Cyclist makes friends with more than 1,000 strangers during eight-year global expedition
Know & Go
What: The Bicycle Built for Two Billion Family Book Tour
Who: Jamie Bianchini, author of “A Bicycle Built for Two Billion”
When: 7-8 p.m. Friday
Where: Ol’ Republic Brewery, 124 Argall Way, Nevada City
For more information: http://abicyclebuiltfortwobillion.com/event/nevada-city/
Jamie Bianchini has a special tool when it comes to making friends in foreign countries.
The 43-year-old entrepreneur kept the rear seat of his tandem bicycle empty, so anyone he met during his globe-trotting journey would have a chance to hop on, pedal along, and chat about family, dreams, or life in general.
“We will invite everyone,” said Bianchini. “Whether they are female, male, or of any religion, we will invite them to bike with us. We put trust in strangers, and they will have to trust us.”
Through an expedition that lasted eight years and spanned more than 12,000 miles, Bianchini crisscrossed 81 countries and became friends with more than 1,000 strangers.
The cyclist will share his amazing adventures today at Ol’ Republic Brewery.
The free presentation, which is a part of a nationwide tour to promote his book, “A Bicycle Built for Two Billion,” will begin at 7 p.m. But guests will have the opportunity to meet Bianchini and his family beginning at 6 p.m.
Bianchini developed the idea to cycle around the world when he was trudging through a difficult period of life.
“I am an entrepreneur, and before I thought it was all about me doing what I wanted,” said Bianchini. “That drove me into bankruptcy.”
When Bianchini hit rock bottom during his late 20s, he decided to do something meaningful with his life. So he and his partner, Garryck Hampton, concocted an idea to “create peace to the world” by inviting people to share a ride on their tandem bikes.
“We didn’t know how we are going to create peace by riding the bikes, we just created the name,” said Bianchini.
The two adventurers developed a company called “Peace Peddlers,” and embarked on a journey around the globe in 2002. Their expedition took them to the rolling hills of Uganda, the jungles of Brazil, and some of the “most beautiful and volatile regions of Asia.”
Bianchini said he had heard gunshots, contracted illness, and even experienced a bombshell exploding near his shelter, but he was fueled by a single desire.
“It was a passion to complete, to finish the journey with people,” said Bianchini. “It was my calling, it was more than just an expedition, it was my life purpose … to demonstrate that you can go to any corner of the world and find people you are comfortable with.”
This simple spirit led Bianchini to Innocence, a Ugandan who had never ridden a bike before.
While riding on the back of Bianchini’s tandem, Innocence shared with Bianchini his life-long dream of establishing a school for children orphaned by AIDS.
That dream became a reality through Bianchini’s help. Bianchini said a portion of his book sales will continue to provide the funding for The Good Hope School for AIDS orphans in Uganda.
“One of the things we would like to encourage people is not to judge something, but to see them with your own eyes and trust the people on the ground there,” he added.
Bianchini’s bicycles were stolen twice, but the local community recovered them during both incidents.
“I heard more laughter in the poorest countries, they are more joyful with simple things in life,” he said. “They are the ones who are willing to give you more, they took me into their house and community and they trusted me with the kids.”
Bianchini’s adventure eventually led him to his wife: Cristina, a Spanish native who shared a ride with him while she was backpacking through Argentina.
“She came on board for a short ride, and she ended up staying,” he recalled.
The two married and started a family together. The couple currently resides in Santa Cruz, where they are raising two small children.
What adventures does Bianchini have on his agenda?
“We are little by little easing our way to being more stable,” he said.
He said his focus right now is on raising his family and finding a good community to settle in. In fact, this is one reason Bianchini is in Nevada City.
“The most important thing I see is to let the Nevada City community know that our family would really love to meet them personally at our event tomorrow night,” he said.
For more information, go to http://bb42b.com/event/nevada-city/.
To contact Staff Writer Teresa Yinmeng Liu, call 530-477-4236, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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