On behalf of Specialized Bicycles, Revelate Designs, Big Agnes, GU Energy and Patagonia, I’m offering the “Lael Rides Alaska” Women’s Scholarship.
Design and ride a 1,000 mile route in Alaska this summer. Expect the ride to take about three weeks. Include an entrance and exit strategy and a budget.
One woman will receive:
— Specialized Diverge bicycle
— Revelate Designs bikepacking bags
— 10,000 Alaska Airlines air miles courtesy of Revelate Designs
— Big Agnes tent, sleeping bag and sleeping pad
—$1000 community funded travel stipend
— Patagonia apparel
— GU Energy Nutrition
— a copy of The Milepost guidebook
Where do you want to go? What do you want to see? How do you want to get there? Be Creative. You can include planes, trains and ferries in your trip plan. You can ride alone. You can ride with others. Do you want to pedal north of the Arctic Circle? Do you want to ride in the rainforests of Southeast Alaska? Do you want to link up as many glaciers as possible? Do you want to spend the 4th of July where the sun never sets?
In the summer of 2017, I set out to ride all of the major roads in Alaska, a total of 4500 miles. I used The Milepost as my guide— any road in The Milepost was a road I had to ride. Over twice the size of Texas, Alaska is a massive land with a very limited road system and less than a million people. Roads reach out like veins to the different corners of the state. I am fourth generation Alaskan. There are so many places I’d only ever heard of and never seen. I wanted to see those places and everything that was in between. I wanted to learn the roads, the terrain, why they exist and who’s out there.
What I found was stunning. The roads are a mix of pavement and high quality gravel. Fifty miles beyond any hub city like Anchorage or Fairbanks or Delta Junction or Tok, there is almost no traffic. The roads are so quiet that at times, they feel like bike paths. I pedaled past muskox, foxes, moose, black and grizzly bears, bald eagles, and at least a dozen glaciers. I rode through the Brooks Range past tree line where the rolling tundra descends to the Arctic Ocean.
I rode fast and far. Covering around 150 miles a day for the first month, I didn’t have lights and I didn’t need them. The sun never went down. Sometimes I rode until three in the morning and slept in until noon. When I got tired, I pulled over on the road to camp. There’s nobody out there— you can sleep almost anywhere. When I met people, I stopped to visit. It wasn’t a race. I wasn’t rushed. It just felt like total freedom and endless days— time enough for everything and I could ride as much as I wanted.
The “Lael Rides Alaska” Women’s Scholarship is my effort to provide the equipment for another woman to go on her own Alaska Roads adventure.
Where do you want to go? What do you want to see? How do you want to get there?
Email applications to firstname.lastname@example.org by March 17, 2018. The recipient of the scholarship will be announced on March 26, 2018.