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Touring Northern Canada

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Touring Northern Canada

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Old 12-11-14, 02:34 PM
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kpasa1
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Touring Northern Canada

I am seeking one or two experienced long distance self sufficient riders to join me on an adventure from Inuvik, North West Territories, down the Dempster Highway to Dawson City, Yukon then down the Klondike Highway to Whitehorse, Yukon then down the Alaska Highway to Dawson Creek, British Columbia. The route reversed is an option. Departure date: early June 2015.
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Old 12-11-14, 02:51 PM
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It sounds like a nice trip but I'm curious as to why "experienced long distance self sufficient riders". (I'm a newbie to touring so that may explain my question.)
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Old 12-11-14, 02:58 PM
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I'll do it with you if you delay your plan by nine months until March 2016, so we can include the ice road up to Tuktoyaktuk. I'm from Toronto, currently living in Shanghai. My longest bike tour so far has been from Shanghai to Singapore (7600km).
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Old 12-11-14, 03:01 PM
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I've been touring for decades. I'm looking for company on this trip and need people that know how to take care of themselves. This is very remote territory.
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Old 12-11-14, 03:13 PM
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Was hoping to finally get this ride done in 2015 but anything is possible. Stay in touch. I'm presently in Medellin,Colombia enroute from Cartagena to Lima. I've rode from the North of Thailand, South through Laos to Singapore. I'm from Edmonton but kind of homeless now. lol
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Old 12-11-14, 03:24 PM
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Here's an account of someone who rode the ice road recently: Day 1 ? Bike Wanderer

I've been thinking about this winter ride for years. I'll do it one way or another at some point.
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Old 12-11-14, 03:31 PM
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Was hoping to finally get this ride done in 2015 but anything is possible. Stay in touch. I'm presently in Medellin,Colombia enroute from Cartagena to Lima. I've rode from the North of Thailand, South through Laos to Singapore. I'm from Edmonton but kind of homeless now. lol
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Old 12-11-14, 03:41 PM
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Fantastic!!!!!!!!
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Old 12-11-14, 04:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Yan View Post
Here's an account of someone who rode the ice road recently: Day 1 ? Bike Wanderer

I've been thinking about this winter ride for years. I'll do it one way or another at some point.
A winter ride up there...? WOW, you either really know what you are doing... or are in for one big nasty learning experience...
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Old 12-11-14, 04:29 PM
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Originally Posted by 350htrr View Post
A winter ride up there...? WOW, you either really know what you are doing... or are in for one big nasty learning experience...
I did a trans-Taklamakhan ride this May and would like to do the Yukon ride to complement.

Person in photo is my riding partner. I was the photographer.



I'm counting on mountaineering experience. Don't know how relevant it will be. Only one way to find out.

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Old 12-11-14, 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Yan View Post
I did a trans-Taklamakhan ride this May and would like to do the Yukon ride to complement.

Person in photo is my riding partner. I was the photographer.



I'm counting on mountaineering experience. Don't know how relevant it will be. Only one way to find out.

See that first pic of your partner looking into the distance with nothing but a broken down shack visible?... That is just like some parts of that "highway". The difference will be lots of snow -40*C temps with nothing for 400KMs in front of you in about 3 places... Good luck!
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Old 12-11-14, 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Yan View Post
Here's an account of someone who rode the ice road recently: Day 1 ? Bike Wanderer

I've been thinking about this winter ride for years. I'll do it one way or another at some point.
Heck of a journal read. I've been wanting to do the adventure cyclist ride up to AL but in the summer, please, .
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Old 12-11-14, 05:09 PM
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Couple Guys from Sweden passed thru town last November . they started in Anchorage AK.

Bene Sugg: Post an add in the ACA magazine/website and the CTC one in the UK. too.
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Old 12-11-14, 05:13 PM
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Originally Posted by 350htrr View Post
See that first pic of your partner looking into the distance with nothing but a broken down shack visible?... That is just like some parts of that "highway". The difference will be lots of snow -40*C temps with nothing for 400KMs in front of you in about 3 places... Good luck!
People ski to the North Pole all the time pulling a 100kg sled. This bike ride is peanuts in comparison. People actually live in Tuk their entire lives. I'd just be visiting for a couple of weeks. Only a tourist in their eyes.

The desert ride was 600km with one resupply. It was fine. The winter ride will be harder, but is manageable.
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Old 12-11-14, 05:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Yan View Post
People ski to the North Pole all the time pulling a 100kg sled. This bike ride is manageable.
Yes, I'm sure it can be done, good luck to you, and if you pass through Prince George B C somewhere in the trip I sure would like to offer you a place to stay and we could compare trips. I am going to Anchorage Alaska next year (in the summer)...

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Old 12-11-14, 05:36 PM
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I've ridden up to Alaska, the Yukon, and the NWT a half dozen times.
Remote, but not that remote. Food prices will be double or more.
And if you need lodging, be prepared to fork it out.
Eagle Plains is about halfway between Inuvik and Dawson.
South of Dawson you are rarely more than a day's ride from services.
Minimal services, not the Taj Mahal, but services.

