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Old 11-23-09, 01:25 PM   #1
Whoozer
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Alaska to Argentina

Hey guys and girls,

After looking through a lot of interesting topics here on this forum (thank you for that), I am planning my own, first big tour for next year.

The plan is to leave Prudhoe bay, Alaska in the summer of 2010 and arrive in Ushuaia, Argentina around September/October 2011.

Here is the catch, we (going to do this with a buddy), do not have extensive touring experiences. However, we ride our bikes often to work/school and both have been on day trips with our biked (including short trips in the Pyrenees/Alps).

In addition, we're probably going to cycle the 16.000 somewhat miles on bamboo bikes.

A few questions for you guys:
-Do you think starting such a big tour with no or limited touring experiences is manageable? We are both fit and healthy young guys, sport a lot, run a lot and really like outdoor activities incl camping.
-How bad is it to be on the road in Patagonia, South Argentina around August/September?
-How much cash would we approximately need for this journey? I know this differs from person to person, but still I am wondering. We will sleep in tents and live on the cheap most of the time. would 5000 euro's or 7500 dollar be enough? (about 18 dollar/day).
-Are we nuts trying to do this on bamboo bikes?

I was also wondering if there are people here who cycled the same trip/countries that could give me some tips/share some experiences. Which area/country did you enjoy in particular? I've read most of the crazyguyonbike journals and websites I could find, but everybody seems to like everything

I look forward to your replies!
Kind regards.
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Old 11-23-09, 01:54 PM   #2
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Congrats on making the decision to go for it! It'll be a blast. We left Prudhoe Bay June 2008 and expect to arrive in Ushuaia in about a year or a bit more. It's been a wild ride so far! I'll answer your questions below...
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Originally Posted by Whoozer View Post

A few questions for you guys:
-Do you think starting such a big tour with no or limited touring experiences is manageable? We are both fit and healthy young guys, sport a lot, run a lot and really like outdoor activities incl camping.

Absolutely! You really don't need a whole lot of experience - you'll learn on the road. That being said, you are starting out in the most remote region of your whole trip. It will be 500 miles before you reach your first grocery store, so you will need to plan for everything.

-How bad is it to be on the road in Patagonia, South Argentina around August/September?

Bad - or so I've been told. We have a friend who arrived in Ushuaia in August and told us he was pushing his bike through 2 feet of snow. I would try to lengthen the journey a bit so that you arrive in December or January.

-How much cash would we approximately need for this journey? I know this differs from person to person, but still I am wondering. We will sleep in tents and live on the cheap most of the time. would 5000 euro's or 7500 dollar be enough? (about 18 dollar/day).

I think you could do it on that. We are spending about $50/day for a family of four and are living quite comfortably. We slept in our tent a lot in Canada and the US, but have been staying in hotels almost exclusively since we hit Central America.

-Are we nuts trying to do this on bamboo bikes?

I have no clue. Never heard of bamboo bikes.

I was also wondering if there are people here who cycled the same trip/countries that could give me some tips/share some experiences. Which area/country did you enjoy in particular? I've read most of the crazyguyonbike journals and websites I could find, but everybody seems to like everything

We really enjoyed the Dalton Highway, the Alaska Highway through northern BC, Mexico, Honduras, and Colombia. Really, the whole trip has been fantastic and I am happy we've had the chance to do it. If you have any specific questions, I would be more than happy to try and answer them.

I look forward to your replies!
Kind regards.
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Old 11-23-09, 11:02 PM   #3
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Do it! You don't need to be fit, you'll get fit. You don't need camping experience, you'll learn as you go. If you run out of money, oh well, the trip will still be a blast even if you end early. How are you going to haul stuff on a bamboo bike? Maybe use a trailer? Boom. Done. You're ready to go. All those small details will work themselves out if you stay flexible and accept what comes.
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Old 11-24-09, 11:48 AM   #4
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I would try a shakedown tour first - if you can squeeze it in - for a few days or a week somewhere close to home. That way you can test out the gear you plan to bring. Its no good to discover you hate sleeping on the super-thin sleeping pad you bought to save weight when you are a week ride away from the nearest gas station, no matter a place to buy camping equipment.

