Today, we find ourselves at the tippy top of Alaska with nothing but polar bears and oilmen, and many of you (quite reasonably) want to know why.
Soon we’ll be pedaling along the Dalton Highway with views of snow-covered mountains, the excitement that accompanies the start of any big adventure and a bit of fear of bears and cold weather. (I’m looking out the plane window now, and it looks pretty inhospitable, more snow than we expected this time of year.) My only purpose will be to get to the next tent site or the next town, and I’m certain I’ll be counting miles in my head: 500 miles from Fairbanks and roughly 20,000 miles from the bottom of Argentina.
This literal forward momentum of pedaling south will replace the forward momentum of a life in San Francisco that has its own rhythm of morning coffee and smoothie rituals, bike commutes, meeting-filled days in the office, weekend bike rides in Marin and dinner parties with our lovely view of the San Francisco skyline. I just turned 30, the sort of milestone that makes you ask big questions, and it feels like the right time to disrupt that momentum in San Francisco in favor of a different cadence. A new rhythm of life, scenery, people and perspectives. My hope is that by making the choice to live differently this year and exploring many more ways that others live along this two-continent journey, we will never let ourselves get caught up in just rolling forward idly through life even at its high points. I have been craving a big adventure like this for years, and I think what I really seek in an adventure is that the new challenges, joys, ideas and sources of inspiration that will push our bodies and test our willpower will also push our character and test our values.
For those of you who have more questions about how than why (looking at you bikepackers, backpackers, gear nerds and world travelers), you can see the details of all that we are carrying below. Start your bets now on what survives the trip and what we will buy along the way.
 Soon should have been yesterday morning, but Alaska Airlines lost our bikes. After six hours of searching for two giant boxes a person could fit inside that mysteriously disappeared, they finally located them, and we expect them to arrive shortly. Fingers crossed they get it right this time, and we should start by noon today.
- Bike: Salsa Cutthroat (more in the post on my bike)
- Bike bags: Revelate, Salsa, Rogue Panda (more in the post on my bike)
- Clothing tops: Icebreaker merino wool short sleeve, Icebreaker merino wool long-sleeve, Rapha brevet vest, Rab rain jacket, Patagonia down sweater
- Clothing bottoms: Pearl Izumi bibs with chamois, Oiselle compression shorts, Patagonia skirt, Icebreaker BodyFitZone merino wool leggings, Marmot Precip rain pants
- Underwear: Icebreaker merino wool sports bra, Outdoor Voices sports bra, Icebreaker merino wool underwear, Giro boxers with built in chamois
- Socks and gloves: Pearl Izumi fingerless cycling gloves, Gore Wear C5 Gore-Tex full-length gloves, Lululemon thin full-length liner gloves, Smartwool merino wool ultralight cycling socks, DHB merino wool heavy socks
- Accessories: Smith Pivlock Asana sunglasses, Buff, Outdoor Research beanie (from the Iditarod Trail Invitational, thanks dad!), Giro helmet, mosquito headnet
- Shoes: Pearl Izumi X-Alp Elevate, Z-trail lightweight sandals (for off the bike)
- Toiletries: small microfiber towel, Dr. Bronners, sunscreen, bug spray, chapstick, toothbrush and toothpaste, floss, chamois cream, comb, razor, nail clippers, tissues, hand sanitizer, sunscreen, bug spray
- First aid kit: assorted medicines including oral and topical antibiotics, anti-nausea meds, ibuprofen; KT athletic tape, bandages, alcohol swabs, sting and burn pads
- Camping gear: Zpacks 20 degree F classic bag, Therm-a-rest NeoAir XTherm sleeping pad, Sea to Summit Aeros Pillow Premium, eye mask (to be tossed once we get far enough south that nights finally get dark!), Snow Peak 450mL titanium cup, Sea to Summit long spork, Black Diamond rechargeable headlight
- Electronics: Wahoo Element bike computer, Moto 5G, 2 micro-USB chargers, back-up battery (will be charging with my Dynamo hub, more on that in the post on my bike)
Note: I have a few drops / swaps I will make when we get to warmer climates in the southern US and Central America.
- Bike: Moots Baxter
- Bike bags: Porcelain Rocket Mr. Fusion seatpost bag, Rogue Panda rolltop framebag, Revelate designs handlebar bag and pocket, Revelate designs Gas Tank top tube bag, Road Runner Bags Auto pilot handlebar bag, Outer Shell Adventure Stem Caddy
- Clothes: Ice Breaker merino wool T-shirt and long sleeve shirt, Ice Breaker merino wool underwear, Patagonia merino wool long underwear, bike bibs, heavy wool socks, light wool socks, Rab Kinetic Plus rain shell, Patagonia down vest, Patagonia Nano air hoodie, Sierra Designs waterproof pants, Castelli neoprene gloves, Giro fingerless bike gloves, buff
- Electronics: 10.5” iPad Pro, Pixel 2, Amazon Kindle Voyage, Garmin inReach Explorer+, Sony a6300 with Sony Vario-Tessar 16-70mm lens
- Camping gear: Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 tent, Thermarest neoair xtherm sleeping pad, Katabatic Gear Palisade sleeping bag, Sea to Summit inflatable camping pillow, MSR Windburner stove, trowel, Katadyn BeFree water filter, Black Diamond ReVolt headlamp, mosquito head net, Benchmark Bugout knife
- Bike accessories: sunglasses, rear light, Otto bike lock, helmet, Lezyne Micro Drive pump, spare chain, tire levers, patch kit, tire patches, super glue, chain lube, 2x spare tires, 2x spare tubes, hex wrenches, screwdriver, duct tape!
- Shoes: Xero Z-trail sandals, Shimano XM7 cycling shoes