The biggest threats to safety and sanity are mosquitoes and biting flies.
Be prepared for swarms of hundreds that follow you as you cycle.
Thus, complete cover is essential.
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Old 12-11-14, 05:37 PM
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Originally Posted by 350htrr View Post
Yes, I'm sure it can be done, good luck to you, and if you pass through Prince George B C somewhere in the trip I sure would like to offer you a place to stay and we could compare trips. I am going to Anchorage Alaska next year (in the summer)...
Thanks!
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Old 12-11-14, 05:49 PM
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Yeah, when Andrew Skurka walked the route he called it "The Mosquito Loop." One of the few tours I couldn't be talked into doing. It just seems maddening; flat everywhere, cold, millions of bugs, difficult water sourcing and food resupplies, etc.

No doubt it's doable, but definitely Type 2 fun. I am all about that, but I need some other stuff as bookends, like beautiful mountains or nice towns to visit.

That one guy went waaaay north in Canada on CrazyGuy. I think someone else mentioned him. His numerous brushes with dehydration speak to that challenge.
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Old 12-11-14, 06:17 PM
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Water?
An old Slavey Dene man told me to drink right out of the muskeg.
I did with no negative effects. Water everywhere. YMMV.
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Old 12-11-14, 06:21 PM
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Originally Posted by jamawani View Post
Water?
An old Slavey Dene man told me to drink right out of the muskeg.
I did with no negative effects. Water everywhere. YMMV.
Canada is big. Putting the word "Northern" in front of it could arguably describe the whole damn place.

I jest.

I think the dude in the report I read would have happily drank it if he had it. Must be some sections that are different from others up there. I am no expert.
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Old 12-11-14, 06:28 PM
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Originally Posted by mdilthey View Post
Yeah, when Andrew Skurka walked the route he called it "The Mosquito Loop." One of the few tours I couldn't be talked into doing. It just seems maddening; flat everywhere, cold, millions of bugs, difficult water sourcing and food resupplies, etc.
I cycled the Dempster in 1996, Alaska Highway in 1997, Dalton in 2005 and Russia in 2007. My report for Dempster is here: The Dempster Highway and Alaska Highway is here: http://www.mvermeulen.com/canada/ There are definitely some spots where the mosquitos are pretty bad on the Dempster, but generally if you keep moving and jump into your tent quick as reaching camp - things are ok for those spots. Also some horse flies that can bite when you are riding, though those seemed to take a while to home in so could swat most of them.

However, as far as mosquitos and biting flies go, my cycling western Siberia was definitely worse than Yukon Territory or Alaska. Not so much that there are localized spots that are probably equally bad in both places - but more because in Western Siberia it continued day after day after day after day... and in the Yukon the bad spots got mixed up with days that really didn't have much in way of bugs at all.

On the Dempster there was a ~100km stretch w/o water but otherwise there were spots more frequent to fill up. The Milepost is a good source for this type of information about the roads and what you find along them.

Adventure Cycling has two "Alaska to Argentina" listings for 2015, so potential to see if they're interested in Inuvik instead of Deadhorse. I've got my own listing there too, but not until 2016...

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Old 12-12-14, 04:04 PM
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I've ridden most of your proposed routes in June and actually the mosquitoes weren't terrible.
The bigger problem was having to wait until the 2 ferries were running on the Dempster as the road
is closed until the rivers stabilize after 'ice out.' You want to do that hwy as soon as possible to avoid the bugs.
The other big and frustrating problem is the quagmire of sticky mud the Dempster turns into if it rains, especially
the top third. Again though, when traveling early, you'll find many of the smaller facilities still closed.
When traveling the Alcan in June you should be aware that both grizzlies and black bears are just coming out of
hibernation and are hungry as well as grumpy. If you get good weather (which is quite likely in June) it's
a great ride, just be prepared for limited services and choose your campsites carefully. Also be aware of poisonous
gases when picking a campsite that accumulate in low lying spots near the oil fields in eastern BC.
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Old 12-14-14, 10:06 AM
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Thanks for the info. I appreciate it!!!!!!! What did/do you ride? I'm hoping to do it on my touring bike, (700 x 38C tires) I've driven the Klondike and Alaska highways before so I know they won't be a problem, my concern is the Dempster on this bike.
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Old 12-14-14, 11:40 AM
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I rode Dempster on Cannondate T1000 with 700x44 in rear and 700x35 in front. I rode Dalton and Russia on Trek 520 with 700x35.
My opinion is 700x38C should be fine for the Dempster. As Big Lew mentions, the wild card is getting wet rain turning things into sticky mud. I had some of that approaching Fort McPherson and that part of road was particularly soft then - but not sure tire width makes a huge difference for that condition.
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Old 12-21-14, 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by mev View Post
I rode Dempster on Cannondate T1000 with 700x44 in rear and 700x35 in front. I rode Dalton and Russia on Trek 520 with 700x35.
My opinion is 700x38C should be fine for the Dempster. As Big Lew mentions, the wild card is getting wet rain turning things into sticky mud. I had some of that approaching Fort McPherson and that part of road was particularly soft then - but not sure tire width makes a huge difference for that condition.
You don't want fat heavily lugged tires in that sticky mud as it quickly builds up and plugs everything making it almost impossible to
peddle along. That mud is also really difficult to even walk or push your bike through at times.
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