One tandem. One person. One empty seat. Please take a seat.
The premise for this kickass bike ride from Alaska to Patagonia is as simple as that.
In June 2006, Dominic Gill sets out from Pudhoe Bay, Alaska for a 29.519 km / 18.449 mile tandem bike ride down the West coast of the American continent to Ushuaia, the most southerly city in the world.
He rides a tandem bike with an empty seat asking people he meets along the way to ‘take a seat’ and pedal with him for a while. No less than 270 people take him up on this offer and as he states:
“ I met a huge number of willing pedalling passengers. Curious city dwellers who invited me to stay, tourists wanting to go anywhere anyhow with a cowboy hat and a few bags of herb, or a Peruvian villager welcoming an alternative to the overcrowded and unreliable rural bus service, all sorts of characters took a seat on Achilles the bicycle and accompanied me on my journey south. Some only for half an hour, others for weeks. I had a rule I tried to stick to… I never asked anyone to get off!”
After an initial plan of 18 months, he soon realised that rushing south was a waste of an opportunity to get to know people and places. He also underestimated the amount of ongoing rest needed to continue ploughing ahead with 100kg plus of bicycle, and occasionally a little extra weight added by a less than fit companion.
However unfit his newfound companionship they did provide something invaluable: they removed the solitude and provided conversational distractions away from the ever revolving pedal stroke.
Dominic arrived at the Southern tip of Patagonia 2 years and 2 months after rolling away from Prudhoe Bay.
He covered this kickass trip in his published book Take a Seat: One Man, One Tandem and Twenty Thousand Miles of Possibilities. Great read if you love this amazing trip.
Dominic has done other ‘Take a Seat’ trips of which Take A Seat Egypt and Take a Seat: sharing a ride acrosss America are the most famous.
Have a look at the following youtube clip for a general idea of Dominics Take a Seat trips. It’s definitely inspiring.