A book with a heartwarming, honorable, and inspirational message for anyone searching for a compassionate perspective.


A Bicycle Built for Two Billion


An exhilarating debut memoir that chronicles a fallen entrepreneur’s eight-year world tour on a tandem bike.

Bianchini’s extraordinary chronicle begins with his often tumultuous childhood and showcases his enduring love of bicycle-riding. He sometimes felt overshadowed by his large extended Northern California family, which fractured when his parents divorced, but his outings on his bike provided the escape he craved. His need for exploration would resurface as an adult after a post-collegiate job slump, numerous failed business ventures, and a breakup that forced him into a period of self-reflection. He and his best buddy, Garryck, came up with an idea to pedal a customized titanium tandem bicycle across the globe, picking up strangers “to help create just a little more peace in our world.” Initially funded by generous sponsors, Bianchini’s Peace Pedalers mission officially embarked on its Stage 1 sequence, which brought the riders from Japan to Australia. Stages 2, 2b, and 3 went from South Africa to Morocco, Italy to Portugal, and Brazil to the United States, respectively, traversing 81 countries altogether. Bianchini and Garryck were able to cover an impressive amount of ground, but this fact pales in comparison to the stories the author shares in this epic travelogue and the kaleidoscopically diverse people they met along the way. A brief ride to a Japanese teahouse gives way to a Fijian Christmas, a sweet-talking session with militant Zimbabwean police officers, descriptions of picturesque Italian Alps scenery and Brazilian Carnival, and an unexpected prospect of fatherhood. Random thefts, flat tires, loneliness, and physical injuries failed to diminish the vigor of the resilient travelers as hundreds of international guest riders (“friendships”) eventually took a seat on their bicycle built for two. Generous pages of scenic photographs personalize the author’s amazing, life-changing journey. However, at more than 400 pages, Bianchini’s slickly produced memoir meanders in places and becomes bloated with exposition; it may have proved cathartic for the author, but it may exasperate readers anxious to cross the finish line.

A book with a heartwarming, honorable, and inspirational message for anyone searching for a compassionate perspective.

Pub Date: April 7, 2015

ISBN: 978-0996137201

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Ludela Press

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2015

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This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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