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Fatbiking Alaska

Monday July 15th, 2013

by Maria Luci

“From the small coastal town of Yakutat, Alaska, we climbed onto our Salsa Mukluk fatbikes, pedaled onto the beach, and headed south into the wilderness.”

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For six days in June, adventure photographer Ryan Krueger biked his way through remote Alaskan landscapes. Through his photography, Ryan strives to capture graceful, timeless outdoor imagery, and he knew a bike trek through Alaska would be a great opportunity to expand his portfolio. The authenticity of his surroundings during the adventure, along with the closeness to nature, led to a beautiful series of photographs.

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Ryan says the initial idea for the trip was centered around fat bikes—or, as NPR calls them, mountain bikes on steroids. These bicycles are outfitted with super wide tires, allowing for a more stable off-road experience. According to Ryan, “it’s widely known that Alaska offers some of the best beach riding anyway, with long stretches of connected, remote beaches.” Since Ryan’s time in Alaska is typically spent skiing during the winter, this summer trip offered a new and exciting perspective on the state—and he was excited to take on the adventure.

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Joining him in Alaska would be friend and colleague, Aaron Teasdale. Aaron is a journalist and fellow adventurer. It was Aaron’s idea to fatbike through Alaska, but Ryan says that he was immediately attracted to the idea,

Adventure by bike is extremely satisfying. It’s incredibly efficient, and each day you are able to watch the environment change and evolve as you pedal deeper into the wilderness. Biking is something that’s always been prevalent in my life and in my photography, so when the opportunity came up, it was an obvious choice. Spending six days biking through the remote Alaskan wilderness is an opportunity that shouldn’t be passed up, and I am glad to say, it was not a disappointment.

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In Alaska, the tides dictated their riding schedule. They pedaled for up to twelve hours at a time before resting, waking and doing it all over again. Ryan shot along the way—relishing the new scenery. Of all the images he shot along the way though, this particular image stands out to him the most:

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This is my favorite image; I have a strong emotional connection to the location. The shot was taken around midnight, just before we decided to call it a day. With so much sunlight this time of year, the sunset refused to burn out, and eventually the orange skyline just transitioned into the sunrise. This is a great example of the amazing backdrop that we witnessed the entire time. It felt like a strange dream riding through this area, especially at this time of night. It was one of the last images I shot that day. We were both exhausted from a long day of riding. Looking at it now, I can still feel the struggle we felt at that time, and it’s great to look back and appreciate that it was all worth it; it’s times like this that help define us.

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The trip was extremely rewarding for Ryan, who says he learned a lot while riding along the coast of Alaska. Especially that one should “approach the wilderness humbly, and with caution.”

View more of Ryan’s work at ryankruegerphotography.com.

 

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