“A go anywhere bike as long as it has a go anywhere person.” – anonymous

Gear

The Backbone of the Expedition is my trusty bicycle, Pugsley. This is a machine created for travel over snow, ice, sand, or whatever you can throw at it. Pugsley specializes in no trail travel. Surly Bikes have pushed the snow bike to the next level, and also the production level, by bringing this bike to the market. My bike has been setup especially for this trip. Every component on the bike has been chosen for it’s combined lightweight and durability, as well as it’s ability to be easily fixed, reliable.

I‘ve set up the bike as a single speed fixed gear. This allows me to remove my brakes, since I won’t be needing those, and allows for the simplest possible setup. Braking is accomplished by back-pedalling. Since the average terrain for the ride was to be flat and my average speed was be less than 7mph, I did not need brakes. The front and rear wheels are interchangable, allowing me to swap the two should I have drive train issues with my rear wheel. Drive train issues are common in sub-zero temperatures.

Accessories for the ride are mostly custom-made. My frame bags are handmade by Epic Designs of Alaska. They are durable, blaze orange, and allow easy access to the gear I use the most. The frame bags are especially helpful with adding and subtracting layers of clothing, which there is a lot of in winter cycling, and eating on the fly. (You consume about 4-5 times the amount of calories in the winter) My pogies (strange mitts on the handlebars) were also my by Epic Designs.

My rear rack is designed and built by myself. The rack is wider and longer than any other rack out there. (7 inches wide and 17 inches long) This allows for more surface area on the top of the rack. The sides are kept clear to allow for easier pushing of the bike. As well, it has a third attachment point to the frame at the cantilever bosses. This is for more support while towing a sled, or in this case my Alpacka Raft.

Ice is one of the most unpredictable wonders of the natural world. I pulled behind me and towed some gear in an Alpacka Raft. Alpacka Rafts are an all weather ultra light inflatable raft capable of carrying lots of gear through the harshest waters. I also carried a drysuit, neoprene booties, gloves, and life vest. As I found out on the trail, the Alpacka Raft is very patchable and was easily fixed on the trail.

Safety

I carried a marine radio, a cell phone (which had a 50% chance of working out there) a first aid kit, and chemical heat packs.

I preparation for possibly falling through the ice: I had a complete set of winter clothes on hand in a dry bag, including footwear. Draped over my shoulders at all times were a set of Ice Awls. Ice awls are a self rescue device that allows one to pull themselves up and out of the water, even when dealing with the slippery surface of ice.

The Alpacka raft was inflated at all times, the bicycle was tethered to the raft. I was wearing a life vest under my clothesmost of the time. It added insulation too. Had the ice awls failed, I would have been able to pull the raft to me and climb inside. Once out of the water my clothes would have been stripped and replaced with the ones from the dry bag. My bivouac (with pad, -20 bag with a 15 degree bag layered between the bivy sac and -20 bag) will be put out, either on the ice or in the raft, and chemical heat packs, which will already be in the sleeping bag (along with food and water), were to be activated. Then I would sit until I felt ready to move on. That never happened though. I traveled safely and comfortably.

Expedition cycling is a rather new sub-genre of cycling and the doors are wide open to developing new ideas, bike setups, and components to enhance the riders experience.

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