Category Archives: Uncategorized

Top 11 finalists for the 2021 “Lael Rides Alaska” Femme-Trans-Women’s Scholarship

Here are the Top 11 Finalists for the 2021 “Lael Rides Alaska” Femme-Trans-Women’s Scholarship:

Olivia Juarez
Angel Chen & Wen Zeng
Shadow Auri
Dorothy O’Donnell
Zoraya Hightower
Sierra Flynn
Kelly Ann Stancel
Vanessa & Meredith
Darlene Usi
Tara Mills
Bunny & Kika

Profiles for the top 11 will be shared on The Radavist over the next three days. Read about Dorothy, Bunny & Kika, Zoraya and Tara here. Read about Angel & Wen, Darlene, Kelly, and Meredith & Vanessa here. Read about Olivia, Shadow, Sierra and Ana Jager (the honorable mention) here.

This year, we had 126 applicants that dreamt of riding 1,000 miles in Alaska. It was encouraging to read so many stories of perseverance, hope and joy and so hard to make selections. A huge thanks to everyone that put themselves out there and applied! A huge thanks to Natsuko Hirose, Cari Carmean, Kailey Kornhauser and Abigale Wilson for reading applications and helping me decide. A huge thank you to the sponsors for believing in this project and equipping these adventures!

We have the capacity to give out two full scholarships this year. The winners will receive either a complete Specialized Diverge with Easton carbon wheels or an adventure bike built up by SRAM, Revelate Designs bikepacking bags, Big Agnes camping equipment, PEARL iZUMi apparel, a premium subscription to Komoot, a Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM GPS, 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, and the Radavist will also kick in a $500 travel stipend for one of the finalists.

I’m really excited for these riders to get set up for their Alaska adventure this summer!

“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 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:
Trains: Alaska Railroad:

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

Ruta Chingaza: Bikepacking for Conservation

Here’s a video by Rugile Kaladyte about our route building project in Colombia with Conservation International and and a link to the official Ruta Chingaza route guide.

In January 2020, in collaboration with Conservation International and we traveled to Colombia to establish a week-long bikepacking route out of Bogota to highlight the paramos, a high elevation cloud forest that captures moisture out of the air and naturally filters it to provide drinking water for Bogota, a city of 8 million.

Anchorage GRIT (Girls Riding Into Tomorrow)

Here is a video about Anchorage GRIT by Rugile Kaladyte and an article more information with considerations about starting a GRIT program. We’d love to see more opportunities like this spring up around the world.

In 2017, I began a girls cycling mentorship program in my hometown, Anchorage, Alaska. Over six weeks, we build up to a 60 mile, 3 day adventure ride from their school in East Anchorage to the Serenity Falls Forest Service cabin at the end of Eklutna Lake. We meet 2-3 times a week to ride and build skills (first aid, fixing a flat, packing, bag-making, route finding, mountain biking…) for the final camp out. All of the mentors and teachers are women. We work with 12-13 year old girls and have run the program for three seasons. Girls from previous years can come back as student mentors. It’s encouraging to see them gain confidence, take on a huge challenge and have fun.

I Just Want To Ride — Film Available Online

“I Just Want To Ride” is live on PEARL iZUMi’s YouTube channel. The film is 38 minutes chronicling my 2019 ride on the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route. Film by Rugile Kaladyte. Music by James Wilcox. Here’s an interview with Rue about the film. A huge thanks to PEARL iZUMi, Revelate Designs, Wahoo and Ergon for funding this project and believing in us. We’re thrilled to get this story out!

I Just Want To Ride Film Screenings

2019TourDivideFilmPoster 03 small UPDATE

Shot by Rugile Kaladyte and Jay Ritchey, edited by Rugile with original music by James Wilcox, “I Just Want to Ride” is the story of Lael Wilcox racing the 2019 Tour Divide, a 2,750 mile self-supported mountain bike race from Canada to Mexico through The Rockies. Having set the women’s record in 2015, she’s back to attempt to win the overall race. An all-star race field, an unprecedented summer solstice snowstorm and online noise fuel her race. Ultimately, Lael just wants to ride.

