Regional Discussion Area > Alaska/Hawaii

AK Bike Routes

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LawDog:

--- Quote from: Timmy on January 16, 2013, 04:09:38 pm ---My question is it better to do it south to north or north to south? What are the earliest or best start dates for each? If possible, I would like to cross the arctic circle on or near the summer solstice.

--- End quote ---
From a social/psychological perspective, I would want to start at the north end. At the beginning of the trip, you will be gung ho and full of energy. And you'll need it. But trying to time it so that you hit the arctic circle at solstice probably won't work. You can't even reliably expect all of the snow to have melted by then. You would need to start in early June, and there is no guarantee that the road will be clear by then.

My opinion is that an ideal start time from the north would be early July. You'll be lucky to get 30-mile days at the beginning. And you have to budget (food, water, etc.) for the possibility of 15-mile days on the Haul Road. As you approach Fairbanks, your speed will greatly improve as the road conditions improve. But that early stretch will be slow going.

If you started from the south, you could leave as early as mid-May. And snowfall has been light in southcentral Alaska this year, so you might be able to start in early May. But you run the risk of outrunning the snow melt. You could find yourself sitting in a campsite in Fairbanks for two weeks waiting for the road north of there to clear.

As enticing as solstice may be, I would encourage you to reconsider that particular goal. It makes the planning overly complicated.

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