On Oct. 24, Jamie Bianchini, a peace-loving bicyclist, will pedal over the Golden Gate Bridge to complete an 81-country, around-the-world tandem bike adventure. The twist?
The second seat of the bicycle was reserved for anybody who wanted to hop on and enjoy part of the journey. Calling themselves the Peace Pedalers, Bianchini and his buddy Garryck Hampton have shared their bikes with more than 1,000 strangers. The idea was to promote peace, cultural awareness and random acts of kindness.
“A lot of people thought we were nuts,” says Bianchini. “They didn't believe we would pull it off.” Naysayers predicted that Bianchini's dream trip (which began in 2002 in San Francisco) would be a disaster, complete with muggings, diseases, and collisions with careless drivers. The doubters also predicted that people around the world would laugh when Bianchini invited them to join on his tandem bicycle adventure.
Instead, Bianchini will return to San Francisco on Oct. 28 after sharing his bicycle with people in 81 different countries.
“The average person really is a good person,” Bianchini says. “We ended up getting taken in by all these families. When we were cold and wet people took care of us, when we were lost they helped us. This awareness grew that we were all part of a global community.”
It was this realization that inspired Bianchini's many grassroots projects, inspired by the people and communities he connected with along the way. From environmental projects like Ecuatopia, to community development projects that bring water or bicycles to towns in need, and health and education projects that deliver Malaria medications and school supplies, Bianchini found his bike journey was a catalyst for helping those in need.
But Bianchini isn't one to rest on his spandex-coated laurels or cast his bike helmet in bronze. Instead of collapsing from cramped calf muscles, malaria, dysentary, and lack of oxygen—like a normal person might upon completing an eight year bike ride across six continents—Bianchini will hop right back on the bike to pedal from San Francisco to San Diego on an open invitation expedition he's calling the California Peace Ride.
“I want to share the magic of cycling the open road in a spirit of openness, acceptance and peace,” Bianchini announced in an Oct. 2 press release. “It brought me unforgettable experiences around the world and I trust the same will happen in my own home state,”
The California Peace ride is free, and everyone is invited along for the fun. Participants can join up for any or all of the journey. Families are welcome, and Bianchini will be accompanied by his partner Cristina and two month old son, Luca, who will be driving the support vehicle (Cristina, not Luca). Bianchini even has extra bicycles for people who don't have their own.
The California Peace Ride and the multimedia presentation that accompanies it, explains Bianchini, is on a mission to reduce unnecessary fear and prejudice that many Americans have about the world outside their local communities.
“In America our media sources are focused on the bad news; the negative world news,” Bianchini said. “My vision is to lower the fear the people have and tell the truth about what there really is outside our own bubble of existence. It's that fear and prejudice that's stopping out ability to have cross-religious friendships and end cross-cultural prejudices.”
On Saturday, Oct. 30, the California Peace Ride will take off from San Francisco and participants will pedal towards Santa Cruz, stopping in Half Moon Bay for a night of hard-earned rest. On Halloween morning at 8 a.m., Bianchini and whoever joins him will ride from Half Moon Bay to Davenport, a distance of about 40 miles. After enjoying lunch at the Davenport Bakery Bar & Grill, the peddlers will work their wheels 12 miles down the coast to Santa Cruz. Participants are invited to wear their “peddling costume,” but are advised not to ask the wildlife for candy (trick-or-treating on a tandem bicycle is not recommended by Good Times).
The ride will be followed by a Peace Ride Party and sneak preview screening of the Peace Pedalers feature film from 3 to 7 p.m. at the Bicycle Trip, 1001 Soquel Ave. Food and beer will be provided by Whole Foods and the Seabright Brewery.
People interested in joining Jamie Bianchini's California Peace Ride should call or text him at (619) 788-1298.
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