October 15th — Anchorage, Alaska (The Bicycle Shop at Dimond, 7 PM)
October 17th — Louisville, Colorado (PEARL iZUMi HQ, 6:30 PM)
October 21st — Leadville, Colorado (Leadvelo Bicicasa, 6-8 PM)
October 23rd — Salida, Colorado (A Church, 7 PM)
October 24th — Wheat Ridge, Colorado (Wheat Ridge Cyclery, 6:15PM)– bikepacking talk (not screening)
October 25th — Santa Fe, New Mexico (Sincere Cycles, 7PM)
November 5th — Atlanta, Georgia (Second Self Beer Company, 6-9PM)
November 8th — Patagonia, Arizona (Tin Shed Theatre, 3 PM) as part of The Spirit World 100
November 15th — Tucson, Arizona (Campfire Cycling HQ, 6 PM)

We have 3 winners! Kailey Kornhauser, Brooke Larsen and Alana Parent receive the Lael Rides Alaska Women’s Scholarship

20615962_10155536368779493_3310235719697755086_o (1)
Brooke Larsen & Kailey Kornhauser

Kailey and Brooke are committed to cycling through Alaska to learn more about climate change, land rights and environmental injustice by listening to stories and experiencing the land under their own power. After their trip, they will produce a website to share these stories through writing, videos and photos. They have turned the Lael Rides Alaska Women’s Scholarship from a bike trip into vehicle to promote awareness and change. For me it appears this project is multifaceted– it’s about connecting with people and the land; it’s about building confidence and being role models to other women on bikes; it’s about supporting each other and working together; it’s about learning and teaching and sharing the story of the Alaska and the way it is changing; it’s about getting people to care because they can relate. If this is what Kailey and Brooke are putting together when they’re 25 years old, I can hardly imagine where the next ten years will take them.

They’re initial Alaska ride plan is simple. From mid-July to mid-August, they will pedal from Seward to Deadhorse, interview people and camp along the way. They would also like to visit Homer, Valdez and if possible, some villages on the North Slope. Please be in touch with them if you would like to speak with them about climate change or land rights or if you know someone they should be in touch with along this route, especially if you would like to help them with airplane travel to remote locations.

A private donor, DJ Brooks, has generously offered to cover the $1000 stipend. The trip will definitely require more funding. Please be in touch with Brooke and Kailey if you would like to help fund their project.

If nothing else, please read some of Brooke’s writing. It is beautiful.

Contact Brooke and Kailey via email:

Thanks to the generosity of our sponsors, as the recipients of the Lael Rides Alaska Women’s Scholarship, Kailey and Brooke will receive a Specialized Diverge, Revelate Designs Bikepacking luggage, 10,000 Alaska Airlines miles courtesy of Revelate Designs, a Big Agnes tent, sleeping bag and sleeping pad, Patagonia apparel, GU Energy nutrition, a copy of The Milepost, a subscription to Komoot, and $1000 travel stipend courtesy of DJ Brooks.

Read Kailey and Brooke’s full application here:
?Lael Rides Alaska? Women’s Scholarship application

Alana Rose Parent

When I told my mom about Alana’s application and that all she asked for was $400 to pay for her Dad’s gas money , she said, “That girl is going to do this trip! We will find the money to help her get out there.” Then, I told Kellie Nelson from Big Agnes and she said, “Let me see what I can do.” And she came up with a tent, sleeping bag and sleeping pad. Then I told Rita Jett that Alana has a Specialized Jynx that she earned during last year’s Anchorage GRIT program. Rita said, “Let me see if I can find her a better bike.” Rita is giving her a Specialized AWOL– a well built and reliable touring bike.

Alana, you’re doing this trip! Congratulations! I’ll do everything I can to help you make it happen.  I am so proud of you.

Alana plans to begin her ride in Cantwell, AK at the end of May when school lets out. From there, she will ride to Coldfoot and then back to Anchorage. For safety, either her Dad or her brother will drive near her throughout the trip.

Alana participated in the 2017 Anchorage GRIT program. She will come back this year as a student mentor. Last year, she displayed motivation and leadership and it was amazing to see her gain confidence and skills. This girl will go far.

