Alaska Back Country Bike Tours???- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1

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    Alaska Back Country Bike Tours???

    It all started when the February issue of Mountain Bike Action arrived. My husband and I saw an ad about mountain bike trips by a group called Alaska Back Country Bike Tours (www.mountainbikealaska.com). After a call to American Airlines to check on our Advantage miles, we have airfare reserved for a 4 day trip when them (plus another 4 days to hang out and do our own thing). Has anyone heard of them or been on a trip with them? We've only been on a couple of overnight camping/mountain biking outings on our own. We've never been on an official mountain biking trip, and aren't sure if we should go with an organized group or try it on our own. Any suggestions?

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbgrrrl
    It all started when the February issue of Mountain Bike Action arrived. My husband and I saw an ad about mountain bike trips by a group called Alaska Back Country Bike Tours (www.mountainbikealaska.com). After a call to American Airlines to check on our Advantage miles, we have airfare reserved for a 4 day trip when them (plus another 4 days to hang out and do our own thing). Has anyone heard of them or been on a trip with them? We've only been on a couple of overnight camping/mountain biking outings on our own. We've never been on an official mountain biking trip, and aren't sure if we should go with an organized group or try it on our own. Any suggestions?
    Hey:

    I checked out their website but didn't see any names or anything I recognized, but it sounds like you're signed up for the 4 day mountain tour, yes?

    They apparently only operate in the more heavily populated south central (Anchorage/Kenai Peninsula) portion of the state, and I'm not familiar with those trails.

    In general, I think it's a good idea to hook up with SOMEONE who knows where to go when you're on a limited time frame; much of Alaska's backcountry is difficult to navigate on one's own due to the lack of established/marked/maintained trails, trailheads, signs, et cetera. Once you know where to thrash through the brush/bog/swamp to get to the trail it's fine, but you can spend a lot of time wandering around on moose trails that end in swamps, et cetera, in our part of the state. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

    Somebody from Anchorage will no doubt have info for you soon.

    Ken

  3. #3
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    re: Bike tour companies in AK.

    I have seen a couple of bike Tour Companies up here, both local and national. These particular people I think I may have seen there brochure before but have not heard of anyone locally going out with a ride with them.

    A lot of the photos from the rides look familar and I could specifically identify a few of the locations. They are located in Palmer so maybe checking with "AK Bicycle Center" in Wasilla (right next to Palmer) 907-373-2453 might be a decent reference check. Though they aren't a Kona dealer and this place rents Konas, as it seems like most charter outfits up here.

    A lot of the more popular rides are on the Kenai Peninsula (Johnson, Resurrection, Lost Lake, Russian Lakes, etc) but the area east of Palmer also has a good variety of terrain too and is much more 'wild' and not neccesarily maintained trails. So maybe checking which rides are included in the packages would be a good thing to ask.

    Taking a look at their day ride trips though, I found their distances a little off or way off in some cases. Eklutna (which is basically riding on a flat gravel road (no cars allowed, but ATVs are) along a glacier lake) was listed as 16 miles, its actually just over 13 to the farthest point you can bike (26 RT), then a short hike to the glacier. Johnson Pass is 23 OW that last time two times I GPS'd it too, where as they list it as "up to 20 miles". It is definetly a more of a wilderness experience, and bring the soap to wash off the cows parsnip every chance you get.

    Depending on what you are looking for and your ride level, there are also places that you can rent bikes to go out and try some of these trails on your own. On some of the more popular ones, if you go on the weekend and during decent weather you will constantly be running into people. You could also maybe pre-arrange to hook up to ride with a group already going out that day on here or in another forum.

    Hopefully that helped,

    Christopher
    Last edited by crsouser; 01-03-2005 at 07:30 PM. Reason: fix typo

  4. #4
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    re: Trying it on your own

    Quote Originally Posted by mtbgrrrl
    We've never been on an official mountain biking trip, and aren't sure if we should go with an organized group or try it on our own. Any suggestions?
    Oh.. and as far as going with an organized group, unless you are familar with mountain biking in Alaska. Definetly go with a group first, the weather can change quickly, and there are is the standard local riding knowledge (how trails are maintained, when it is good time to ride certain trails based on weather / season, wildlife, plant watch out for {i.e. Cow parsnip} )that is always useful.

    Also not sure when you booked your trip for.. but the trails don't 'really' start to open up until early-mid June up here, so you might want to take that into consideration. But I guess it all comes down to what you are really looking for.

    Christopher

  5. #5

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    Good job! I once rode with that guy...

    Hey mtngrrl,

    Last spring I rode with the Kona bike rep from Bellingham, WA and the tour operator out at Keppler-Bradley trails in Palmer.

    I can't remember the tour operator's name, but I felt he would be a good guide. He has good knowledge of the area's rides and is a skilled rider and bike mechanic. I checked out his website and some of the rides Christopher referred to as the wrong lengths are actually out and back trips that do not go the entire trail distance.

    The prices look fair and its a good idea to go with someone who knows the trails. I think you made a fine choice in booking a trip with them. Refer to this forum if you want to find others to ride with on your additional days in AK, there's always someone willing to show folks around.

    Mike

  6. #6

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    Thanks!

    Thanks for all the info guys. It sounds like we're definitely doing the right thing by going with someone familiar with the area. Sounds a LOT different than the trails we're used to in Texas. We'll be in the Anchorage area June 19-26, and doing the ride the 21st-24th. I'll try to remember to check before we go to see if anyone in the area would be up for a ride on one of the days we'll be doing our own thing.

    Two more questions...any suggestions for hotels/resorts for those days we won't be roughing it? And...what is cow parsnip?

    Happy New Year!
    Angela

  7. #7

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    What else ya gonna do?

    Two more questions...any suggestions for hotels/resorts for those days we won't be roughing it? And...what is cow parsnip?

    Happy New Year!
    Angela[/QUOTE]

    What are your plans for your off days? You'll already have spent a lot of time in the Anchorage and points south area on your guided trip; a drive across the Glenn Highway and down to Valdez might be a nice alternative. There are a number of trails along that route, as well as some good lodging.

    An excellent publication for you to peruse is The Milepost. It's a comprehensive book detailing all the roads in Alaska, reviews on businesses, restaurants, lodging, et cetera, and it's updated every year.

    If you want a slightly less civilized trip, come up to our neighborhood and drive across the Denali Highway (135 mile dirt road between Cantwell and Paxson). Lots of wide open camping/riding/scenic opportunity.

    No matter what you choose, lots of fun will be available.

    Ken

  8. #8
    Wood chips are stupid
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    Cow Parsnip

    Cow Parsnip is a nasty plant that grows about head high along trails.When you rub against it,the sap will cause blisters.The blisters don't go away real fast and will leave a scar if not kept care of.Happy trails.


    Leonard

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