Thursday, 11 May 2017

The bike and speaking to the Alaskan locals...

Hello!

Welcome the latest Arctic Rider blog.

Plans for my Arctic Ride Alaska in 2018 are steaming ahead. I've been doing a lot of work to try and make this ride as big of a success as my Arctic Ride to Norway in 2014 and my Iron Butt challenge last year. However the main contributor isn't the work I put in but the people who are supporting me through re-tweets, like, and views on YouTube, and ultimately donations to the charities. Thank you to everyone who has supported me so far!

The past few weeks have been busy and I've had some similar questions coming from colleagues, friends, and family about my trip and progress, so I thought I'd address this update with the questions I've been asked.

What bike are you using?

Kawasaki KLX650
I'd love to have done this ride on my trusty Suzuki which took me to Arctic Norway and back, and on my Iron Butt ride but it simply isn't workable for 2 reasons. Firstly the cost of shipping my bike to and from Alaska is more than I paid for it and more than I'm hoping to raise in funds, which defeats the point. Secondly, its really not the right bike to take on the Dalton Highway with. While there are some mad folk who have done the ride on sports bikes, the risk of the weather and the roads being bad is too high for me to attempt on a sports bike. I'll be using a more suitable bike.


BMW GS650

That has left me with the option of getting a bike in Alaska and I''m exploring a few avenues. I've been in touch with 2 bike hire companies in Alaska, MotoQuest and Rent Alaska. I'm currently talking to both companies about what bike would be best and how we can partner together for my trip.

In addition, I've also been speaking to Suzuki, who I partnered with on my last 2 rides, about how they can support me with using one of their V-Strom bikes in Alaska.. more on that when it comes through.



Suzuki VStrom650
So at the moment depending on which route works out best for the project will decide which bike I use. Whichever bike I take it will be a mid-range dual-purpose bike either the Kawasaki KLX650, BMW GS650, or the Suzuki VStrom 650. I'm looking forward to riding a different bike either way.








When are you going?

At the moment all I have committed to is doing the ride in 2018. Due to the extreme weather in Alaska, I have a window of June - early September but I have a few other constraints too. Firstly, depending which bike I go with and its availability will restrict when I can do the ride. Secondly, to keep the costs low I'm trying to book the most economical flights to Alaska (its not cheap!) and the timing of these will also play a part. Thirdly, and most importantly, a new member of the Arctic Ride family is due to arrive this summer. My very supportive wife will be finishing her maternity leave ealry summer 2018 meaning as a family we will need to carefully plan how Kirsty is going to cope at home with a toddler and a new born while going back to a full time job as a lawyer. Like I said, she really is supportive,
MotoScotland.com

What support have you have so far?

As I said in my last blog, I've had amazing support from Clive and the team at MotoScotland.com who are giving me some off-road training in January 2018. In addition to MotoScotland, I've been speaking with some Alaskan locals who have been giving me some really good tips about riding in Arctic Alaska.


Phil Freeman, from MotoQuest, gave me some great tips over the phone. Due to road construction on the Dalton, the best time to ride in early June to avoid being held up by this. Also there tends to be less rain/snow at this time. He also told me some great local tips on where to camp and how to keep the bears away (you read that right, actual bears!!) and that having a fast wipe for my visor is key due to the passing trucks covering my visor is calcium carbonate from the road surface!



I also linked up with Ethan from Anchorage who, as a local, thinks I'm hardcore for taking on the Dalton (and nice justification for my nervousness taking on this ride). I'll definitely be taking him up on this offer of a beer!

That is it for this update. Thanks for reading and supporting.

My donation page is now open. So if you think I'm mad for taking on one of the worlds most dangerous roads in support of Tiny Lives and Cerebra, please chuck a few coins in the (virtual) bucket. Any amount is appreciated. Click here or on the logo below.



Peace out and ride safe.

Gordon