Skateboarders often get the connotation of being bums or burnouts, druggies or punks, who hang out in side street alleys. That connotation is definitely not the truth about one local skateboarder.
Kyle Ayling, 22, of Dyer, is using his skateboarding skills to send a message and to promote his company by riding about 300 miles from Lansing, Ill. to Cincinnati, Ohio on Monday, July 29.
“I’m doing this trip so that kids and even adults can be empowered to see that you can do anything you put your mind to,” Ayling said.
Ayling, who is a barista at the Starbucks in Dyer, loves skateboarding and making a positive impact on people’s lives.
“I live my life with no regrets,” he said. “People need to live the life they envisioned for themselves.”
Next Monday, Ayling will be skating down route 41 and then to 52 through Indy and then east to Cincinnati. He’s aiming to do 60 miles a day, and expects to reach Cincinnati in three or four days.
Ayling said he’s been training for this journey by skateboarding a lot and riding his bike.
He will be traveling light with only the essentials: water, sunscreen, a map, a few changes of white thirts, some toiletry items, a cell phone for communication and social media updates, his good mood bracelet and his skateboard, of course.
“I believe you can create big change by doing something small,” Ayling said.
That’s actually his whole philosophy: “Big change with small steps.”
“I want to inspire people to live their best life,” he said.
He was inspired to begin living his life this way by seeing how unhappy people are all the time. He said he looks at his parents and knows they are not completely happy going to work everyday to pay the bills, so he said he wants to live his life doing what he loves.
Ayling started doing that by moving out to California. He moved out there for a year from March 2010 to March 2011.
“It had one of the biggest impacts on my positive mental attitude,” he said.
When he was out there, he met Kali Rueger, who has become a close friend.
"Kyle is one neat dude," Rueger said, laughing.
Rueger, who is not surprised at all about Ayling's skateboard trip, said he has inspired her with his positive attitude and outlook.
"I think his [his trip] is the coolest thing ever, and Kyle has taught me that a positive attitude can really take you far," Rueger said. "He reminds me to always keep smiling and keep moving forward."
Ayling went back out to California this past year, but before that, he started his own skateboard griptape and apparel company, Cloud 9 Griptape.
“The second time I went out [to California] with three goals: get back in school, promote and grow Cloud 9 Griptape, and read more books and attend more seminars.”
He was able to accomplish all of that from January to March of this year.
Some of the books that inspired him are “Think and Grow Rich” by Napolen Hill and “As a Man Thinketh” by James Allen and “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie.
Another book made that made an impact on Ayling was “Yes Attitude” by Jeffrey Gitomer, recommended to him by a man he calls his mentor.
John Rogers, owner of Rogers Roofing, met Ayling at his “favorite Starbucks.”
Rogers said Ayling started to ask him questions about business and success.
“Kyle wants to make a difference in this world,” Rogers said. “The amount of ambition and desire Kyle has to do that is amazing. I would admire that in anyone, but especially in such a young man.”
Rogers said they try to meet every couple weeks and talk on the phone when schedules don’t allow a meeting. Rogers gives Ayling advice and answers his questions about business, life and how to stay ethical through it all.
“He’s always asking questions, always looking to improve himself and the lives of others,” Rogers said.
As for Ayling’s skateboarding trip to Ohio, Rogers said he’s not surprised.
“I think it’s awesome,” he said. “I have all the confidence in the world that he will succeed on his journey.”
Rogers said it’s an honor to help people live their lives in a positive way, and he said he hopes Ayling can give back to others in the same way, which seems to fall in line with what Ayling is trying to do with his trip.
“I just want people to know you can go out there and do what you want and be happy,” Ayling said. “Every day when I wake up I feel like I’m living in a dream because that’s how happy I am.”
For now, Ayling is focusing on his ride down state. And once he gets there, then what?
“I have not really thought about it,” he said. “Maybe a plane ride or a bus ride back, but I’m just going with the flow. I love adventures and meeting new people.”