Celebrating Bike Travel Weekend with Alaska’s Tour To Tok
This Alaska bike overnight, an annual event called the Tour To Tok, starts in Delta Junction, Alaska and follows the Alaska Highway to Tok, Alaska, with camping at the halfway point.
When: We did this ride June 4–5, 2016, the same day as Adventure Cycling’s first-ever Bike Travel Weekend, and we’ll be doing it again on June 3–4, 2017. Join us for the Tour To Tok and celebrate the second annual Bike Travel Weekend with us.
Bicycle Adventurers: Lindsay Pinkelman and all of her friends at the Tour To Tok.
Accommodations: Overnight campout in a pullout on the Alaska Highway
Distance: 108 miles on the Alaska Highway. 50 on Saturday and 58 on Sunday.
Bonus tips for this adventure:
- Beautiful Alaska scenery, three bridge crossings, wildlife, and friendly riders.
- This bike overnight is an annual event called the Tour To Tok, and again this year, the ride falls on Adventure Cycling’s Bike Travel Weekend, the first weekend in June. If you’re in Alaska, ride with us. If you’re not in Alaska, find a Bike Travel Weekend event or create and register your own event. You could win prizes, but more importantly, you’ll help spread bike travel across the land.
I began this annual overnight adventure in 2011. I had just purchased my Fuji cyclocross bike and wanted to ride it to Tok. I asked three other friends if they would like to go and sure enough this inaugural crew dubbed the ride, Tour To Tok.
We all met up at the Buffalo Center Drive-In in Delta Junction, Alaska. As we stood there in our riding costumes, we heard the sounds of honks as drivers caught peeks at the spectacle developing amongst cyclists, campers, and people.
Once we set out on the open road, the excitement and giggles from the riders could be heard over the speakers pumping tunes from my bike. To see all the riders in bright orange t-shirts on the open road is one of my favorite sights. We continued down the highway and eventually pulled over at a rest stop along the Gerstle River. We ate lunch, checked tires, walked out some soreness, and relished how far we had already traveled. After a bit of hydration, we carried on and entered some hilly, winding, beautiful Alaska scenery. As I approached the 49th mile, I saw a rather intense hill, but I knew our camp was at the top, so I dug in, used my gears, looked down, and before I knew it, I was enjoying a nice cold brew the road crew had waiting for the riders. There is nothing more encouraging than coming into camp and hearing cheers of encouragement from fellow riders and crew!
After an incredible potluck, fire, and our fun awards ceremony the night before, I woke up to the fresh smell of coffee, bright Alaska sunshine, and happy smiles from fellow riders ready to get on their saddles again (not always the case)! I love the second day of our annual ride because the scenery is just magnificent. The road is often quiet and I can just look out and see the amazing landscape of greenery, rivers, lakes, mountains, and wildlife. Once we dropped down into the Robertson River, my favorite part of this adventure, I was again just in awe of this magnificent land.
We all met up for a lunch break and regrouped for our final leg into Tok. The 12 miles leading into Tok is the longest, straightest, and mentally toughest part of the ride. It gets me every time. I can’t explain why, but every rider can agree. Maybe it’s placing value on what comes next: the hard-earned Oreo milkshake, big juicy burger, and the heaping pile of fried mushrooms waiting for me at Fast Eddy’s in Tok. After my food coma, I loaded up my bike in the back of our truck and passed out for the gas-powered ride home.
Your favorite local bike shop? Goldstream Sports in Fairbanks, Alaska
Bike overnight tips and tricks?
- A road crew can carry your gear so you can enjoy a great bike ride and comfortable amenities at camp!
- Also, a short daily distance helps recruit friends because I think anyone can ride 50 miles when there is no pressure for time and it’s not a race.
HOW ABOUT YOU? Inspire others by submitting your own bike overnight adventure!