Surviving 1,100 miles through Alaska’s winter wilderness on two wheels

My brother is the (slightly) less hairy one.

Long time readers may know that my brother Eric is a veteran of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, finishing the 1,100 mile race through the Alaskan wilderness three times.

Not bad for a man who’s probably the only Ph.d certified particle physicist to compete in, let alone finish, the race.

A fourth time ended in frostbite, a broken leg and a wrenched shoulder, with a long, lonely wait for rescue in sub-zero temperatures. But it didn’t stop him or his team from running it again the following year.

Unfortunately, despite having his best team ever, financial pressures from the current economy have kept him out of the race the last few years.

So if anyone who wants to sponsor a dog team in next year’s race, or is looking for a great speaker with tales of adventure in the Great White North, just let me know.

Then again, if anyone wants to sponsor a humble bike blogger/bike advocate, I’m all ears.

Despite riding throughout this great country, from the swamps of Louisiana through the Rocky Mountain high country and the mean streets of L.A., it never would have occurred to me to follow my brother’s sled tracks from the ceremonial start in Anchorage to the finish line Nome. Especially not in the dead of winter.

And now that is has, I think I pass, thank you.

However, there are others who don’t let little things like snow and ice, sub-zero temperatures or hurricane-force winds stop them from going out for a fast paced mid-winter’s ride.

And you thought your off-season riding routine was tough.

The Alaska Dispatch offers a great recap of this year’s Iditarod Trail Invitational bike race, in which winner Jay Petervary set a course record despite surviving a blowhole — a wind-driven maelstrom of freezing white-out conditions. And yet still only beats second place finisher Aidan Harding, who ran the course blowhole free, by just three hours.

More impressive, his wife finished third and now holds course records for both the northern and southern sections of the trail.

Talk about a family bike ride. Maybe next year they’ll try it on a tandem.

It’s definitely worth reading if you’re interested in the wild side of cycling, and want to vicariously participate in one of the world’s most extreme bike races from the comfort of your computer.

And if it inspires you to go out and try it yourself next year, send me a postcard.

.………

Here’s a first in the great New York bikelash.

NYPD officers void tickets and apologize in person to cyclists after writing riders up for speeding in Central Park. Of course, the problem with the tickets wasn’t the barely posted 15 mph limit for bikes in the park — despite a 25 mph limit for motor vehicles, which probably invalidates the lower limit.

Instead, the tickets were voided due to a technical issue, because the tickets sent alleged violators to traffic court instead of criminal court.

One citation remains in force for now, for a cyclist cited for doing 28 mph in that 25 mph zone.

Meanwhile, New York Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson says bike lanes are a choice, not a metaphor, while census figures show that bike commuting in New York doubled in the last 20 years, but still lags behind other cities. And the Claremont Cyclist offers his take on some of the sillier comments fueling the bikelash.

Thanks to George Wolfberg for the heads-up on the ticketing stories.

.………

A CHP report on a traffic collision on the 110 Freeway just south of Manchester Ave suggests that it may have been caused by a bicycle riding on the freeway — in the traffic lanes, no less. L.A. political site Street-Hassle looks at the politics of the Wilbur Ave road diet, astutely suggesting that it would take just one video of an out-of-control cyclist to fire up the opposition. Mikey Wally offers his typically beautiful photos of Sunday’s Wolfpack Hustle L.A. Marathon Crash Race. Bikeside reports on last week’s LAPD Bike Task Force meeting. The Santa Monica Museum of Art is hosting an art-focused Cycle Chic Sunday. Altadena could get a bike boulevard under the new county bike plan. Cal State Long Beach will be honored for its newly achieved bike-friendly status on April 7th. Streetsblog looks at Long Beach’s current effort to update and improve its bike plan. A 61-year old Glendora cyclist will attempt his second cross-country ride to raise funds to fight MS. The Claremont Cyclist calls attention to this weekend’s San Dimas Stage Race.Ventura passes a new bike master plan, though council members warn it may be unaffordable. After a car hits a Chico cyclist, they both leave the scene until police find them together half a mile away in the same car.

Contraflow bike lanes get the Feds official stamp of approval. Driver’s heads just aren’t in the game yet. Loving the Bike looks at the car-light lifestyle. Grist’s Sarah Goodyear says there is no war on cars, except when it comes to scoring political points. Neighborhood greenways are like bike boulevards on steroids; link courtesy of the always excellent Tucson Velo. A Seattle stage actor is killed in a cycling accident. The new Quiznos Pro Challenge won’t be riding through the Colorado National Monument, home of the famed Tour of the Moon course, after all. A Chicago writer says he wants to believe that drivers are afraid of hurting cyclists, and that fear is what makes them angry; Dave Moulton thinks he may have a point. Biking is up 33% in the Twin Cities. Five simple rules for safer bike deliveries. A competitive cyclist in Philadelphia is run down by a speeding hit-and-run driver; he survives thanks to a helmet and landing on a grassy median. Bad advice from the Maryland DMV causes right hook collisions, which police fall over themselves to blame on the cyclist. A Baltimore bicyclist offers a cyclists’ manifesto. South Carolina works to become safer for cyclists. A classic SWSS, as an unmarked patrol car driven by an off-duty Tampa police officer hits an 85-year old cyclist, who just happened to swerve out of the bike lane in front of the car. The owner of the New York Jets is injured in a Florida biking collision.

Innovative designs to prevent residential bike theft. A bill is introduced in Parliament to criminalize dangerous cycling that causes death or injury, despite the countless drivers who walk away with a slap on the wrist after running down a cyclist or pedestrian. Former Arsenal goalie Bob Wilson plans to bike to every Premier League stadium in the UK to raise money for charity. Seville, Spain offers a roadmap to bike-friendliness. An Aussie U-19 cyclist struggles to come back after colliding with a light pole in a racing accident.

Finally, it’s not unusual to see people carry their surfboards by bike around here, but Will Campbell finds someone who took the concept of long board to the extreme. And a visit to New Jersey’s dreaded bike-eating tree.

4 comments

  1. Aidan is a good friend of mine and definitely an inspiration. He’s site is: http://www.aidanharding.com/

  2. joseph says:

    Thanks for the mention of the “LA Political” site. I peek at California politics also and watch cycling issues and cycle advocates.

    ciao,

    Joseph
    street-hassle.blogspot.com

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