William Medina, a cyclist passionate about long distances, set a goal: to travel with his Vespa motor all the public and municipal squares of Puerto Rico in the shortest possible time, five days.
The idea came to Realize that despite having visited various countries and almost every state in the United States, it had not been in all the towns of the country.
“My parents moved to Puerto Rico in the first week of July 1970, 50 years ago. July 7 was my 56th birthday, that means that my parents moved here when I was 6 years old. In those 50 years that I have lived on the island, I have had the opportunity to travel to many parts around the world. I've been to many European countries, South America, and 48 states in the United States. However, he had not seen all the towns of Puerto Rico, there were about eight or ten of which he had never visited, "said Medina.
To celebrate these anniversaries, Medina took on the task of making the Optimal Route.  The Optimal Route is a route that had been designed in May 2016 by Héctor J. Carlo, industrial engineer and doctoral professor at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez campus. J. Carlo and his students put into practice the "Street Vendor Problem" theory to solve the burning question of the shortest route that would connect all the public squares of 76 cities on the island, not including the satellite cities of Culebra and Vieques , in the shortest possible time.
Medina said “as I had made the return to Puerto Rico around the 48 coastal municipalities 16 times by bicycle, when I saw his route that goes to all the towns in a fantastic way , I decided to go around the island on the Vespa and see all the towns. "
" I said: this is the opportunity I have! I set myself the task of doing a little more searching and programming all the routes on the cell phone and making sure to use the applications with satellites so as not to get lost, since the route is complex, "said Medina.
On the Optimal Route, Medina ran 773 miles in five days, visited all the public squares and added to his journey 10 additional squares that are important to him for their historical, political and social value.
“Finally I can say that I have visited all the towns of my beautiful island, "he said.
Preparation and start of the journey
Given the relaxation of the executive order, Medina decided to take five days and leave in his motorboat and make long runs to prepare to achieve this feat.
“From May 15 to June 20, I left in the motorboat and toured Orocovis and Cerro Punta. Physically it is not the same as the bicycle, that one is doing the exercise. But anyway, sitting on a motorbike, with your arm pushing on the accelerator and being aware of traffic and all the elements, if there are flaws on the road, all that creates some tension. And if you are not prepared for that, it will not go very well, "said Medina.
The objective of the preparation was to see the roads and sections, some not known. “I was with the idea that on June 20 I would finish and give myself ten or twelve days to take the motorboat to the authorized mechanic to carry out a complete tune up to make sure that on the journey, which was long and difficult, there were no mechanical defects” He pointed out.
Medina's goal was to visit the squares that are on the route that he had laid out to reach Santa Isabel.
Then his journey
Day # 1
The trip began on Friday, July 3 at 5:30 in the morning at Plaza Colon located in Old San Juan. He toured Río Piedras, Trujillo Alto, Carolina, Canóvanas, Loíza, Río Grande, Palmer, Luquillo, Fajardo, Ceiba, Naguabo, Humacao, Las Piedras, San Lorenzo, Caguas, Gurabo, Juncos, Yabucoa, Maunabo, Patillas, Arroyo, Guayama, Aguirre, Salinas and Santa Isabel. He ran 175 miles and visited 25 public squares in 12 hours.
Day # 2
He left Santa Isabel and visited Coamo, Villalba, Juana Díaz, Ponce, Peñuelas, Yauco, Guánica, Ensenada, Sabana Grande, San Germán, Lajas, Parguera, Boquerón, Cabo Rojo and ended in the Minor Basilica of Hormigueros. He ran approximately 300 miles and visited 16 public squares.
Day # 3
He left Hormigueros and visited the Plazas de Mayagüez, Maricao, Las Marías, San Sebastián, Moca, Añasco, Rincón, Aguada , Aguadilla, San Antonio, Isabela, Quebradillas, Camuy, Hatillo, Arecibo, Lares, Castañer, Adjuntas and Utuado. It covered 183 miles in 12 hours, 15.25 mph and 19 public spaces.
"I opted for a super rural tertiary road where there was nothing but bananas, coffee and my Vespa."
Day # 4
It took him almost half a day to get from Orozco to Utuado via Jayuya. On the way he could see Cerro Punta, Cerro Jayuya and Cerro Maravilla. The public squares visited are Jayuya, Orocovis, Morovis, Ciales, Florida, Barceloneta, Manatí, Vega Baja, Vega Alta, Toa Baja and Dorado.
