What began as a simple bike ride for cyclist Dominic Gill morphed into something far more transformational: a transcontinental journey that would, as he later stated, restore his faith in the goodness of humanity.
In 2005, Gill cycled from the top of Alaska to the bottom of Argentina.
The Outdoor Knoxville Adventure Center, a local hotspot for outdoor enthusiasts, received a special treat when the center hosted the cyclist on Saturday, Aug. 31.
Carol Evans, executive director of the Legacy Parks Foundation which sponsored the event, stated that biking remains the "most popular" activity for college students, both on Greenway Road and in the mountains.
Evans believed Gill to be a perfect match for her group of avid bikers.
Gill lectured on his personal outdoor adventure and discussed the opportunity Knoxville residents have to get out and do something special and unique.
"A bicycle has no doors and no windows; (it) allows you to interact with the outside world, and allows the outside world to interact with you," Gill said. "A tandem bicycle means that that interaction isn't just limited to rest stops. You can actually get someone on and converse and share their story while you ride."
For Gill, the impetus for his journey began long before 2005.
As a child, Gill's mother often took him rock climbing, and he spent many hours outdoors. Later, as a 25-year-old biologist working in an office, Gill found himself longing for adventure.
Having previously dabbled in filmmaking, Gill pitched an idea for a documentary to a local production company who decided to support him but declined to finance his project.
Despite having to remortgage his home, Gill chose to leave for Alaska. He decided to complete the ride on a tandem bicycle, which allowed him to pick up strangers along the way and chat with them while he rode.
During his talk at the Adventure Center, Gill stated that some of his fondest memories were the "little pockets of hospitality" he encountered while touring the countryside.
"I fell in love with a culture and a family," Gill said, remembering various people he met on his journey.
Since finishing his original documentary "Take a Seat," Gill has gone on to make "Take a Seat: Sharing a Ride Across America," "Take a Seat: Egypt," and "Take a Seat: Alberta."