My mom is donating $100 to Alana’s ride and Odia Wood-Krueger from Advocate Cycles has offered to help fund the trip. If you would like to contribute money to make Alana’s ride happen, please write me at This is our community, let’s get this girl out on her ride!

Read Alana’s full scholarship application

For me, the most inspiring part of the Lael Rides Alaska Women’s Scholarship was how many women not only wanted to ride a 1,000 mile adventure in Alaska, but also fully believed they were capable of accomplishing this goal, created a route, made a budget and made a plan. It was an incredible privilege to read their stories, perspectives and dreams. They have all created the framework to make this adventure happen– beyond that, all it takes is gear, funding and time. These women have the skills, confidence and creativity to dream up adventure.

Thank you to all of the applicants for your hard work and honesty. Thank you to Rita Jett, Cait Rodriguez, Kellie Nelson and Holly Hill for being on the selection committee. Thank you to Specialized, Revelate Designs, Big Agnes and DJ Brooks for supplying the equipment and funding.

When I spoke with the finalists this past week, I asked them, “If you didn’t get this scholarship, would you still make your trip happen?” If you really want to ride in Alaska, you will find a way. Know that I will help you as much as I can.

“What if there were 50 women adventure riding in Alaska this summer?”
–Cait Rodriguez

10 Finalists for the Lael Rides Alaska Women’s Scholarship

There were 158 applications for the Lael Rides Alaska Women’s Scholarship. Rita Jett, Cait Rodriguez, Holly Hill, Kellie Nelson and I read all of the applications. We had a conference call last Monday and came up with a list of seven finalists together. This week, I called each of the finalists to get to know them better. I’ve included a couple more applications in this post because I want to share their stories and give some insight into this process. Reading and re-reading this applications, I’m still having a hard time making a final decision. Here are some of the finalists, introducing themselves in their own words. I will announce the recipient of the scholarship tomorrow and she will come ride her 1,000 mile adventure route in Alaska this summer.
Jackie DiazJackie Diaz
Hometown: Toronto/ Mexico City
Age: 25
“It would be a privilege to continue to demonstrate to the girls around me, that biking is an empowering tool. Being a strong woman is beautiful, and that anyone can truly hop on a bike and allow their legs to take them places. My one and only bike trip from Canada to Mexico City genuinely changed my life. This is a message I love spreading around!

My first encounter with hostility was in two different bike shops in Victoria, BC. The men working in these shops laughed at me when I mentioned I wanted to bike the Pacific Coast. One man rolled his eyes and said I was too ambitious. How can a girl with no previous bike experience think she can just go alone? My tree planting friends whom encouraged my bike tour, did not foresee that I would struggle this much to get my trip started.

After looking into more bike shops in Victoria, I found acceptance in a bike co-op called Recyclistas. I knew this was the right place, because of the excited reaction I received from telling the shop owners I was going to go all the way to Mexico City! When I shyly mentioned using buckets as panniers, they cheered me on with a loud “Fuck ya bucket panniers rule!”. They never once thought that being a girl was a disadvantage. I love that shop.

A comment that I often received was “A girl? Alone? To Mexico?” It was incredible that despite telling these people that I was originally from Mexico, they still felt the need to tell me that they knew more about the place than me. Often asking if my dad was okay with it, and if my mother gave me permission.

I plan on riding in Alaska in early July, right after my tree planting work contract finishes. The trip will take between 8-10 weeks.

Currently I am riding solo. But I have two tree planting girlfriends that are prepared to join me!

ALSO, I would be so happy if Grande (Lael’s friend) would ride with us for as long as she can. I began following her on Instagram; I see her as a role model. Prior to her, I had no other Hispanic women to look up to in the cycling community. Representation matters.”
20800122_1046161592153601_414303257323886231_nMolly Harrison
Hometown: Westland, MI
Age: 28
“Biking is not something that has ever come easy to me. As a kid, I was one of the last on the block to take my training wheels off, and I was shrouded in embarrassment about it. The fear of falling gripped me to the point that I didn’t even want to try. And although it finally happened for me, it has never been second nature.

