“Lael Rides Alaska” 2021 Femme-Trans-Women’s Scholarship

Video by Rugile Kaladyte about our project to ride all of the major roads in Alaska and share the story.

I’m motivated by ideas, by dreams and how fast they can become reality. That’s a big part of why I’m hosting this scholarship for the second time.

Design a 1,000 mile bike adventure in Alaska, make a route, budget and plan. Complete the ride between May and September 2021, expect to take about four weeks. Go solo or bring others. Share your story and think about how you can encourage others.

Let’s see what’s possible.

I’m ready for a good story of perseverance and fun. We are all unique and I hope we have the freedom to be ourselves. The more positive stories we share, the better the world will be. You don’t have to win. You just have to do your best.

The first “Lael Rides Alaska” Women’s Scholarship had 180 applicants ranging from 14-76 years old from all over the world. The mere fact that this many women want to make time for and take on this challenge is inspiring. Dozens of women that didn’t receive the scholarship still made their trips happen. I’m deeply encouraged by their unique perspectives and determination.

“Lael Rides Alaska” 2021 Femme-Trans- Women’s Scholarship Application:

In the summer of 2017, Lael Wilcox rode all of the major roads in Alaska, totaling 4,500 miles on mixed pavement and gravel. Lael is fourth generation Alaskan. This is where she began endurance riding and her goal to get to know her home state.

In 2020, Lael went back to Alaska with her girlfriend Rue, a photojournalist, to ride together and document her project of riding all of the roads.

This scholarship is intended to enable another woman to design and ride her own 1,000 mile Alaskan adventure in the summer of 2021. This scholarship is open to a woman (including femme, trans and non-binary) of any age with any level of bicycle touring experience. We are looking for positive energy and a strong desire to experience the remote roads of Alaska and have some fun.

The recipient of the scholarship will receive a Specialized Diverge bicycle, Revelate Designs bikepacking bags, PEARL iZUMi apparel, a premium subscription to Komoot, Easton wheels, a Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM GPS, Big Agnes camping equipment, a $300 gift card for Competitive Cyclist, Rene Herse tires, an Ergon saddle, a year subscription to Bicycle Quarterly, Trail Butter, Hydro Flask hydration, and a $1,500 travel stipend provided by Easton.

*** UPDATE: I’m thrilled to announce that there will be 2 full scholarships available this year. As this opportunity is just coming together, we are extending the application deadline to February 20, 2021. An individual named Bill DeLoache wrote to me in late January asking what it would take to double the scholarship. He offered to cover a second $1,500 travel stipend. Beyond that, we need a bike and equipment. I’m still working on locking down a second frame that will be built up by SRAM.

***UPDATE: A main goal for the scholarship is to encourage women to dream big and make their adventures happen. For those that feel restricted by travel constraints and are concerned they won’t be able to travel to Alaska this summer, please make two potential 1,000 mile routes: one in Alaska and one starting from home.

Prepare a digital application based upon the questions on the following page and send to Lael Wilcox and the selection team at laelridesalaska@gmail.com no later than February 20, 2021. Provide your responses as the text of an email. The recipient of the scholarship will be announced April 5, 2021.

The scholarship selection team includes Lael Wilcox, previous scholarship recipients Kailey Kornhauser and Brooke Larsen, Abigale Wilson from PEARL iZUMi, Cari Carmean from The Radavist, and Natsuko Hirose from Bicycle Quarterly.

Website or Instagram:

Why are you interested in this scholarship?

Design a 1,000 mile route in Alaska and share this route with us. Include an entrance and exit strategy. Expect the ride to take around 4 weeks sometime between May and September 2021. You can use Google maps or Komoot; you can draw a map; you can write out directions. You can include flights, ferries and trains.

Flights: Alaska Airlines flies to several towns with significant roads in remote Alaska including Fairbanks, Kodiak, Cordova, Nome, Ketchikan, Juneau and Deadhorse
Ferries: The Alaska Marine Highway System: http://www.dot.state.ak.us/amhs/
Trains: Alaska Railroad: http://www.alaskatrain.com

Write out a budget of what this trip would cost for transportation. A $1,500 travel stipend provided by Easton will be awarded to the recipient of the scholarship. If your budget exceeds this amount and makes the trip inaccessible to you, tell us why. We want to help you make this trip happen.

When do you plan to ride in Alaska? How long will the trip take?

Do you plan to ride with someone or solo?

What is your food and camping strategy?

