After feeling stuck in his life, University of Idaho alumnus Layne Gneiting looked to get away.
His family joined him on a coast-to-coast bike trek across the U.S., where Gneiting said he felt the “heart-beat of America.” The bike trek was a life changing experience, and Gneiting said he wanted to share it with others.
Gneiting, now an Arizona State University instructor, took his first bike trek client on a journey through northern Europe and said the adventure changed his life.
Not long after, Gneiting launched his New Zealand trek with more clients. Those involved, Gneiting said, felt more present and no longer meandered through life uninspired.
Gneiting said the treks are a transformational experience because of the conditions. Through Gneiting’s experience, barriers are stripped away and tourists are given the chance to fully immerse themselves in the scenery. Regular safety nets are taken away and participants have to rely on themselves and others around them. Gneiting said this creates a mutual trust between those on the trip.
Gneiting said bike treks are his preferred method of experiencing new and exotic locations for several reasons, one of which being the interactions he and his clients have with the people they meet.
“We get these bursts of interactions,” Gneiting said. “Bikers are somewhat of a novelty when coming to a town because they are different than hikers or cross-country bikers, and that sparks conversation.”
Strangers regularly open their homes to Gneiting and his clients and have shared food and shelter with them.
“The media feeds us with a lot of fear about the atrocities of humanity,” Gneiting said. “It doesn’t matter where you go on this planet, there are incredible humans all around.”
He said bike treks also provide experiences that other motives of transportation cannot provide. Gneiting said he pushes himself to the limit to prepare for whatever comes his way. Being stretched in all directions helps build confidence, he said.
“I aspire to come close to the greats of the past. I’ve got to stretch myself to even a margin of what they’ve achieved,” Gneiting said.
Gneiting said he plans to soon offer bike treks to college students. He explained the need for students to push themselves out of their comfort zones and grow.
“We need leaders that can learn to push past today’s comforts,” Gneiting said.
Mary Phipps can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org