I grew up a Midwestern girl in the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan, with zero experience in the outdoors. I had dreams of living in downtown Detroit and becoming an English teacher, which is what I attended Michigan State University for; I received a degree in English education, and specialized in urban education, hoping to make a big change in the lives of students through books. After a summer spent in the mountains of Colorado working as an Americorps member in environmental conservation, I knew I no longer belonged in the heart of a city. I saw that there was a way to both teach and learn in the outdoors, and my sense of “classroom” began to shift.

From being a conservation corps leader, to leading young children on outdoor, educational adventures, I found my place on the Colorado Plateau. It was here that I learned to climb, canyoneer, ski, mountain bike, and solo backpack. One of the most prominent and defining experiences I have had is hiking the Colorado Trail solo with my dog Sprocket in the summer of 2016. I think the Colorado Trail is a great precursor for planning bigger solo trips, such as the proposed bike scholarship trip, and this 500 mile stretch of trail gave me more confidence and awareness of self than anything I had ever done before. It allowed me to flex my decision-making skills, battle loneliness, and learn to enjoy being by myself.

I now work for a company in Mancos, CO called Alpacka Raft. We handmake packrafts here at our shop, and I run the customer service side of the company. The company is run almost entirely by strong, willful women, and that has been a huge change from most of my experience working in the outdoor industry. But working with Alpacka has also shown me there is still a huge disparity in the number of women who use bikes and boats for their own trips in relation to men, and it has spurred me to become more of a voice for inclusion. I want to see more women planning and executing big trips, and if I could be even just a little part of that through this scholarship, I would feel honored to lend my experiences to others.”

Approximately 1149 miles of travel by bike and packraft:
Fly into Fairbanks, AK
Packraft with bike to Nenana via Chena River (approx. 55 miles of paddling). Resupply
Bike south to Cantwell via Hwy. 3 (approx. 94 miles riding) Resupply
Turn east onto Denali Hwy 8 and ride to Paxson (approx. 134 miles riding) No resupply until Copper Valley IGA
Turn south onto Hwy 4 to McCarthy (approx. 189 miles riding) Resupply
Return from McCarthy north and continue on Hwy 1 to Tok (approx. 257 miles riding) Resupply
Tok to Hwy 5 to Eagle/ Eagle (approx. 165 miles riding) Resupply
Packraft with bike from Eagle to Circle via Yukon River (100 miles of paddling) Resupply drop at Post Office
Bike Hwy 6 from Circle to Fairbanks- with a stop at Circle Hot Springs! (approx. 155 miles)
Return flight from Fairbanks, AK
Judi Lehmann
Hometown: Sitka, AK
Age: 76 (!)
“As an experienced ultra-marathon cyclist, now living in an island town with only 50 miles of road, I feel the need to continue distance riding, experience more riding in Alaska and share my adventures with others. I am also a board member of the Sitka Conservation Society and would like learn more about the areas that are being environmentally threatened.

Although I am now older and do not ride the long distance days, I still have the skill and endurance to do a 75 mile day. Most recently, last May, I did a 80KM. mountain bike race in Bhutan. Although I was by far the oldest and came in dead last, I completed it.

I can change tires efficiently and do most minor bike repairs. I have ridden the Iditasport 100 and do ride fat tire or studded tire bikes in the winter. I own several bikes and would donate scholarship bicycle to GRIT or some other young woman after ride.”
4.jpgConcetta Leialoha Sousa-Sommo (just call me Lei)
Hometown: Cuba, MO / Anchorage, AK
Age: 28
“I was biking more than I ever had, and yet my skill seemed to plateau. My moral was low – I felt angry when I rode rather than filled with sunshine. I was so intimate with the feelings I held dear while cycling that the change was one of the first signs that something was amiss.

After a series of Dr. appointments, scans, surgeries, pokes and prods, I was diagnosed with classic nodular Stage II Bulky Unfavorable Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Cancer. Fuck.

What followed was the most challenging and substantial year of my life. 2017 was a year of fighting to survive, while redefining life itself after my world had been turned upside down. Life was a daze. Meetings with doctors and nurses explaining what was happening, and what was to come. My left lung was being impeded by tumor 4” in diameter over my heart and lung. There was fluid around my heart. Tumors all along the lymph node bands in my neck, chest, and armpits. Chemotherapy would take my hair, my eyelashes, my immune system, my ability to have children.

