It all started with a last-minute decision to swap an airline ticket for a mountain bike so Ryan Van Duzer could ride home to Boulder—from Honduras—after a stint in the Peace Corps. He figured a 4,000-mile bike ride would give him time to decompress. It did—and then some. After three months of cycling through Central America, Mexico, and the Southwest—and filming the entire thing with a handheld camera—Van Duzer had an epiphany: He was going to be the next great travel show host. Ironically, he’d never even crossed Colorado state lines before he spent a college semester in Sweden. “That trip was eye-opening,” Van Duzer says. “I realized there’s a whole wide world out there full of friendly people, and that I wanted to explore it.”
Van Duzer, now 31, landed his first television gig on a Boulder Public Access adventure show called Out There, which has since morphed into the Boulder Daily Camera’s “Out There Guy” video series. You might have heard about him two summers ago when he followed the Race Across America, a coast-to-coast cycling journey more than 3,000 miles long, on a three-speed New Belgium Brewing Company cruiser (yes, he climbed the Rockies on a cruiser!). Or maybe you saw the National Geographic Web series on his Himalayan trek along the Annapurna Circuit last fall. He’s also had several cameos on the Travel Channel’s What’s Your Trip?, and his visit to a haunted brothel in Seattle is set to air this fall on a Travel Channel show tentatively called America’s Scariest Places.
Several other projects are in the works, including another epic bike ride from Vancouver, Canada, to Los Cabos, Mexico, to promote cycling as alternative transportation—Van Duzer neither drives nor owns a car and has never had a driver’s license. Plus, he’s pitching an Extreme Makeover: Home Edition-meets-1,000 Places to See Before You Die reality show on which he’d take ordinary people on extraordinary adventures. “I want to motivate people to get off the couch,” Van Duzer says, “and get living.”