Dec 4th 2014

Similar to Brek’s northern adventures in previous years, I will endeavour to update this page with his progress as he posts shorter messages to Facebook and works on longer updates for this blog.

So finally Day 1 of the 2014 Sea to Sky adventure: He left on the 10am flight to Buenos Aires today, via Toronto and Santiago. The first real adventure was packing up all the gear. This never seems to be a small task, as he needs camping gear and clothes for hot temperatures at sea level but also needs to bring warmer clothes and equipment for the time he intends to spend higher up in the Andes. It’s a lot of stuff…I don’t have a firm number but it looked like the gear alone was about 120 pounds. Ugh.

 – – – – – – – – – – – –

Back on the bicycle….start of Part II

Jan 10 – 2012

Finally!!!  A ride to Whitehorse materialized. It was iffy right up to the last hour…but it all worked out in the end. Arrived in Whitehorse this evening. Packing up the bike and shipping it tomorrow. And flying home Saturday.  {yahoo…and whew… : )   I kinda missed the big guy – michelle }

Jan 7-9

Still working on all the options to getting to Whitehorse.

Brek is at the Downtown Hotel and can be reached at cyclingintothedark@yahoo.ca

Jan 6

I am ending my journey north here in Dawson City. There are a few reasons for this but the main one is a cough that keeps getting worse and worse. It really saps the energy on the bike. I am looking to catch a ride for me and the Dummy to Whitehorse, from where I will be flying back to Vancouver. I have not had any luck procuring a ride. {brek}

Any suggestions for rides from Dawson City to Whitehorse welcome. Brek would fly out of Dawson City as well but finding a box to pack up the bike is proving equally challenging. {michelle}

Jan 4 – 5

Brek is resting up in Dawson after his chilly ride up from Pelly Crossing.

Jan 03

That is the closest I have ever come to hypothermia, I think. I had just passed the intersection of the Klondike and Dempster Highways on my way to Dawson City. I decided to flag down a vehicle and see about ride into town. A woman in a small car pulled up. I asked if I could warm up my hands. I was not in the car 30 seconds and started shaking uncontrollably and it was only -30. I could barely even talk. 15 minutes of that, I decided to ditch the Dummy in the ditch and catch a ride into Dawson. An hour later I was still shaking. Now I feel like I have a fever. Toes are purple but not blistered. Crap.  {Brek}

Note: Brek is safe and sound in a hotel in Dawson for this night. {michelle}

Jan 02

Brek’s GPS update for today. Cycled about 75kms today. Not sure what the temp is… online says currently -23 but also indicates about -17 for tonight. Doesn’t look like much around the spot he has stopped.


Jan 01 – 2013

Rang in the New Year in Pelly Crossing. There was a live band, fire works at midnight, and those who wanted to shoot their guns off were asked to go across the river. Last year someone accidentally shot a transformer leaving a number of houses without power. {Brek}

location for tonight:


Dec 31

Was planning on riding on from Pelly Crossing today, but the offer of a warm bed, free New Year’s supper put on by the town, New Year’s dance with live music, and fireworks is keeping me here tonight. Thanks Mario. {Brek}

Dec 30

Brek’s GPS location tonight. About 75kms north of Carmacks. He left there today, having waited a day to catch the warmer temps. Looks like it worked out with a daily temp of about -7 (balmy) and tonight -17. On his way toward Pelly Crossing and then Dawson. Warmer temps predicted for a least a week and then going down a bit again the following week….{michelle}

Dec 29

Hanging out in Carmacks today. Hoping the forecast for warmer temps in the coming days is correct (-12 to -19) and will head out for Pelly Crossing tomorrow. {michelle}

Dec 28

Rode into Carmacks today. This cold weather is proving more stubborn that the forecasters have predicted. {brek}

A couple of nights ago I finally got to experience something that I had been wondering about for a couple of years, and that is: what is it like to sleep in a tent at -40. The sleeping bag was warm, except for the feet. I managed to sleep intermittently. My toes are a little purple now though but no blisters. {brek}

Dec 27

Brek’s is at the same spot today near Braeburn Lodge. He got to enjoy their world famous cinnamon buns for breakfast (as big as your head they say). But he did end up tenting it at -40 last night and probably will again tonight. I guess he was a little slow getting up this morning, so tomorrow he will be setting off for Carmacks. {michelle}

Dec 26

Brek’s location this evening: (that’s about 56kms today)


Murray Lundberg, a local photographer, posted that he had seen Brek twice today and that it was a clear day, with a slight south wind and about -29.