For a time I could only fantasize about hopping on my bike. When the dizzy stopped being a constant, I put my helmet back on and ventured out into our great world to escape reality on bike. It may have only been a spin around the block or to the creek just across the way but to me it was just as satisfying as a century.

I stayed in Sacramento to await radiation therapy at one of the country’s top comprehensive cancer facilities, which just so happened to be 5 miles from my long-lost half sister’s house, easily navigated by greenway. What a better way to power through daily run-ins with radiation than building a relationship with a sibling I had only met a handful of times over my entire life and pounding out 10 miles of commuting via the American River Pathway?

The women’s waiting room at the cancer center became a daily hang. Thinking of the raw emotion clouds that sometimes hung in the room as ladies came and went from diagnosis or treatment still makes tears well. I never imagined a women’s only waiting room would hold so much meaning, or the power that could be drawn from women comforting women. Beautiful stuff.
Sometimes I felt guilty walking in with my helmet, aglow with gaining strength and the sun. That feeling was all on me though because the ladies, who ranged in age from peer to late 80’s, let me know that I was an inspiration. Insane but inspiring. I shrugged them off saying the route had no elevation gain, but that never quenched their consternation.
August 12, 2017 is a day that will be with my always. It was the day I found out I was officially cancer free, and the best day of biking I’ve ever had.

All my first pivotal moments as a cyclist took place in Alaska.

A Prince of Wales (POW) adventure has been on my bikepacking radar for many years now. I’ve carried this dream with me since my first arrival in Alaska when I fell in love with the coastal fjord communities, when I walked the beaches of Lake Superior and when I fantasized about lushes coastal rainforests while bikepacking Eastern Oregon’s high desert. Dozens of hours have been spent analyzing the island from Google Earth, street view, satellite, USGS quadrangles, USFS motor vehicle use maps and magazines.
Over the last year, however, my vision of bikepacking POW has been evolving. As I watch routes like the Baja Divide and Oregon Timber Trail explode onto the cycling scene and hear rumors of efforts such as turning the Alaskan Pipeline maintenance corridor into the Trans-Alaska Trail, I’m struck by a much more ambitious collective question:

What if you could cycle the entire west ‘coast’ of North America on nothing but mostly singletrack and rugged USFS gravel roads?”
Image 4-3-18 at 7.14 PM (2)
Brooke Larsen & Kailey Kornhauser
Hometown: Salt Lake City, Utah
Age: Both 25
“As you will notice, there are two of us applying for this application. You might ask, why are two people applying for a single scholarship? First, we want to make it clear that while two of us are proposing this ride, we do not expect two scholarships! Between the two of us and one scholarship, we have enough gear and supplies to support a collaborative trip. We are proposing a big project and ride that we believe requires two women to carry out. To summarize, we are applying together for the following reasons:

1. The only thing cooler than one woman riding across Alaska by herself is two best friends riding across Alaska together!

2. This past summer Brooke rode her bike 1,500 miles around the Colorado Plateau collecting stories from locals about the impacts of climate change and environmental injustices on their lives. Kailey came for 500 miles, and it was definitely the most fun 500 miles.

3. We are proposing a ride that combines bike packing and story-listening. On Brooke’s last bike tour, she interviewed 28 people. On our ride through Alaska, we hope to listen to around 20 stories about climate change, land rights, and environmental injustice in Alaska and share the stories through writing, videos, and photos to inspire people to take action, both through riding their bike and acting for climate justice. The work required to reach out to locals and keep up with the logistics of a bike tour is really a two person job.

4. We want to make bike touring/packing seem more accessible! In the past we have recorded videos and written stories in an attempt to shed light on biking as a sport for all types of people. Kailey does this by writing and recording funny videos about the experience of being fat while riding fatish bikes. We both hope to continue this type of work on every tour we take.”

IMG-2403Alana Rose Parent
Hometown: Anchorage
Age: 14 years old
“I have seven brothers (I’m the only girl). I share a room with two of my brothers. I have good grades in school and I like to help in my community. I enjoy biking and dancing very much.

