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  1. #1
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    Summer Tourist Advice

    Didn't see too many threads like this though I am sure they out there. Sadly I never made the jump like so many friends while young to get to your great state for a summer of work. However my girlfriend just landed a position as a research technician so naturally I'm visiting when her stint is up. (I can't be too jealous, I just took a gig building trail.)

    Anyway, I got two weeks. Mainly looking for rental advice as I would love to squeeze a day or two of riding in. But if you have other advice please give.

    We are 20-somethings who make little money because we would rather adventure. Trying to avoid tourist traps, but it is Alaska and it is summer and we are...tourists.

    Plan is to rent a car, do Seward, Homer, Denali, and Fairbanks. Plus a day or two on either end in Anchorage. Hostels and camping. Eating camp food (splurge = beer).

    Decent rentals in Anchorage or Fairbanks? Kincaid looks closest in Anchorage, easy to ride to if I rented? Other advice? Anything is appreciated, places to see off the beaten path (if you're willing to share), places to camp, drink beer, etc. Thanks.
    Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades.

  2. #2
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    A lot depends on when you'll be here (early or late summer?). Bike rentals in Anchorage aren't too tough to come by. Plenty of good shops to choose from. Kincaid is easy to find and ride, as are the hillside trails if you're in Anchorage Singletrack Advocates . If your headed down Kenai way you might look at riding Devils Pass, Johnson Pass, Lost lake, Crescent Lake, or Resurrection. All are really great and offer all the goods. We've had a good bit of snow at the higher elevations so it might be later in the summer before the stuff up high melts out. If you want to get your DH on, Alyeska Resort offers Chairlift access and rents DH bikes and gear (Friday's after 3:00pm are 1/2 price) check their website. Most of the trails on the Kenai are on mtbproject Mountain Bike Trails near Alaska

    There are some sweet trails up near Denali/Healy that are more shuttle type but they can be a bit difficult to find if you don't know the area. I worked with these guys last summer and we found some fun stuff (half of the edit was filmed where I work at Alyeska Resort) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aqnub3X5pTw


    Buy some bear spray and bug dope when you get here and keep it handy! Keep your camp clean or you'll likely get visited by Mr. Bear.
    To prepare for a race there is nothing better than a good pheasant, some champagne and a woman.

  3. #3
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    Ah yes, the bears. We don't deal with them much on the east coast down here. Thanks for the tips. I ride a rigid SS, don't do much downhilling hah. I love a good climb :-) Grew up in New England where I describe riding as XC but is probably more AM.

    Anyway, as long as I'm on the bike its fun.

    Oh, and the last two weeks in July we will be there.
    Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades.

  4. #4
    Elitest thrill junkie
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    July should be good for everything. Our days are already longer than the nights and mass-melting is starting. There can be some pack at higher altitude that will take a while to melt, but our shoulder seasons are very short and the sun doesn't go down until around 11 in April. In July, it's more like "midnight", coming up at 4am. July might also be ok for mosquitoes, as they tend to be a much bigger problem early on in the season, but you never know, so yes, bring the bug dope. There are times when it's downright necessary, especially on a longer ride. Bear spray is important, also to have it accessible externally (not buried in the bottom of your pack). Moose are more dangerous than bears generally, but you want to be prepared. I have had to use the bear spray (against an aggressive moose when cornered).

