May is National Bike Month. To celebrate, we chatted with Dakota Gale about the epic cycling journey he and his wife, Chelsea, completed during summer 2014 and 2015. What started as Dakota’s surprise three-day bike tour birthday gift to his wife, became a 7,000 mile, life-changing journey across 14 countries. When he surprised Chelsea, Dakota pictured two weeks cycle touring. Certainly not eight months. “I was suckered into it,” he said.
In 2014, they rode west to east across the U.S. starting in eastern Washington, only knowing that they wanted to arrive at the Adirondacks to see the changing colors before winter hit. In 2015, they headed to Europe for another 100 days of exploring on bikes.
A Day In the Life
When you look at Dakota’s Instagram, you can see that each day was an adventure. Here’s an example of a day in England:
“A roller coaster day in the English countryside. Narrow roads dodging speeding cars, dirt paths past baaing sheep, bumpy paths along a canal past houseboats, rush hour in Bletchley (Britain's code breaking capital in WWII) and a couple brilliant miles through rows of trees on a smooth gravel path. Another day on the bikes, check! Where to tomorrow? Who knows...”
The Mental Not Physical Grind
While every day on their journey was difficult in some way, Dakota shared that it only took about ten days of being sore until their bodies adapted and it felt as if they could cycle indefinitely. As Dakota says, “It’s amazing what the body can do.”
The biggest challenge for Dakota, though, was mental capacity. Dakota expressed that staying present and not thinking about the end destination or where they were sleeping that night was something he continuously had to focus on. “It might be 95 and horrible in Iowa, but at least I’m out doing something that I chose to do, something that I enjoy,” he recalled.
The Inspiration Behind The Journey
Dakota’s original inspiration and his motivation along the way stemmed from a few things. Initially, he felt burnt out from a repetitive and overflowing schedule at work; he needed a break, an adventure. What started as a four-month camper van trip turned into an open-ended lifestyle as digital nomads, which allowed the bike journey to happen.
The inspiration and motivation his wife provided him, along with the experiences he had along the way, kept things interesting. For example, a man at a New York coffee shop teased them for charging so many electronic devices. A few minutes later, he invited the couple to his estate for a few days and later took Dakota on a flight in his 1940s seaplane to see the fall colors. Dakota says that their journey was fueled by people and experiences like this.
For the Gales, cycling and traveling helps enhance their lives, “It shifts my perspective in a positive way and feeds my creativity” Dakota shared. “My mind and energy are freed up to work on things I’m passionate about.”
Advice from Dakota For Your Next Journey
- Start NOW
- Be In The Moment
- Healthy Living Can Be Found Anywhere
Whatever that big ambition or project or trip you want to do, do it now. Don’t kick it down the road because if you do that, it’s probably not going to happen.” He references one of his favorite quotes, “Someday is not a day in the week.”
Take it day by day. Don’t think of the end result as much; break it down piece by piece, one street sign at a time. When you start planning long term, no matter what, you’re going to end up somewhere else because life seems to work out that way, so you might as well take it day by day.
Be active every day in some way. Traveling is really good for that because there’s always something new to see that will get you moving. Be open to saying yes because it introduces you to new ideas, new sports and activities that will let you transform. Have a support system around you that enables you to make healthy decisions
©2016 MINDBODY, Inc. All rights reserved.