Dec 25

Brek’s been in Whitehorse for the last few days. He picked up some items he stashed there last year such as the studded tires, got his bike tuned up and even went for a cross country ski after biking all day. Crazy…but I guess that was followed by a nice relaxing dip in a hot tub. Unfortunately he also picked up a cold or flu… hopefully his amazing immune system kicks in as usual and it’s short lived. He’s heading north today. Not sure how much more internet access we’ll have going forward. He mentioned that the winds were really strong last night…but from the south. So here’s hoping that they bring warmer temps and provide a tailwind to help propel him northward. {michelle}

His location tonight:


Dec 22

Rode the Dummy home from Icycle Sports today and the cranks seem to be turning much smoother. We used 0 W 40 synthetic motor oil in the bottom bracket instead of grease. Hopefully this will go some way to mitigating my overheating problem on the bike in really cold temps (that, fewer items of clothing, and a lot more patience — think slow — will hopefully make the difference). {brek}

Dec 21

Arrived in Whitehorse today and brought the bike to the shop for a tune up. Turning the pedals at the cold temps is proving to be be a challenge. {brek}

Dec 20

Still on his way to Whitehorse. The wind and cold are a tough pair to contend with on this trip so far. With -39 windchill, it is a challenge to move the bike and make decent progress. I’d throw in the towel…yet onward he goes with steadfast determination. {michelle}

Dec 19

Arrived in Marsh Lake this evening. Passed through Jake’s Corner…and so the official adventure Part II has started. Tomorrow head to Whitehorse to pick up some supplies left there last year such as the studded tires and perhaps add some new items such as grease for the cold temps.  {michelle}

Dec 18

Heading out toward Carcross this morning; Clear skies, but still some wind to contend with. Back home, Vancouver has had their first official snow of the season. Bridges are backed up, buses are stuck on hills, cars are slip sliding along…. {michelle}

Made it to Carcross, Yukon, but not all on my own. (A bit frustrated by that, but I have to remind myself that my ride officially starts at Jake’s Corner, where I left off last Year.) The weather forecast I looked at was far from accurate, as the thermometer plummeted to -36 when the sun went down and I ended up with a little frost nip on my back and a very small bit on my nose. {Brek}

Dec 17

In ‘wait and see’ mode. Wind warnings on the Pass with gusts up to 80km/hr seem a bit dangerous. Planning on heading out tomorrow one way or the other to get to the starting point in Jake’s Corner. Forecasts indicate it should calm down tomorrow. {michelle}

Seized pulley wheel on the rear derailleur. The one thing that I did not bring with me even though they weigh next to nothing. Argghhh. Soaking it in oil and cleaning it out. Will pick up more items in Whitehorse…{brek}

Dec 15

A s*%t ton of snow and the Yuletide Ball toniht are keeping me in Skagway for an extra day. Thanks snow gods for making the decision not to go over the White Pass today an easy one (there will likely be lots of avalanches today).

Dec 14

Leaving for Skagway this morning.

Into Skagway this afternoon…. I have an affinity for tourist towns in the off season. A million visitors come through this town in the summer. Maybe 300 people live here in the winter.

Dec 13

Pulled into Juneau this morning and was a little stir crazy after being on the ferry for 2 days, so I hiked up to Mendenhall Glacier, or as close as I could get to it without walking on a semi frozen lake.

Dec 12

Almost into Juneau. He lands at 2am. Then off to Skagway on Friday and finally back on the bike starting with one very steep climb over the White Pass. 10%-11% grades for first 25km I read. Ugh. Enjoy the boat ride while you can I say. : ) {Michelle}

Dec 10

Prince Rupert is living up to its reputation as the rainiest place on earth.

Dec 8

Interesting update today….don’t see this much on Brek’s GPS maps. Looks to be entering the inside passage. Arrives in Prince Rupert tomorrow afternoon. Hopefully still a scenic trip even with the rain. {michelle}

Dec 7

Yay!…Brek made the ~125km, hilly, rainy, snowy ride into Port McNeill and is hanging out at the Shed Bike shop. More details from him when he gets internet access. {michelle}

The Dummy got some love tonight at the Bike Shed in Port McNeill. Thanks to Ryan my host who is the mechanic and avid touring cyclist. {Brek}

Dec 6

Today’s update on Brek’s trip. (GPS only due to lack of any internet access). He is aiming to make the 125km ride to Port McNeill tomorrow, then the 50km ride Saturday to make it to Port Hardy for the ferry to Prince Rupert. Hope the skies are clear and the wind is at his back. {Michelle}

His coordinates are:

Dec 4, 2012

I am on my own now cycling up Vancouver Island. Thanks to Peter, Paula, Michelle, and Dennis who joined me for the first couple of days, and all those who saw me off and rode to the ferry with me.

