Dalton Highway, Alaska ride

So I’m planning a ride on the Dalton Highway from Fairbanks to Deadhorse and back from May 1-24. Is anyone else interested in doing this ride (or part of it)?

Is the Dalton Highway an all weather road?

I was planning a ride from Dawson to TOK last year for May but the Top of the World Highway was still closed for the season.

I would ride with you but I have other commitments for the May long weekend.

Yeah, the Dalton Highway is open year round I think. If not it’s open by May.

That sounds like it’d be amazingly fun. You’re going to Coker it? All 414 miles, and both ways? If you’ve got 24 days, it’s a slam dunk; I can just imagine how cold it might get, even in summer. You’ve probably got a pretty hard core pannier setup… I once rode from San Francisco to San Diego on my bike, only spending 5 days and not 24, and I brought a sleeping bag, tent, change of clothes, 30 power bars, 2 burritos, loads of money, etc… but you’re going to have to bring ALL your food and ALL your water with you, because between Fairbanks and Prudhoe Bay, there’s… nothing. Like a truck stop at mile 240 or something. That’s a pretty crazy pannier setup. Let me know how you’re carrying everything!

BTW, if I didn’t have to stay here at college… I’d go with you. I’m serious. :frowning:

Yeah seriously be careful with access to civilization. I found the maximum distance I felt safe going without civilization (meaning places you could stop in case of an emergency as well as places to buy food) was about 100 miles, and I was on a recumbent. I also wonder what your pannier setup will be like.

You work for Apple!!! My dream internship!

Providing these were edible I think they would make the best food for self supported uni trips:

Just grab yourself a pocketful of mini alligators, add water and have a bunch of foot long meal sized alligators.

…just something to think about…

I have been doing a bit more thinking about this and really what is a 24 Hour race compared to a 24 day trek/tour/epic adventure?

The Dalton Highway really does look like a much better option for riding than the Top of The World / Taylor Highway ride that I was contemplating before. Better road and more importantly, much better access to water.

In May it is going to be COLD up there, I just might need to get myself another set of wool longjohns. I hoe you realize that the average high temperature in deadhorse in May is still below freezing. :sunglasses:

I am going to have to think about this a bit more before committing but I am leaning towards going right now.

May is coming up fast and I will have to do a lot of training, I have been training for RTL but this is going to be much harder. Training in snow just might come in handly:)


This sport is evolving in very cool ways… Just recently 280+ miles in 24 hours, and now a self-supported full blown uni tour where the average high temperature is still below freezing. I wanna be a hardcore unicyclist when I grow up!

The 24-day adventure takes the 24-hour race hands down. Blarrrrgh I’d so love to go with you! Because of my school and job, I’m booked so far out into the future that I only have time for 2 separate weeks (one per year) of touring until 2010, which is good for about 2x850 miles on a bike, tops. I suppose I could do Dalton with you if we went 60 miles a day and I only went one way, which sounds doable, but there’s always travel overhead. I’m assuming you’re planning on doing somewhere around 40 miles a day, right? 828 miles in 24 days makes 35-ish, but I’m sure you’ll want some leeway. I don’t suppose there’s much that would stop you from going 80-100 in a day, considering you’re going to have all day to do it. Imagine doing Dalton in 4 days! Then coming BACK in 4 more days! LOL. Possible, though…

I’m still curious about your pannier setup, though. Do tell! :slight_smile:

Actually, come to think of it, thousands of cyclists do the STP (Seattle to portland) ride every year in July, and a few unicyclists always seem to be there, too… they do it in 2 days. It’s 206 miles, which means 100 per day… if they can do 100 a day for 2 days, there’s no reason to think you couldn’t do 100 a day for 4, or 8. … With 50lb worth of pannier! :smiley:

If you eat 4lb. of food per day (which I think is conservative… I eat so much on bike tours) and will spend 12 days each way, then that’s 48 POUNDS of food! Plus, hopefully, an entire spare tire, spare 36" tube with tons of patches, all the tools needed to take anything apart and put it back together, plus a water filter (is there water along Dalton? I don’t think so… you might need all your own water!)… I’m thinking a good 75 pounds of stuff at minimum for a 12 day trek, assuming you refill at Deadhorse. If you could cut the 12 days to 6 days and do 80 miles a day, that’d cut your food in half… which would probably mean 50 lbs-ish. I’d hate to skimp on food and water though.

