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Editorial: An example for us all

August 07, 2010

Hendrik Broekelschen went the distance. In our book, this bicyclist and product of Corona del Mar is a champion on two wheels.

By pulling off a personal cycling feat, young Broekelschen set an example that could only be an inspiration to the 9.5% of Americans and 12.2% of Californians who have landed on the nation and state's unemployment rolls. As Broekelschen recounted in an op-ed piece published in the Pilot last week ("Sounding Off: Biking 1,500 miles along coast," Aug. 4), he became jobless in May.

Rather than become depressed about it, he took that setback and, with some imagination and courage, turned it into something positive. Many folks who lose their jobs might slip backward, seeking solace and comfort in a couch potato's existence. Or they might instead push on by frantically hunting for another means to make a living, but without taking the time to think carefully about what kind of work they really want to do or how they want to live.

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Broekelschen approached his state of joblessness unconventionally. He decided to accomplish a goal that had been percolating in his mind, which was to embark on his own great American road trip. Yet instead of hitting the West's highways in a car, Broekelschen chose a self-dependent mode of transport that was easy on the environment. He cycled solo from Portland, Ore., to Corona del Mar, his hometown, covering the distance of 1,500 miles in 37 days.

He never even suffered a flat tire.

"… I realized that although a door had been closed, a window was now open for me to accomplish a personal goal …," Broekelschen wrote in his op-ed piece. "When I first embarked on my journey I didn't know all that was in store for me … I learned that personal will can conquer any obstacle."

This modest young man's feat may not have been impossible, but we think it was remarkable. What Broekelschen did was the polar opposite of frittering away time. He chose to leave his comfort zone and venture into the unknown. And that can only look good on anyone's resume.

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