After struggling for the last couple of days, I really feel like I got my cycle-touring legs back today. Lots of energy when I pulled into Courtenay tonight, after 105 km on the Dummy. The day started beautiful and sunny and ended with a soaking. The old Island highway is not as hilly as i expected.


Jan 15 – end of Part I

I am in Whitehorse now. Unfortunately, I had to get a ride from Jake’s Corner to here (approx 80 km) as a result of knee pain. Will have to go back and cycle from there. Today it was -40. Yikes..

Jan 12 (Marsh Lake)

Made it to Marsh Lake. The first half of the day can only be described as sublime (huge tailwind and warm weather). The last half of the day the knee started ot hurt again, but somehow differently now. The last 20 km were sheer agony.

Currently he is on the road trying to reach Marsh Lake tonight. (Pretty ambitious). Wishing him luck and generous gifts from the tailwind gods. <Michelle>

Jan 10

GPS update from Brek for today. He had to start with a climb of about 20km to get over the continental divide, but managed to make about 85km for the day. Should be in Teslin tomorrow. <Michelle>

Jan 9 (Rancheria)

Had my worst headwinds of the trip so far today, followed by a winter storm: 37 km in 5 hours of cycling. The fine folks at the Rancheria motel felt sorry for me and offered a free room and would not take any money for the meal I had.

Jan 8

Brek posted his trip from Fort Nelson to Liard Hot Springs last night. He will update with the section from Liard to Watson as soon as he gets another stop with internet connectivity. In the meantime he is back on the road and biking the long stretch from Watson Lake to Whitehorse. No planned hosts along this stretch. Plan is camping for the next week. Hopefully the moose jerky and chocolate are fully satisfactory for the trip. <Michelle>

Brek’s GPS update for today. About 82km west of Watson Lake.

Jan 5-7 (Watson Lake)

Made it north of 60. Set up my tent beside a gas station last night so I have place to warm up and internet this morning. Yay.

Made it to Watson Lake, Yukon, and to my Couch Surfing hosts. Had a fantastic moose meat dinner with salad. Beats the dry pasta I have been snacking on for days now. They don’t use any salt or sand on the roads. Idyllic. Reminds me of Finish towns in the winter. Unfortunately, it looks like I have frostbite on 3 toes. It hurts now that my feet are no longer numb. Got to figure out the footwear.

Staying an extra day to keep an eye on his toes. They do seem to be at the early stage of frostbite…so that is good news. Going to have to use the Baffin boots to ensure feet stay properly warm from now on and do not rub the affected areas. Does mean modifying the pedals with ‘extenders’ to fit the larger boots. <M>

Jan 4 (into the Yukon)

GPS update from Brek. Cossed into the Yukon. Will cross back in and out of BC a few times before getting to Watson Lake…about 65 km down the road.


Jan 3 (Coal River)

Breks GPS update for today. Coal River. Another 150km or so to Watson Lake in the Yukon. Weather online says the temps range between -1 to -9. I wonder what the roads are like… <Michelle>

Dec 31 (Muncho Lake)

My New Year’s plan to be soaking in the waters of Liard hot springs at Midnight were derailed by a relentless headwind and icy/snowy roads. I am going to have to lower my kilometer expectations if the roads stay like this. Not a fun ride today.

Dec 30 (Summit Pass)

Interesting ride over Summit Pass today. Highest point on the trip so far and the highest point on the Alaska highway. After the pass the riding was sublime, gradual slope down. Then it turned icy and snowy on the way into Toad River.


Ben from the Tetsa River lodge opened up a cabin and turned on the heat for me last night. They are closed for the season. Thanks Ben!

Dec 29

GPS update from Brek today. Looks like there was some elevation to contend with as he made his way over Steamboat Mountain and approaches Stone Mountain. Forecast says low of -19 tonight, windy at times, clear tomorrow with chance of flurries in the afternoon. <Michelle>


Dec 28

GPS update from Brek today. Temps between Ft. Nelson and Stone Mountain Park range between -6 to -18 with calls for some flurries in the morning. <Michelle>


Dec 26

Was showing my bike and set up to some people when someone noticed that one side of a link in the chain was broken. Fixed that in a warm shop (so much better than on the side of the road) , but from experience, if it breaks once it will break again. Managed to find a new chain and a chain breaker (I bent mine) in town. So now I will be carrying an extra chain and hoping not to have to put it on, till Whitehorse.

