The Outside Blog

Dispatches : Biking

Adam Bradley on Floating the Mighty Yukon River

On_the-yukon-bradleyAdam Bradley's view of the Yukon River. Photo: Adam Bradley

If you follow notable (read: crazy) solo expeditions, you likely recognize the name Adam Bradley—or Krudmeister, as his friends call him. In 2009, Bradley set a record for the fastest unsupported through-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail: 65 days, nine hours, 58 minutes, and 47 seconds. But recently, besting records on established trails is less appealing to him than blazing his own.

Last summer, Bradley undertook a 4,738-mile biking-hiking-canoeing expedition from Reno, Nevada, (where he lives and works at Patagonia as a customer sales representative) to the mouth of the Yukon River, where it meets the Bering Sea. "After last summer, I would prefer to spend my time in vast tracts of wilderness and I don’t need a trail laid out in front of me," he says.

While the expedition was focused on reconnecting with his Alaskan roots—Bradley was born and raised in Anchorage, where his family homesteaded in the 1950s—it put the changes taking place in the landscapes and cultures of the far north into stark relief. Adventure Ethics spoke with Bradley and got the full story.

How did the BLC (or Biggest Little City, a.k.a. Reno) to Bering Sea trip come together?
I did a few bike tours here in Nevada and started thinking about doing a multisport thing, where I would use the bike to get into a trailhead or a river. Then I started researching a route to Skagway, Alaska. My dad and some friends of his did a trip in the 1970s that was documented by National Geographic. It's called the Yukon Passage trip. National Geographic heard about it after they did it and actually asked them to reenact it, to film. What they did is they hiked the Chilkoot Pass, much like the miners did, and then literally made a log raft with a cabin on it that they floated to Bering Sea. Part way down they got iced in, so they broke the boat down and made a cabin, until the river completely froze up and then they dog-sledded out the rest of the way. So I saw that as a kid and it definitely made a huge impact on me in terms of me becoming a river guide. So then when I started planning this trip I thought, Well, I have to hike this trail.

So you rode from Reno to Skagway, hiked the Chilkoot Pass, and eventually met up with a canoe and shotgun that you had shipped into Canada. But that's when things got complicated.
I did run into a hassle with customs officials at Frasier. I had purchased a shotgun and learned how to use it [before the trip] and did all the paperwork and everything, registered it. But when I got there, Canada had moving goal posts for me, so they kept changing what they were going to allow me to do and not allow me to do, so I ran into a lot of delay there. When I got to Lake Bennett, which is where the canoe was supposed to come up the White Pass on the Yukon Railroad, my gear didn't arrive because the customs officials were hassling the train, saying I was smuggling guns, which is funny, in retrospect, because I had declared it. If I had been smuggling I probably wouldn't have opened my mouth and attempted to do it the legal way.

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Picture of the Week: Fat Bike Slednecking

2012 GT Zaskar 100 9er ProFat bike slednecking: A sport is born. Photo: Ian Anderson

This photo popped up on my Facebook feed last week. It was taken by Ian Anderson, an outdoor industry public relations professional, accomplished outdoor athlete, and father of two kids (ages two and five). Ian lives in Carbondale, Colorado, with his wife, Sari Anderson, a professional endurance athlete who has won national championship titles in mountain biking and ski mountaineering and a world title in adventure racing. This may explain why their offspring are early adopters at almost every adventure sport known to man, including the one you see here: fat bike slednecking.

"I love to go sledding just about as much as my kids do, so there was really no question about what we were going to do when we woke up to over six inches of snow in Carbondale last Saturday," Ian says. "I got a Surly Pugsley fat bike last winter, and it’s really sure-footed on snowy, icy roads, so I figured we could ride to our local sledding hill—just over a mile away. I hooked up our Chariot Cheetah 2 bike trailer and threw two plastic sleds in the back. Then I remembered that one of the kids had gotten this ridiculous X Games 'snow bike' sled for Christmas a couple years ago and we had never tried it. So I got it down from the attic and tied it to the back of the Chariot."

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The Six-Month Test: GT Zaskar 100 9r Pro

2012 GT Zaskar 100 9er Pro

In recent years, GT Bicycles has been the Rodney Dangerfield of bike brands—they don’t get enough respect. The company continues to roll out hard-working, high-value bikes that are too often overshadowed by marquee brands.

Case in point: the Zaskar 100 9r Carbon Pro. This four-inch, full carbon XC 29er measures up favorably to similarly minded bikes on the market (think Trek Superfly 100 or Niner Jet9 RDO), but when it was introduced earlier this year it was overshadowed by sister company Cannondale’s splashy launch of the Scalpel 29er. That’s too bad because, while the Zaskar 100 will serve a slightly different consumer than the Scalpel and other pure race bikes, for the right rider, the Zaskar 100 9r is absolutely worth a look.

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Liquid: The VRBO of Bikes


Bicycling is the best way to see a city.

If you agree with that statement, you'll want to sign up with It's a new worldwide network of bike owners and would-be bike renters that seeks to connect the two groups with an ease never before attained. Through Liquid, bike owners rent their bikes to travelers, cyclists, and even bike-less locals that are just looking to get in a bit of exercise or exploration time in over 400 cities in 80 countries.

The initiative launched in New York City and San Francisco last April, and in September it started a national beta program.

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A Jersey for Hurricane Sandy Recovery

Like much of New York City, the Brooklyn neighborhood of Red Hook, best known in cycling communites as the host to an eccentric, annual urban criterium in October, is still reeling in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. In light of the damage, Red Hook Criterium organizer David Trimble has teamed up with Castelli Cycling to raise funds for the recovery. Trimble and Castelli designed a special edition Restore Redhook jersey and are donating the proceeds to two local organizations helping with hurricane relief, Red Hook Initiative (RHI) and Restore Red Hook (RRH).

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