Day 76 of Johnny Coyne’s cycle from Canada to Costa Rica, and the Galway adventurer was characteristically chirpy.
“It’s been very challenging but I’m feeling really good,” said the Clonbur businessman via a WhatsApp call from the ‘middle of nowhere’ in mainland Mexico.
The 23-year-old is roughly two-thirds through his 7,000 kilometres trip on a €400 refurbished bike.
Despite gruelling eight-hour daily cycles since leaving Vancouver last October, he remains upbeat.
“I had many breakdowns, and many times when I’ve been really low, but I push through, and they made me stronger. It’s tough but I like the discipline, and chasing my dream and vision,” he said.
The dream is to be a TV presenter; to document extreme travel exploits for television. For now, he’s recording content on his smartphone which he edits daily and posts on Instagram.
Johnny also has a mission – “I’m passionate about outdoors and trying to help other people better themselves,” he said.
Johnny, sober for over a year, has walked the walk.
“I was in a bad place. My father died when I was 15. He was sick growing up, so it was a hard upbringing. That directed me down a bad path. I became very troubled, with drink and drugs.
“Eventually I completely turned my life around. Now, I’m trying to inspire other people to do the same. There is another way of life; you can still live a fun life without drink and drugs,” he said.
His dad, the late John Coyne, died aged 45, after 20 years battling MS, which left him bedbound for his final years.
“It motivates me everywhere I go in the World. He had a smile on his face all the time no matter what he was going through. I take that smile with me everywhere I go and try to smile everywhere I go,” said Johnny.
The benefits of sober living outweighed the cons and changed his perspective on life.
“I’m generally happy all the time. I’ve a clear head. I’m more productive. I’m not afraid to go for it. I’m not afraid of failure. I wasn’t an addict, but I grew up drinking at a young age and loved going on the sesh. I realised if I wanted to live the lifestyle I had now I had to sacrifice the sesh,” he said.
The cross-continent cycle is the latest of many adventures. Previously, he’s cycled from his Clonbur to Portugal’s Algarve via the Camino in Spain. And he survived snakes and leeches on a walk through jungle and Himalayas, from east to west Nepal.
His next trip – for which he is seeking sponsorship and a TV gig – involves kayaking from Dublin to Istanbul. It’s a ”world’s first”, and Johnny will be leading two friends on the expedition.
For now, he’s concentrating on biking to Costa Rica via Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua.
Then it’s back home to launch the third season of Lough Corrib Adventures, his sailing and cycling tour business, with a float in Clonbur’s St Patrick’s Day parade.
His mother Lilly, in Clonbur, and his three sisters, “worry sick about me but are all very supportive”, he said.
“I love coming home, but I get itchy feet. I’m a cold-water dipper. I love the ocean. When I’m not by the ocean I feel lost. I’m looking forward to getting home for a cold-water swim, and to see my family,” added Johnny Coyne.
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