    Otherwise, those trails on the Kenai are a blast and very "epic". It's hard to beat the views and fun factor of Lost Lake, but they are all good. Trails in near Anchorage at both Kincaid and Hilltop STA networks are a lot of fun, but not a lot of mileage. Fun roller-coaster bermed trails with some features built just a few years ago.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    ...the sun doesn't go down until around 11 in April. In July, it's more like "midnight", coming up at 4am.
    Really looking forward to drinking a beer at 10pm and it being sunny. Just because, tourist and all.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Bear spray is important, also to have it accessible externally (not buried in the bottom of your pack). Moose are more dangerous than bears generally, but you want to be prepared. I have had to use the bear spray (against an aggressive moose when cornered).
    Duly noted, not something I have ever had to think about.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Otherwise, those trails on the Kenai are a blast and very "epic". It's hard to beat the views and fun factor of Lost Lake, but they are all good. Trails in near Anchorage at both Kincaid and Hilltop STA networks are a lot of fun, but not a lot of mileage. Fun roller-coaster bermed trails with some features built just a few years ago.
    I was figuring it would be easiest to rent in Anchorage, so Kincaid would be fine to get my kicks in one day. I mention Fairbanks too wondering if it had anything being a city, or "city"? The Kenai stuff looks epic, and we are surely visiting there, whether I will ride there is dependent on time/rentals.

    Any pieces of advice on how to experience places the cruise ships don't stop or places tourists don't go? Or where to get a good beer and whatever food is local to Alaska (moose burgers?)
    Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades.

  6. #6
    K_B
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    If you plan on heading to Fairbanks, it doesn't hurt to stop in Talkeetna. It's a tourist destination, but still worth checking out. It's hard to avoid tourists. Any destination that requires exercise to get to will be devoid of of the stereotypical tourists. The Kenai Peninsula trails are worth it. If you're going to Seward, do the Lost Lake trail.

    As for food and beverages; there's a ton of options. Might as well hit Moose's Tooth for the beer and pizza (along with everybody else in Anchorage). Be prepared to wait at least a half hour for a table at peak times (you can order a beer at the bar while you're waiting).

    There's also the Midnight Sun Brewery and a lesser known spot (as far as I know) is the Slippery Salmon downtown. You also have Humpy's, Flattop Pizza and Fat Ptarmigan nearby.

  7. #7
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    Midnight Sun and Anchorage Brewery are good places to get good brews and miss the "crazy crowded tourist" experience. MSB does food, AB does a few snacks from time to time. Both are far better beer than the other more conservative "breweries" downtown and in other places. Moose's Tooth is great pizza.

    I was just at MSB a few min ago, but I can ride there from where I live That's where lots of us go after riding, skiing, etc.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  8. #8
    sluice box
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    Powder Hound and Alyeska rent downhill bikes in Girdwood.

    Cycle Logical in Homer rents bikes if you are into fatbiking on the beach and xc hard tails.

    Backcountry bike and ski in the Mat-Su Valley (Wasilla/Palmer) rents bikes also not sure what.

    For local burgers you can find Bison and Caribou in restaurants but if you want moose you have to hit up a local that will grill some up for you. Many around here have full freezers.
    ptarmigan hardcore

  9. #9
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    There are a number of shops that rent bikes in Anchorage (Chain Reaction, Speedway, Bicycle Shop, Paramount). In Fairbanks, check out Beaver Sports (Home page). There could be others up there, but haven't checked in a while myself. In Soldotna (Kenai Peninsula), Beemuns (Bike Rental Services – Beemuns Variety) is probably the place to go to rent if anyone is going to have something.

  10. #10
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    Hey all, want to say thanks. Been working like a dog and little time to get on here, much less plan for Alaska. Stoked to go up in a week. Food and booze tips much appreciated, the lady has been at a bush camp doing research for 4 months and desperately needs a burger and beer.

    Hope to at least grab a bike in Anchorage and hit Kincaid so I can say I've ridden Alaska hah. Plus all the classic tourist stuff.
    Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades.

  11. #11
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    Unfortunately a bad work accident two days before the flight left me in non-riding shape. And I'd have to skip kayaking (and showers, but I was planning to anyway). Fortunately it wasn't worse so I was fine and on my way north.

    Got to say amazing state y'all live in. Hope you all really appreciate it. As a lowly east coast boy I've dreamed of Alaska for the better part of my young life. Despite clouds and rain for most of the trip I didn't want to leave.

    I could list all the fun I had but you know it better than I, can't wait to come back, and hopefully ride.

    PS despite antiquated laws regarding breweries we were able to get 14 in the two week trip.
    Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades.

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