One Tandem, Eighty Countries

I recently sat down with Jamie Bianchini, the relentless force behind Peace Pedalers. Jamie rode his tandem bike through 80 countries picking up strangers and turning them into friends–it took him 8 years.

Peace Pedalers Rwanda

Peace Pedaler Jamie Bianchini (right) with a guest rider in Rwanda

“The original intention was to go around the world and demonstrate that we’re not all that different. You can cross language, cultural and religious barriers, a lot easier than people thought, with the spirit of play,” Jamie said to me as we settled down in his modest office in Santa Cruz, where he is currently poring over about a thousand of hours of video footage bearing the proof of this belief.

Upon my request he starts at the beginning, recounting what sparked a decade of eye-opening, life-changing adventure–yet it’s clear he is also very excited about the present. His infant son Luca explores the tiny studio with wide eyes and wobbly legs. Jamie’s wife Cristina sits across from him, laughing and smiling through much of his story, which she became a part of when Jamie rolled into Argentina.

You can read about Jamie’s journey and what he’s doing now in the January issue of Urban Velo, in print and here online.

Hop on the bike with Jamie as he pedals through Africa in this video:

Lucky me…

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I’ve been roaming again. Last week, Lake Arrowhead for some mountain respite in a cozy cabin with my BFF and her beautiful family. It was calm and clean and chilly. It was love and peace beneath the falling acorns. I’ve been holding my pen (figuratively) five feet away from my paper in the last couple weeks, reluctant to make the thoughts in my head quite so tangible. It has been a trying time, and I have been frozen in denial and a little bit of fear. Wow, I sure do wear my heart on my sleeve. The past week brought death and pain and loneliness. But, winter is upon us, and tis the season of endings.

Still, I am in blessed places and surrounded by blessings in many forms. This week I’ve been drawn to sleepy Santa Cruz. New places, new faces, new trails and adventures. The northwest is overflowing with beauty. It certainly eases the pain in my heart.