I really enjoy biking outside of town. I’ve done some bike packing but not a bunch so it would be good to learn more and get better at it. Also it would help me with my biking skills and I’m always up for an adventure. I get to explore new places in the state I have grown up in for pretty much my whole life. The trip sounds like it would be lots of hard work and fun to. It will help me grow as a biker and a human being.

I really have not explored passed Willow that much. I went to Fairbanks once when I was younger but that was it. I would love to explore more of Alaska and biking opens up your eyes to more. I say this because you are going slower so you can see and hear more around you.

I will be starting in Cantwell Alaska and then I will bike to Coldfoot. From Coldfoot I will bike to Anchorage. Anchorage will be the end of my trip. That will get my About 1,029 miles.

For transportation I am only asking for $400 that will pay for gas for my ride to Cantwell (which my father will give me a ride). The rest of the money will go for his gas on the trip.”
Marisa Muro
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Age: 44
“My family emigrated from Mexico and landed in Chicago. My parents both worked multiple jobs so my siblings and I spent a lot of time on our own. This definitely contributed to my resourcefulness and fierce independence. Eventually I ended up in foster care. I was in my early teens when this happened so it was a pretty turbulent time. It would be an understatement to say that I come from humble beginnings. I am also deaf and my deafness was due to the severe abuse I suffered as kid. I would not change a thing. All of this has allowed me to be a more compassionate and humble human. It has given me the kind of grit needed to pursue solo cross country bike trips. I rode the Trans American Bike Race last year. I did not finish because I ran our of funds in Montana, but I hope to return better prepared for 2020. I just have a lust for life. For me keeping a child-like wonder about everything is what keeps it all in perspective. You have to remain curious and in awe of all that is around us. A couple years ago I was homesteading with a friend. We bought 10 acres of land in Northern Arizona, just west of Flagstaff in the juniper woods area near the Mojave desert. We were in the middle of nowhere and it was great! There was one bumpy 45 minute ride in and out. The nearest town had one gas station and a diner where we had the best breakfast sandwiches and burritos. When we got there was nothing there. We camped for an entire year while we built a tiny 14×14 sqft house by watching Youtube videos. We did everything ourselves as we learned along the way: installing windows, doors, siding. The roof was the most challenging part of our build. The first year we did not have enough power from our tiny generator to operate power tools so we did all the work by hand. It was a slow process, but the end result was amazing. I’m still in awe that I made a house by hand!”
IMG_6859Cami Carrasco
Hometown: Clear Lake Shores, TX
Age: 20
“I can’t imagine why anyone would see this opportunity and not jump on it. My friend sent me the link one day, thinking I might be interested and he wasn’t wrong. 1,000 mile on the roads of Alaska?! Summer plans, canceled. Alaska I’m coming! I see Alaska as the frontier, a land untouched and calling out to be uncovered. Bikepacking across Alaska would be a notch on my belt to remind me of what I am capable of. This scholarship gives me the chance to put my grit to the test, face fears and shake hands with the northernmost parts of America.

I also have two things I need to fulfill this year and this decade. Instead of picking a resolution for the New Year I choose a theme; this year is “fearless”. I chose this theme because I knew I would be stepping into a new season of life and I would need to approach it with unbridled moxie. Taking on Alaska by bike requires a certain level courage, nerve or cojones. Call it what you will but I need some more of it. On top of that, my theme for the coming decade is “low-key badassery”.

This scholarship would cultivate more of that in me. I never want to lose sight of the excitement the world offers day after day. I always want to be pushing myself to try something new and take on new endeavors as I grow older. I can promise you this won’t be the last dream I need to fulfill but it sure will check off one of biggest on my list. It’s my dream to get to Alaska to be challenged, humbled and witness the beauty it has to offer. I will no doubt make it to Alaska someday, but I prefer that “someday” be August 1st, 2018.”
Judith Humbert - Alaska Women's Scholarship
Judith Humbert
Hometown: New Zealand & the United States
Age: 57
“I’m keen to see more active representation of older women of all sizes and backgrounds in long distance cycling touring and outdoor pursuits. It’s much needed! I believe adventure knows no age or limits and cycling is a great way to make new connections and discoveries.

