffering placed on the people of Rwanda is hard for many to imagine. The loss of brothers and sisters and mothers and fathers and whole families is hard to comprehend. During the film, I was also compelled to think about Jock Boyer’s victim and her suffering and dealing with emotional pain. This chain of thought produced more reflective things in my own life.

Riding my bicycle is an escape that I’ve discussed before. It gives me time to listen to my thoughts and make better decisions. The Rwandan cycling team was able to escape and dig deep within themselves to hull out the pain and deal with terrifying memories. Although I can’t fathom the amount of pain the team has been through, it is true that everyone suffers in one form or another. Rising above the pain and seeing what we can do for others and take our minds in a new direction is what it is all about.

Listen to the tides slowly turning, wash all your heartaches away. We are part of the fire that is burning, from the ashes we can build another day.  –The Moody Blues


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