Inspire, Interview

Cycling through cold, wind and rain – interview with Gareth Mate

 Continuing our series of interviews with everyday people who push their own boundaries through adventure, we caught up with Gareth Mate to find out a bit about his life.

Hi Gareth! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

My name is Gareth. I’m an Englishman, originally from the Peak District, Staffordshire, UK, now living in the Netherlands. I’m a teacher, who teaches and inspires young adults to achieve their potential, develop confidence, in the hope of being the best they can be. With that said, I love my career and love my life. I teach for 5 days a week and for the other two days, I find myself again. 

I love the outdoors and crave all types of outdoor activity. To find some sort of balance between family life, work and pleasure. I endeavour to challenge myself to be the best I can be whether that is writing my personal blog www.garethmate.com or completing various challenges, that help push myself and shape myself as a person.

You’re obviously an outdoors man! Which sport comes top of the list for you?

I come from an outdoor background and have lived with the great outdoors on my doorstep all my life. To utilise what has been at my disposal, I have used sports to embrace the wider outdoor environment. Over the years I have turned my hand to all manner of activities, but for me, cycling probably remains my greatest love and hobby.

Cycling has played an integral role in my life. From a young age I have always been out on my bike, cycling here and there. This has evolved over the years into completing cycle sportives, triathlons and when living in London, commuting to work.

It sounds like cycling is a big part of your life! I’ll bet the Netherlands is an amazing place to explore on two wheels! Do you manage to get out much?

Since moving to the Netherlands, everybody cycles everywhere. For me personally, this move was a new start and having the opportunity to cycle everywhere, was like music to my ears. 
 
I love to push myself and love a challenge, it is the one thing that not only helps to regulate me, but also keeps me happy. So much so, that around 2 years ago I decided to ditch public transport and my car, and cycle to work. Now, I cycle five days a week, a total round trip of 32 miles a day… and love it!

Many people think I’m crazy, but for me, it is just something I enjoy doing and a means of meeting what is expected of me on a daily basis.

 

That’s a pretty cool challenge, great to hear you’re still cycling everyday! It must be challenging getting out some days though?

In adopting such a crazy commute, there are inevitably many challenges that I face, although these challenges may not be different than other peoples, it is how you cope with each situation that matters.
 
Inevitably, I get tired at times, as I wake up fairly early and cycle. Sometimes it is tough as cycling in open spaces, in the driving rain is not always fun, but you just do it. Motivation in the cold, wind and rain is sometimes demotivating, but I use suitable equipment to help keep me warm and dry and also use music to stave off the onset of boredom. 
 
Personally, I like the extremes, so the weather doesn’t really bother me, it is probably eating that is the biggest challenge. Often I eat like a horse and the demands to eat well is so important. It has been a learning curve, but I’m happy to embrace it.
 

Colleagues are supportive and probably think I am slightly mad, but for me, it is a personal thing; an addiction or some part of my bigger picture. Either way, I’m happy to do my bit for the planet, save money and in turn maintain a good level of fitness. Undoubtedly, for me, life is good on a bike!


You mentioned a bigger picture, is there something exciting in your future?

I plan to keep commuting to work and completing various recreational cycles with family and friends. I have a plan that I want to eventually roll out and it will most certainly involve a long distance ride. Probably, along the lines of cycling from The Netherlands to the Peak District.
 
It is work in progress and I’m working on this in the background. The intention is to complete this challenge but also giving something back, using my motivation and body to help support a charity for others less fortunate than myself. It is an exciting opportunity and project I hope to fulfil.


Do you have any advice for any ‘Average Joes’ out there looking to inject a bit of adventure into their everyday life?

I think you have to have personal desire and a goal. I cannot stress how much I love the outdoors, it is in my DNA and makes me who I am, so challenges and adventures just go hand in hand. The only thing that stops me is time. My life is important and everyone in it, so finding the correct balance is paramount.
 

If I had my time again and time was freely available, with commitments to a minimum, then I would just say… make the most of your opportunities, there’s a big world out there for you to explore.

 

Do you have a favourite quote that inspires you?

I think for me it is simply… ‘one day I won’t be able to do the things I can do’.

Like me, simple and to the point.
Thanks Gareth! Where can we find you online?
my website www.garethmate.com
Instagram @garethmate
www.instagram.com/garethmateTwitter @garethmate_ www.twitter.com/GarethMate_Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/GarethMateBlog/

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