Write us a story. Tell us about yourself, including school, work and life experiences that you think relate to this application. One page limit.

Why travel by bike?

What excites you the most about riding in Alaska?

Have you ever been to Alaska?

Have you ever bike toured before?

How do you want to share your story of riding in Alaska? I’ve found that storytelling is a very effective way to inspire others to get outside and take on their own challenges— very exciting to see! Use this response as a chance to stand out. At a minimum, we would love for you to share your trip on Instagram and write a blog post for PEARL iZUMi.

What else do we need to know or would you like to share?

Please attach a digital photo that you would be willing to share if selected for this scholarship.

Lael’s favorite roads in Alaska include:
The Dalton Highway north of Coldfoot
The three roads leading out of Nome
The Taylor Highway to Eagle
The Willow Fishook Road over Hatcher Pass
The Denali Park Road
The road to McCarthy

25 thoughts on ““Lael Rides Alaska” 2021 Femme-Trans-Women’s Scholarship

  1. Tad Campbell says:

    Thank yoi) Loved the Columbian video as well.!!

  2. […] Find all the details and how to apply at LaelWilcox.com. […]

  3. Alberto Costanzo Firenze Italy says:

    Fantastic idea. Free speak-free love-free ride- free camping- free life……….>free minds !!

  4. […] Lael Rides Alaska 2021 Femme-Trans-Women’s Scholarship will enable another woman (including femme, trans-, and non-binary) to design and ride their own […]

  5. Well, here goes. Planning this trip is going to be an amazing activity for me to do during these uncertain times. I’m based in the UK so this trip is probably just a pipe dream, but going to plan it regardless! Thank you Lael for being such an inspiration. Good luck everyone 🙂

    • laelwilcox says:


      Thanks for being a part of this. I feel you– so much disappointment this year. A big part of what keeps me motivated is to have something to look forward to. The dreams might just be on a longer timeline for now. That’s hard for me to accept, but at least we still have them. Looking forward to reading your application!


  6. […] Discover all the main points and discover ways to apply over at LaelWilcox.com. […]

  7. Alba Xandri says:

    I am living in the Pyrenees, far away from Alaska but I feel optimistic and I am writing my application. It is going to be FUN! Thanks to let me dream again 😉

  8. Taylor MacVittie says:

    When planning my route, is it okay if the bike route passes through the Yukon and then back into Alaska or does it need to stick entirely in Alaska for the length of the trip? Would love to include Juneau in the plan 🙂


    • laelwilcox says:

      sure! My only hesitation with including a stretch through Canada is that the Canadian border has been closed for nearly a year and I’m not sure when it’ll open. It might be good to have a couple of options. I’m looking forward to reading your application!

  9. Magda Blakeson says:

    Lael- Thank you so much for providing this opportunity! It has been so much fun designing a route and daydreaming about biking this summer. Thank you for the inspiration 🙂

  10. Maureen Burns says:

    Here it is, 3 days before the deadline, and I’m justing seeing this incredible adventure for the first time…
    Unfortunately, I don’t have enough time to map a route, locate campgrounds, ferries, transportation… I should, right? Because I just retired with ‘no direction’ and I’m feeling lost…
    Maybe next year it’ll be my time…
    Maureen Burns

  11. Maharanie says:

    This is exciting and scary at the same time but here I go🚴🏻‍♀️

  12. Maggie says:

    Stoked to see there is an option to make a route from home, outside of AK. I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks getting up there would be difficult in times of COVID. Thanks for making this accessible Lael!! Cheers to everyone.

  13. Adélaïde says:

    Hello Lael ! We are two very old friends submitting an application. Can we do a join application or do we need to make two separate ones ? Many many thanks ! This is so exciting.

  14. […] discovered Kailey on the internet, while Kailey was riding across Alaska for Lael Wilcox’s Alaska Scholarship project. The two were already fan girls of each other and decided to work together on a workshop at […]

  15. Jonathan Page says:

    Hi Lael,
    I’m the guy in Sydney Australia who turned 70 (twice your age but still riding ++)!
    Thanks for the Swiss card and Alaskan newspaper clipping – both on display for a while then into secure safe keeping (as such precious items are much in demand down here amongst your many fans!). I have ridden the Alaskan loop up through Fairbanks, maybe 15 years ago.
    Are you interested in any sponsorship for your next ““Lael Rides Alaska” 2021 Femme-Trans-Women’s Scholarship”?
    Maybe $1,000?
    Think about it.
    Whatever you’re doing enjoy but keep safe.

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