Day # 5
He visited the Toa squares Alta, Corozal, Naranjito, Comerio, Barranquitas, Aibonito, Cayey, Cidra, Aguas Buenas, Guaynabo, Bayamón, Cataño and ended its tour at 3:00 in the afternoon in Old San Juan.
“I drove my Vespa to through 86 public squares, in 76 cities for a total of 762.6 miles in 5 days. Over the course of this long journey it rained for 2 days and there were no setbacks along the way. The Vuelta Puerto Rico by Vespa was completed with a total mileage of 763 miles and the total fuel cost was $ 27.29 for an average consumption of 71 miles per gallon, "he said.
He explained that during the trip to those destinations, he had a place where he was going to stay. “I took my camping tent with me, since it was improvised, if I took the night for whatever reason I was looking for a place to camp. That's how the five days were. ”
“ The purpose of all this is that I want to show the world how beautiful the island is. That will cause those in Puerto Rico to appreciate the island a little more and people who come from abroad do other types of tourism such as renting a motorboat or a car and being part of that route and going to the mountains and enjoying Puerto Rico. otherwise different. It is an alternative that possibly people do not know exists and now I present it for those who see it motivate and get inspired and say I am going there. And those who are here do it, "he mentioned.
This is not the first time that Medina has circled the Island on a Vespa. “I have circled the 42 coastal municipalities 5 times by motorboat. In the past 5 years, since 2015, I turn around every year and cover 375 miles. He always used scenic and scenic roads. That is where one meets Puerto Ricans and one sees how society develops in different towns. ”
Medina, on the other hand, mentioned that a Vespa group has already formed in which he is a part. “Every month we have tours around the island. On July 18 we go to Cerro Punta, the highest peak in Puerto Rico. We are going to visit our island. Anyone who wants to be included is invited to do so. ”
Beyond 773 miles
As a next goal, Medina wants to do the Optimal Route again and upon reaching San Juan, go to Mayagüez and being there, begin the Luis Muñoz Marín Panoramic Route designed in 1975.
The Panoramic Route is a 266-kilometer corridor that intersects various regions and 21 municipalities between the east coasts and western Puerto Rico: Maunabo, Yabucoa, San Lorenzo, Patillas, Guayama, Cayey, Aibonito, Barranquitas, Coamo, Villalba, Orocovis, Ponce, Juana Diaz, Jayuya, Utuado, Adjuntas, Lares, Sabana Grande, Maricao, Las Marías and Mayagüez.
"The plan would be to go through all the squares and when the second route ends in Yabucoa, I go up Fajardo and arrive in San Juan, this journey would be around 1,000 miles."
Beginnings in cycling
Born in New York and raised in Puerto Rico, Medina has always been passionate about long-distance running.
“When I moved to Puerto Rico with my parents and brother, I received my first bicycle. At that young age, he ran two to three hours a day, "he said.
He always got up between 4:00 and 5:00 in the morning to distribute newspapers in the urbanization where he lived.
" I got up early in the morning and distributed on the two routes of the newspaper El Nuevo Día and the San Juan Star. Those routes took me two hours every day and I stayed that way until I was 15 and 16 years old, "Medina explained.
When he entered university I rode her on a bicycle. "By 18 years old, he was going around Puerto Rico," he said.
Economic impact on tourism
Medina, he is not only an adventurer who loves to explore new places on his Vespa but he is also a cycling lover, thus creating the Vuelta Puerto Rico event.
“It is an international event that I organize annually since 2006, where around 500 to 600 cyclists come from at least 30 countries to go around the island in 3 days at a distance of 375 miles, "said the event's also president.
He noted that this initiative was born after taking a bike tour of the entire island with a group of friends. They started on a Friday at 10:00 at night in the morro of Old San Juan and arrived on Sunday morning. It was a 38 hour tour.
“After taking the route my friends told me that they had previously gone on a route through places that they never imagined existed because of how beautiful they were. That I should do that route but divide it into 3 days and make an event, since that was going to attract tourists from other countries. That moment the event was created, "concluded Medina.
The activity contributes $ 4 million to the economy