Urban Velo

Crossing Alaska by Bike at the Turn of Last Century

Yukonbike2 This article from Half Past Done about crossing the frozen Alaskan landscape by bike in the early 1900s on early safety bicycle is worth a read, especially when you find yourself looking outside questioning the relatively brief commute in less than ideal weather.

They were perhaps North America’s first endurance racers — the grizzled men and a few women who set out across wild expanses in a race to reach a land of uncertain but undeniably vast fortunes. The Gold Rush brought the notion of adventure racing to the forefront of American imaginations, because it was widely accepted that those who got there first got the gold — by any means possible.

Just east of Nome, he skidded on glare ice and broke a chain. Unable to pedal any longer, Hirschberg found a stick, strung it through his large parka, and constructed a sail to catch the wind, which was blowing in the direction of Nome. “At times the wind was so strong that I was forced to drive into some soft snow to stop my wild flight,” he wrote. “Without my chain I could not control the speed of my bicycle. However, I finally arrived at Nome, May 19, 1900, without further incident. I had had my twentieth birthday on the trip.”

Read the entire article and view a few more photos at www.halfpastdone.com

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