I did the Dalton Hwy in it’s entirety in '05 but on my motorcycle. I had just started riding uni at the time and would have been blown away to see a unicyclist there. I did see 2 separate people on bicycles out there. I did it in August and it was actually fairly warm (maybe 50 F for a high) and it stayed light for 24 hrs a day so you could ride whenever you wanted. Some parts, where they were doing road work would be very difficult to negotiate. I had a hard time on the motorcycle. They’d lay down about 6 " of marble sized gravel and then level it with a blade. Kinda loose. They only seemed to do this in fairly short (5 mile) sections at a time so, worst case, if you had to walk a stretch it probably wouldn’t be too long. Once I got close to Deadhorse there was a pretty stiff breeze coming in off the Beaufort Sea and that dropped the air temp to 18F. So the last 10 or 15 miles was pretty damn cold. Best of luck if you manage to pull it off. Take lots of photos.

I haven’t figured out my pannier set up yet. I will let you guys know when I work it out. I’m technically starting at the Fairbanks airport, so It’s more like 515 miles one way. I have no problem being that far out from civilization, in fact, that’s why I chose the location.

You guys do have me thinking about doing the trip in less than 24 days. It may be possible.

I started figuring expenses for a trip like this and travel arrangements and I came to the conclusion that I simply can’t afford this trip, Student loans only go so far.

Besides I would only have two days after my last final before I would have to get on a buss, I would miss an opportunity to train with one of my teammates in the mountains for RTL and I would still need to get out to Nova Scotia if I plan on living out there. Money to pay the first months rent and a damage deposit would be nice too.

I hope you get another person to ride with you on a trip like this and I also hope you know what is involved in winter camping/trekking. I have done my fair share of winter trips and have been in some survival situations that would have been no problem whatsoever in the summer.

Just this weekend I went ice-fishing with some friends and we had to hike/ski the 6 km from the road to the lake with all our gear. In the summer it usually takes less than an hour to do this trip with a bunch of 14 year old campers but it took us about an hour and a half to get there threw the snow. It snowed overnight and we did not catch any fish the second day so we were hungry when we left the site. With fresh snow on the trail and empty stomachs it took us over two hours to get back to the road. (and one guy broke through the ice at the narrows and had to borrow my extra boots and socks to avoid frostbite)

I don’t know what your experience level is with trekking of any kind in the winter and have a feeling that you don’t have very much since I think I remember you talking about doing a century ride not to long ago. If you are doing those century rides in -20 then I take my toque off to you, I have never gone 100 miles in a day but can say that 50 km in -20 is a lot harder than 90km at 0˚C.

If you can’t find anyone else to go with you I urge you to consider doing this in summer instead of late winter.

Have you considered applying for the KH Evolution of Balance Award for this trip? Considering the distance, terrain and temperature I think this trip would be worthy of consideration.

I talked to one of my instructors who lived up there for a while and he said that the road is mostly snow-packed 4-track in May and has really big loose gravel in a lot of sections. Actually he said allot of the stuff that Underdog said before going off on a tangent about the first time that he went hunting out on the sea ice and had raw seal liver for the first time… I didn’t get to much more info out of him.

Anyway I wish you luck on your trip and hope you are prepared for the beautifully rugged country up there.


Oh well, Eric, another year!

I’ve never been in majorly wintery survival situations… the coldest I’ve ever ridden was about -5°C, and that was for only a couple of hours. You know a hell of a lot more than me about dealing with the cold!

… BTW, who are you talking to, wishing good luck…? In case it’s me, don’t worry, I have no plans to do Dalton Highway by myself! I’d love to go with someone, but I’d be too afraid to go alone. If I could have some guarantee it’d stay above , say, freezing, I’d be less leery, but… even then. Too many things could go wrong up there, I think. Maybe in a couple years I’ll be less chicken; that you were going to go alone is truly a feat. And… for me… only in the summer!

I was wishing luck to Mr. Welch, but if you need a bit more i can wish you some to :slight_smile:

I was never planning on riding the Dalton Highway alone, just considering going with captinwelch. I was on the other hand planning on doing the Top of the World Highway solo last year but that plan was kaiboshed when I wrecked my shoulder. I would sill like to do an Alaska/Yukon trip in the future but probably not this year.

OHHH! Silly me! For some reason, it got into my head that you were the one doing the ride, and I mentally merged you and captainwelch into the same person in my mind! I thought you were the only one going! Then when you started doling out goodlucks, I thought for some strange reason you thought I might be planning on doing that, because I’d said I’d LIKE to do it. Thus my confusion :slight_smile:

BTW, Good luck, Mr. Welch! What you’re undertaking is beyond anything I’ve
ever even thought about by a long shot, and I can’t imagine how much fun you’ll have. Stay safe and warm and kick some Dalton Highway butt!