I’m the only woman in my generation in my family. Growing up I seldom saw women in non-traditional roles so after looking for many years I finally decided to go for it and create my own.

I believe strongly in the value of connecting across lines and colors, spaces and places. My professional interests lie in the intersection of nature connection and human relationship, re-membering our true self and reaching out to build community.

This year I’m keen to cycle the length of Alaska from Deadhorse to Homer to create One Minute Stories, an interactive community project utilising storytelling to envision a future of hope.

On the back of the bike I’ll carry a sign saying ‘Tell me a story about hope and kindness’. I’ll ask friends here in New Zealand to help make some messages to get the ball rolling and put them in a handmade crocheted bag. The idea is for a new friends I’ll meet on the journey to take a message for themselves and then take a few moments to write or draw a new one to be passed along to another person farther on down the road, weaving a web of hope in challenging times.”
Image 4-3-18 at 3.31 PM
Malay “Taco” Rexford Khamsyvoravong
Hometown: Oakland, CA
Age: 31
“On my first day working at YBike, a collection of youth bike initiatives of the Presidio YMCA in San Francisco, I saw a colleague’s photo of his bike taped on the wall. The bike was in a patch of sunlight, resting casually against a tree next to a tiny tent. As I struggled to lift my rusty orange Huffy onto a wall hook, I thought, ‘These people must be a special kind of crazy.’

A year earlier, I had bought a bike to beat an unpredictable bus system in Oakland, to get to work on time, and to return home safely at night. In the beginning of bike ownership, I would only bike the first mile and walk the last two to work, terrified of cars. The distances I dared to undertake expanded once I moved further from the center of town. The hills in between my house and frankly, anywhere else, spurred me to use my gears (improperly) and to develop a daily ritual of fixing my dropped chain. While not the most natural rider, I began to enjoy the challenge of navigating traffic and trying to get up hills without my bike falling apart.

At YBike, I found myself surrounded by folks with an incredible wealth of knowledge about a world I had barely known existed. My colleagues were former bike messengers, mountain bike enthusiasts, road warriors, professional mechanics, unicyclists. They were gracious and generous in sharing their stories and expertise with me. They demonstrated levels of patience that I later realized was uncommon in many bike spaces.

When I started teaching, my younger students displayed a sense of wonder and confidence that I hadn’t anticipated. One of my first students I taught to ride blurted out, “I feel like I’m flying! It’s FREEDOM!” On the streets, their easy acceptance of riding in traffic began to shift my mindset: the streets are everyone’s space, and everyone has a right to feel safe and enjoy them.

I wanted to increase opportunities for young folks to engage with bikes from multiple entry points. Banking on the expertise of our multi-talented staff, I shifted our physical education program from being a strictly traffic safety-focused curriculum to include elements of bike polo, mountain biking, and maintenance. I helped usher in a cycle track racing program for high schoolers, led by a local female professional cyclist with an inspiring vision of expanding the sport.

In the summer of 2015, I started a girls bike program and camp “…with the purpose of getting more girls riding and exploring the great world of bikes.” Our girls program embraces being loud or quiet, silly or serious, and daring in the ways they individually choose to define it. We engage with bikes from as many angles as we can think of- bikes as our loyal steeds on scavenger hunts, bike parties, mountain biking, crafts, mechanics, and the list goes on. I view biking as a radical tool for engagement, and I want to stoke the flames of excitement from wherever folks are at.”

Lael Rides Alaska: to Cantwell

Lael's Camera Photos Cantwell 04

We wake up late and drink coffee and talk and laugh and I get a late start leaving the A-Frame. I definitely want to ride 150 miles to Cantwell today.

Nick gets in the car with Christina and her mom to drive back to Anchorage.

I pedal 40 miles to the Talkeetna Junction, stopping at Sheep Creek Lodge for chocolate milk. There’s a weird laundromat and they won’t fill up your water bottles, so I buy a gallon and leave half of it just outside the door.

