South American cycling trek not unusual for Queens native Mark Greiz | amNewYork

South American cycling trek not unusual for Queens native Mark Greiz

Most of the time, Queens native Mark Greiz is a white-collar professional — an international marketing consultant and an adjunct professor at FIT, where he teaches in the fall, spring and summer. But every few years, he leaves the urban grind behind and bikes into the wilderness, living nomadically and sleeping under the stars for months on end.

Over the past six months, Greiz cycled more than 6,000 miles from Punta Arenas, Chile, to Guayaquil, Ecuador. And this isn’t his first rodeo: He has cycled from Siberia to Myanmar, from China to Indonesia and from Mongolia to Thailand, totaling about 28,000 miles.

Greiz attributes the duality of his lifestyle to his Gemini spirit — he turned 50 on June 17.

“When I’m at work, whether I’m working at a company or teaching at a university, people look at me, the way I dress and the way I present myself, and they would never guess that the other personality does things like this,” he said.

In South America, Greiz cycled an average of 80 miles per day and used a mapping app to find his way. His route has taken him up mountains, through mud and over the Pan-American Highway. He refused to use alternative forms of transportation, like buses or ferries, instead adding miles to his routes to stay on his bicycle the whole time.

Greiz prides himself on avoiding tourist traps; he passed through Cusco, for example, but didn’t visit Machu Picchu. Instead, he relishes the sights he sees on the road less traveled, like a group of wild alpaca he spotted at an elevation of 15,000 feet.

“It was extremely awe-inspiring to see such a large amount of animals roaming freely at such a high elevation right next to extremely clear alpine lakes,” he said.

Greiz wrapped up his trip and returned to his home in Forest Hills last week. But he doesn’t foresee ever staying in one place for too long.

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