The plan and riding partners

15 January 2017

(written by Dave)

 The trip is starting to feel real – Nancy is plowing through her last few weeks of work.  I’m on chore/moving/packing duty.  It’s summer here in Oz, so naturally, we are getting in some bike rides in the nice weather as well.

Our current plan is to start riding in Fairbanks, Alaska, USA, on 20 May 2017.  The big picture goal is to make it all the way to the bottom of South America within a couple years time.  For a trip this big, it helps us to break the trip mentally into smaller legs.  The first leg of our journey is shown in the map below – you can zoom in but I’m sure that our route will vary from this at some level.  This is basically Fairbanks Alaska to La Paz, Mexico – sort of May to Christmas in terms of timing.  This is roughly 5,000 miles and still a big chunk of riding so we’ll naturally break things more up as we travel.

Current thinking goes something like this.

  • Section 1 – Fairbanks to Whitehorse, Yukon – 2 weeks with co-conspirators (see below)
  • Section 2 – Whitehorse to Seattle, Washington – Many weeks where we fight off bears on our own
  • Section 3 – Seattle to Portland, Oregon – done this many times in past lives – easy ride on familiar roads, with the prize of time with family to look forward to
  • Section 4 – Portland to Crater Lake, Oregon (deepest lake in the US) – hoping some Portland-based friends and family will join us for parts of this
  • Section 5 – Crater Lake to Carson City, Nevada – stopping at my old hometown to see family
  • Section 6 – Carson City to Yosemite – back in bear country – hopefully with some Nevada friends
  • Section 7 – Yosemite to the Mexican border – last chance to spend USD
  • Section 8 – Baja down to La Paz

As for our Section 1 co-conspirators, it looks like a couple of my old workmates are going to join us.  First up is Chris Ansari – see below for some photos.  Chris blames me for his addiction to bicycling.  He remembers me riding to and from work in Portland in the dark, snow and rain, a whole lot more than I remember doing the same.  I think he just likes to have someone to blame when he tells his wife Cindi that he is buying a new bike-related anything.  We are happy to have Chris along because he is strong and will help us get through the first two weeks of bear country.  He is also very good at chopping wood.  We are not sure how this will be useful but you never know.

Chris is a self-confessed beer and coffee snob – being a home brewer and roaster.  We are counting on him to bring fresh supplies of each, at least enough for the first few days.  He has not committed to sharing his coffee the entire two weeks, much less letting us know where he hides his secret stash.  I figure that we’ll have a chance to steal some while he is chopping wood and/or starting a fire.


Chris and the sky


Chris showing off his chopping and fire skills


Chris showing off water gathering skills – good to have – not sure about the shorts however

Co-conspirator number two is Mark Whiteside.  This will be Mark’s first formal bicycle tour but what he lacks in touring experience, he makes up for in youth and fitness – he is the youngest member of our party.  Being youngest, Mark is probably the fastest runner – this could be handy (for him) if we actually come across any bears.  We voted (3 votes for, 1 vote against) on him being the person to carry any excess growlers (beer) that Chris doesn’t have room for.

Mark has also volunteered to cook all of the food but the rest of us are not so sure that this is a good idea.  Back when we worked together, Mark was famous for buying one bag of brown rice, one large bottle of salad dressing and calling it dinner until one or the other was exhausted.  He also consumed several meals per week at the Costco food court – Pepsi and hotdogs anyone?  Actually, that was before he got married and he thankfully married a very wise woman who would not let him get away with that now (we are not sure how he actually convinced her to marry him).

Mark is an avid hiker and backpacker.  He’s located an amazing shirt that is supposed to repel mosquitoes.  This may come in handy while he is cooking as he won’t be allowed to cook in the tent (or anywhere near the tents).  I’m also kind of wondering why said amazing shirt is only made in the form of a shirt – wouldn’t you think that the mossies would simply bite your legs or somewhere else?  If you have concerns about Mark – well, so do we.  We could only find one photo of him – see below – now you might know why we are worried 🙂 haha.


Oh dear…

11 thoughts on “The plan and riding partners

  1. So excited to hear about your start date and companions! Hopefully that means that you will tolerate us as “Nevada Friends” and let us join you on part of that section! I am in the market for a touring bike since I don’t think the Tandem is a good idea for the Sierra’s! Our weather has driven all but the hardiest indoors (Snow, floods…)and I am currently only spinning a few days a week but figure that is better than nothing…Keep the planning reports coming!

  2. It brought a smile to my face when I read Chris and Mark and going to ride with you. I’m looking forward to reading about your trip.
    Jonathan and I won’t survived our 5 week canoe trip in the Canadian artic without the original bug shirt and pants

    • Thanks – that’s two votes for the bugshirt. Have you guys tried any of the other brands such as Exofficio? They have a whole line of nobug clothing. I ask this more because I’d like to try things on for fit before ordering on the internet. Can’t find anyone her in AUS who sells bugshirt.

      Last question – did you purchase in Oregon?

      Answer via comment if you don’t mind – just in case anyone else is curious.

      • We ordered our bug shirts directly and they shipped to Oregon. Their web page says they ship all around the world. We have not tried any others. In the Canadian artic we had to worry about black flies as well as mosquitos. The black flies will crawl through the smallest gap. Many of other bug shirts have gaps around the cuffs. We lived in our bug shirts and pants the whole time except when we were in our safely in our tents. We even made a mesh tent for our toilet.

  3. Get behind that tandem and draft baby draft! My brother and I are hiking Mt. Shasta the first week of June but it looks like you’ll still be en route. Sounds like you have a great group to travel with…

  4. Any idea roughly when you might be leaving Carson City and if you might want another ex-coworker to drive you nuts? I won’t come bearing home ground coffee or home brew beer, nor will I likely consume much of either, but I can probably con ansari into ponying up some of both if that’s the ticket price and you have been missing his brews by that time.

    Email me at xenbiker@g m a i l . c o m and so we can talk.

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