A couple that has done this in the reverse direction have made an excellent documentary about it, and you can order the dvd from their web site:
http://www.longroadnorth.com
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Old 11-24-09, 01:35 PM   #5
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-Are we nuts trying to do this on bamboo bikes?
Have you discussed that with Craig Calfee?

http://www.calfeedesign.com/bamboo.htm
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Old 11-24-09, 02:17 PM   #6
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Have you discussed that with Craig Calfee?

http://www.calfeedesign.com/bamboo.htm
Actually I did contact him recently, yes.
He wrote me that the frames should be able to handle the stress and rough handling, but it never hurts asking around

It looks like we will be buying frames from the bamboo bike company he set up in Ghana, Africa.
http://www.bamboosero.com/cargo_bikes.html



Of course we will try to squeeze in a few weekends to tune our set ups once we get our bamboo bikes and stuff!
Thanks for all the replies to far. They are very valuable to me!
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Old 11-24-09, 02:50 PM   #7
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I could be wrong but I think there are very few people on this forum who have ridden to Ushuaia on a bamboo bike made in Ghana. It is very likely you will be the first, so make sure you take good cameras and perhaps think about posting a journal on Crazyguyonabike.
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Old 11-24-09, 02:51 PM   #8
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Check out http://www.ridesouth.net/images/main.php?g2_itemId=1115

Friend of mine who did a similar trip, but starting from Seattle.
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Old 11-25-09, 03:42 PM   #9
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Check out http://www.ridesouth.net/images/main.php?g2_itemId=1115

Friend of mine who did a similar trip, but starting from Seattle.
Thanks man, very valuable!

Once we get the site up and stuff I'll make a post. We're probably going to keep up a diary and perhaps video journal as well...

Another q; Do you guys think we should get a GPS system or are good roadmaps enough?
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Old 11-26-09, 12:35 AM   #10
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It's certainly do-able but I think whether you and your friend will ultimately finish the trip will depend more upon your ability to put up with each other and your own mental strengths / weaknesses than your equipment and money.

I know nothing about bamboo bikes aside from the beautiful pictures I've seen online. My advice would be to research whether the bamboo frame is likely to develop any unique structural problems over the journey. If so, make sure you know how you can repair it and have relevant material with you to do it (fibreglass? - I have no idea). i.e. I doubt bamboo can be welded!

Goodluck!

Matt
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Old 11-26-09, 02:15 AM   #11
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Pick up the book "The Milepost". Of all the information I've picked up and been recommended about my planned trip from Prudhoe south, being told to buy this book was by far the best. Spend the extra few $ and get the 2009 version (or wait and get the 2010).

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Old 11-26-09, 04:45 PM   #12
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Pick up the book "The Milepost". Of all the information I've picked up and been recommended about my planned trip from Prudhoe south, being told to buy this book was by far the best. Spend the extra few $ and get the 2009 version (or wait and get the 2010).
Thanks blaise_f,

already came across this quidebook online.

We are going to cycle for a good cause and try to create awareness and get money together to provide sustainable water solutions for local communities in Central and South-America.
Do you guys think it is realistic to assume we will be able to team up with sponsors?
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Old 11-26-09, 05:50 PM   #13
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Thanks man, very valuable!

Once we get the site up and stuff I'll make a post. We're probably going to keep up a diary and perhaps video journal as well...

Another q; Do you guys think we should get a GPS system or are good roadmaps enough?
Since they're so affordable, I would suggest you get a GPS system. I didn't get GPS until I retired to northwest Montana; didn't need GPS back on the east coast of the US because the roads are so well mapped. That's not necessarily the case for the more remote areas in the western US. There are no commercial maps of many of the forest roads I ride. I downloaded the US Geological Society's topo maps (downloads from their site are still free). I then imported them into a Windows CE program called Ozi Explorer. (I got a Mio C320 for $99; this unit has an SD slot and a 4.3" color touch screen. Since it runs on Window CE, a hack was created to run a free CE system called MioPocket. This makes the unit more than GPS--it's now a full PIM and with my SD WIFI card, I even can access the Internet when traveling with it. You might check out various GPS units you're interested in at this forum. http://www.gpspassion.com/forumsen/default.asp?group=2 ) Good luck. Enjoy your trip. I look forward to reading about it once you're on the road next year.
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Old 11-26-09, 06:25 PM   #14
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I have only been to Ushuaia by plane so that leaves me with no bike information to offer however, I will tell you that no matter what time of year one visits, it can be cold and VERY WINDY so you may find yourselves wanting to camp out after 10 miles of riding or jump on a bus from big down to big down.
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Old 11-28-09, 05:30 PM   #15
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I have only been to Ushuaia by plane so that leaves me with no bike information to offer however, I will tell you that no matter what time of year one visits, it can be cold and VERY WINDY so you may find yourselves wanting to camp out after 10 miles of riding or jump on a bus from big down to big down.
Hehe, hitching rides will NOT be an option for us.

Unless something bad happens ofc...
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Old 11-29-09, 12:15 PM   #16
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I agree with everyone who says you don't really need previous experience. My friend and I rode across the US with very little prior touring knowledge, and had a blast. If you're ambitious, anything's possible. It's true you'll get in shape on the trip. No matter how much you train before the trip, you'll probably still feel a significant advancement after a month or two of riding.

If it would help you sleep at night, taking just a 3 or 4 day tour beforehand will teach you more than you can imagine. If only for peace of mind while you're getting ready for the trip. It also helps give you an idea of what you actually want to pack, so you're not sending a box of stuff home(or having one sent to you) after a month on the road.
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