I read a lot of "adventure/odyssey" books and honestly I keep expecting them to become formulaic. In that regard I keep getting surprised. When I first secured a copy of "Pedaling to Hawaii" I ran through a series of reactions, the first of which was, "huh?" How could someone have actually pedaled across the Atlantic and half of the Pacific Oceans unnoticed by the media. Then came the incredulity, then the skepticism and then I opened the book and began to read. This process took about three minutes from me laying my hands on it, to beginning to reading it.
I almost stopped. I found the prologue less than captivating but, all that changed in XVIII pages, and from that instant on, I simply couldn't put the book down.
We all tend to preconceive when faced with most unknowns. I wasn't certain that spending months at sea in a wooden, 30 foot, pedal powered boat could possibly be even remotely interesting. What could there possibly be to write about, much less be interested in? OK, how about sea sickness, pumping fresh water, hallucinations, nearly getting run over by huge ships, getting swamped, salt sores, and I won't tell you how they spent Christmas! You wouldn't believe me anyway! I was hooked! I ripped through this book in record time, disappointed when I finished. I can't tell you how well it was or was not written because I was too engrossed in the adventure, and captivated by the journey.
Simply put, for lack of anything really significantly better to do, Stevie Smith decides that it might be fun to circumnavigate the globe under human power alone. I mean sure why not? So, with less than no resources, Stevie and his best friend Jason Lewis set out to do just that. What follows is a deep look into courage, fool hardiness, love, anger, danger, simple stupidity, brilliance and accomplishment. We join in dysfunctional and yet dedicated relationships, some of which do not survive the journey. Yet others are born and forged of the same odyssey.
I will not synopsize, but I will pause to question how this incredible journey through the course of nine years, across the English Channel, the Atlantic Ocean, the United States and reaching Hawaii, under the power of human legs alone could pass unnoticed by main stream media. All I can say is that the epic struggle of Expedition 360 makes terrific reading. If you love pedal pushing, and if you appreciate human accomplishment, buy and enjoy this book!