Talkeetna Junction has a gas station and cell phone service. I stop to call Rue because she’s planning on driving up to meet me in Cantwell. I talk to Nick too and he doesn’t want Rue to come. I try to call the 1800 National Park number to find out when we can put our bikes on the bus to drive into the park. The line just keeps ringing and ringing so I call the front desk at McKinley Creekside Cabins. I worked there for two summers a decade ago. I ask the front desk if she knows anything about the bus schedule. Then I ask her to ask Holly and Tracy if it’s okay if I camp there for the night. Then I tell her I’ll call her back for info on the bus. I send Tessa Hulls a Facebook message because I saw that she’s visiting friends in Kantishna and I’ve never gotten to meet her and I’d really like to. Then I realize that my tires have lost a lot of air and I try to pump them up with my hand pump, but the hand pump won’t let air out. Then an older lady walking by asks me where I’m going and I tell her and she has a floor pump and she’s been on bike trips and we pump my tires up together.

I call Nick again because my pump doesn’t work and Rue can bring me one. He just doesn’t like it. I don’t want to ruin everything. The two of them plan to meet up to talk about it.

I call Creekside again. Holly has relayed a message that I can come sleep in the treehouse. She’ll be out of town, but the door is unlocked and I’m welcome anytime. Many buses run into the park everyday. We’ll show up at the visitor center and figure it out.

Three hours later, I get back on my bike. It’s well past noon and I have 113 miles to get to Cantwell.

I make a quick stop 16 miles down the road at the market in Trapper Creek to pick up a phone charger. I’m pretty surprised they have one. I left my phone charger, cache battery and camera chord in the A-Frame in Willow. It’s typical. I lose everything.

Then it’s 97 miles and nearly 4,000 feet of climbing with no services to Cantwell. I ride into a headwind, but it’s so beautiful that I don’t even care. I’m out there for hours. I’m listening to music and my mind is somewhere in the mountains and Rue is on her way. She took the redeye from Chicago, didn’t sleep at all, met with Nick in the afternoon and got in the car to drive four hours north to come find me. I drink a little whiskey on the way and stop at the Chevron in Cantwell. My brain is pretty wind blown. I drink a coke and eat a bag of popcorn and buy $60 worth of gas station food. It’s the best stocked market for the next hundred miles. I post photos on Instagram and talk with the cashier.

Do you know Bugbee?

Yeah! He’s my good friend.

I used to live in Bugbee’s camping trailer next to his cabin above the Nenana River.

No way!

We try to call Mike Bugbee and it goes to voicemail, so I leave him a message:

Bugbee, it’s me, Fireweed. I’m here at the Chevron with your friend Steve. I’m riding my bike into Denali tomorrow. I hope you’re having a great summer. Wish you were here!

I call Rue again. She’s still half an hour out, so I start making the 13 mile climb to Creekside. The sun is casting a glow and it’s close to 10PM. It’s an absolutely beautiful corridor.

Rue catches me stopped taking a photo of the powerline bisecting the mountains.

What are you taking a photo of?


I’m sheepish. I’m really just taking a picture because I’m feeling really good.

We’re both quiet and we’re both smiling and we head for Panorama Pizza. Rue has been listening to Dancing in the Dark on repeat for the entire drive up. She hasn’t really slept in two days.

Panorama is a pizza bar that stays open until five in the morning. We order slices and ciders and station ourselves on the patio next to the cornhole boards. It is bright as day. It’s Buffalo Chicken pizza and it’s greasy and I don’t care cause I’m feeling giddy. We eat half of it and head out to take the bridge over Carlo Creek to find the treehouse.

Follow the creek past the property, past employee housing and the moose racks and the abandoned bus. Climb the little ladder and there you are. We open the door and it’s dark in there, but it’s still light outside, so we pull the mattress out of the treehouse and onto the porch and lay down to sleep.

Tomorrow we’ll go to the entrance of Denali National Park. We’ll find a bus to take us down the 90 mile dirt road to Kantishna and ride our bikes back out. Vehicular traffic is prohibited on the park road. Buses or feet or bikes are the only way to get in and out.

I’ve ridden this road before and I’m riding it again because I’m riding all of the roads in Alaska this summer. Two hundred fifty-five miles done, four thousand three hundred to go.

Lael's Camera Photos Cantwell 02

Lael's Camera Photos Cantwell 06