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.