Author Topic: Touring Alaska  (Read 3417 times)

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Offline baileysomelet

Touring Alaska
« on: March 14, 2005, 01:22:34 am »
I am planning on spending 1.5 months touring Alaska and perhaps some of British Columbia this summer.

Any recommendations on particularly wonderful rides or sections of these huge places to go to?

I am not too interested in doing much intense off-road trail riding.

Thanks!


Offline judyrans

Touring Alaska
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2005, 06:57:52 am »
My husband and I rode the Alaska Highway in 1996 with Cyclevents
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http://www.cyclevents.com/full/alaska1.htm/ , their first Alaska Highway tour.  There are two main differences between our tour and the current tour. First, we camped every night, the current tour stays in motels for eight nights. As a result, the current price is about twice what we paid. The price included the shuttle from the Fairbanks airport to Delta Junction (100 miles), and the shuttle from Dawson Creek, BC to Edmonton, AB (370 miles!).

Second, we went north to south, while the current tour goes south to north. The chief advantage of the north to south route was that we got to watch caravans of Winnebagos headed north without having to worry much about the drivers’ driving skills. The disadvantage was that we weren’t going “North to Alaska,” and that we had to do BC last. BC ‘s Highway Department brags about how they (1) eliminated 132 curves from the Alaska Highway in BC, (2) cleared trees and brush for 50? meters on each side of the road, (3) dug deep ditches on both sides of the roads. While these conditions might reduce the chances of motorists and moose colliding (I haven’t checked for statistics), it makes for a very BORING bike ride. Better to go through the boring section while the trip is new and exciting, and you haven’t seen the fantastic scenery further north. In 1996 BC also had very few rest rooms (or even outhouses). So, when you needed to “download  water,” you faced a deep ditch and a long sprint to the nearest bush. The only practical choice was to follow a driveway to the trees, and hope the folks couldn’t see you from the living room.

Ed Noonan
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http://www.tailwinds.org/ started his trip from Fairbanks, rode north to the end of the paved road, then turned south to ride with the Cyclevents group from Delta Junction. After finishing the tour in Dawson City, he continued on to Florida! He has a lot of helpful information on the Alaska trip, his other tours, and touring in general on his website.

If you don’t want to do a supported tour, buy a copy of The Milepost,
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http://www.themilepost.com/ and start planning. There’s also Bell's Mile by Mile Travel Guide for Alaska, Yukon & British Columbia,
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http://www.bellsalaska.com/ , which isn’t updated as often, or as full of ads. It doesn’t weigh nearly as much, or cost as much, either. You can also print out these pages
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http://www.bellsalaska.com/alaska_highway.html to use as “cue sheets.” Or, choose from here
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http://www.bellsalaska.com/highways.htm , if you prefer a different highway.

Things to remember:
1.   It’s a long, long way between facilities. If you go self-supported, you must be prepared.
2.   The weather will probably be cooler than your typical U.S. summer tour. It may rain—hard. Oh, we woke one morning to snow,
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http://www.tailwinds.org/canada/yk/day16.html . Plan for “winter riding,” and “winter camping.”
3.   It’s a real adventure! Have fun!



Offline baileysomelet

Touring Alaska
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2005, 09:55:18 pm »
thanks so much for your in-depth reply.  i just ordered a copy of the milepost and will take to heart what you say about BC...sounds pretty forgettable.

did you tour on 26 or 700c wheels?




Offline ecole

Touring Alaska
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2005, 11:53:54 pm »
My wife and I did a 950 mile tour in Alaska the summer before last.  We flew to Anchorage then rode north to Denali.  After a few days there, we went back to Anchorage, then south to Homer.  It was really great, but there were a few things that I learned:
1. The Milepost is great for cars, but only basic for bikes.  Go to the REI in Anchorage for better maps.
2.  By all means, avoid riding the Sterling Hwy from Cooper Landing south during normal hours.  Stay over in Cooper Landing, get up before dawn and ride early to avoid traffic.  The Parks Hwy north from Wasilla is good.
3.  You are expected to ride on the sidewalk in Anchorage.  There are a lot of bike trails (the Tony Knowles is fantastic), but they never seem to go where you want to go (out of town)and they tend to end abruptly.
4.  Bring lots of mosquito repellent, and either tablets or a water filter.
5.  Unless you are under 30 years old and like to drink to excess, avoid Seward on the 4th of July.
6.  Finally, Alaska is great for bike touring- you will not regret it- people are friendly and generous and the scenery is awesome.  Allow lots of time for just hanging out and maybe a side trip (a floatplane trip to see the bears at Brook's River for example or a trip over to Seldovia from Homer).
Good luck.




Offline jnorth

Touring Alaska
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2005, 01:46:38 am »
howdy-nice of you to let us know your time frame-how about whether you plan to camp or stay in hotels?
you are right about the fact that NW canada and alaska are huge! perhaps you would consider flying north and riding south, or riding north and taking the marine highway south.
the resources from judyrans are very sound, especially the milepost. i also recommend "bicycle touring in alaska" by pete preatorious and alys culhane. though dated, it is right on the money.
perhaps my website would help you with it's in-your-face advice: www janetanorth.crazyguyonabike.com
for more up to date or specific stuff, don't hesitate to email me.
best of luck-janet