Dec 25

Epic ride yesterday. The roads were dry and smooth with not too much traffic; absolutely no wind and had lots of energy. Decided to push through all the way to Fort Nelson and a warm bed (183 km). Unfortunately, I was a few hours too late for the annual Christmas eve dinner that the town puts on and everyone attends. Darn.

Dec 24


SPOT update. Yup….he’s in Fort Nelson. Just a 183km ride. Looks to be one for his list of superlatives…’most kms in a day’ for sure. <Michelle>  Merry Christmas Brek!

Dec 23

Seems it’s pretty windy today on the Alaska Highway. Currently Brek’s got a headwind of 60km/hr…report says it’s going up to 90km/hr. Progress is a bit slow and tedious with the hills added in. I’ll update with location when he stops later this evening. <Michelle>

After an extremely demoralizing day with head winds that gusted up to 90 km/h (I was blown into the ditch twice), I pulled into a work camp in Buckinghorse River and asked how much it was for the night. The woman said $165. I asked if there was a special rate for people cycling to the arctic. She went to get her mom and she came back and said they indeed had a special rate and that rate was $0 and all the food you can eat. The canned drinks were limited to 6 per day, though. This place is massive and super clean. Amazing what one can do putting a bunch of trailers together.

Dec 22

GPS update from Brek. He looks to be close to Pink Mountain (about 135km from Fort St. John). Weather channel shows partly cloudy and about – 6. <Michelle>


Dec 21

So much for leaving civilization behind. Pulled into a restaurant at the side of the road and there is wifi and a fire place. There is nothing more debilitating to my progress on this trip than a warm fire.

Dec 20

Had an interview with CBC daybreak North. Will air on Friday morning at 6:40 on CBC radio in northern B.C. Hopefully on podcast after that.

Dec 19 (Fort St. John)

A hurricane Headwind, knee pain and an uncontrollable cough were my travelling companions early in the day. But by the end they had all abandoned me. Got to see the mighty Peace River for the first time ever today. I can’t even imagine the Mackenzie with all these big northern rivers feeding it. I will pass over it on an ice road, but seeing it will have to wait till a summer trip.

Dec 18 (Dawson Creek )

A great day cycling under the big sky of the only pairie I will see this trip: 2/3 of a day. The morning was a little iffy with headwinds and a cough that would not stop. Looks like I have developed a chest cold. But by afternoon the headwinds had dissapated and so had the cough. (135km day)

Stopped at a truck weigh scale today. No one was around so I spent some time measuring different parts. The bike has put on some weight since the last time. It has a lot more water and food. It weighs 100 kilos (225 pounds); the front axel 45 kilos (100 pounds) and the back axel 55 kilos (125 pounds).

Dec 14 (Grande Prairie)

In Grande Prairie: The insatiable hunger has begun. I had 8 tacos for supper and felt no less hungry than before the first. It usually takes a couple of weeks into the tour. During my cross Canada trip I never once felt full from Regina to Halifax. You just have to stop eating at some point cause you know it is the right thing to do.

Dec 13 (mid way to Grande Prairie)


Finally…SPOT update from Brek. Seems he is still putting the km’s on…I estimate about 115kms today. Grande Prairie is about 75km away. Weather report says -10 tonight and some light snow. <Michelle>

Dec 12 (Grande Cache)

Made it to Grande Cache today, again with little knee pain, but fighting a strong headwind. Last night I discovered that dry grass does not burn easily at -20. Fortunately gasoline still does. The gas may not be used for my all-fuel stove until I run out of trees as I head north. Fantastic night winter camping. Yesterday reminded me why I love cycle touring so much.

Dec 11 (mid way to Grande Cache)

Just got Brek’s SPOT update on his ride to Grande Cache. He’s camping midway. He passed on this update via Rocky, his awesome host in Hinton: “the cycling word today is: euphoria: very little knee pain, -5ºC, and sunny. Perfect day for cycling”. <Michelle >



Dec 10 (Hinton)

Rode from Jasper to Hinton yesterday with a hurricane tail wind and a lot of knee pain. The acupuncture in Hinton helped greatly (thanks Jolene). My latest solution is to remove the pins on one side of the right pedal hopefully allowing my foot to slide freely maybe reducing any lateral motion in the knee????

Dec 7 (Jasper)

Went to the physiotherapist this morning and the news is mostly good. Looks like the damage is just from overuse. I have been cleared to leave on Friday, albeit with fewer kms a day. Had some acupuncture, ultrasound, and the knee taped, all thanks to the pro bono work of Sean FitzGerald at Jasper Physiotherapy. Feeling much better.

Dec 4 (Hinton)

Yesterday on my way to Hinton the pain in my right knee became so bad I had to abandon the ride. It has been bothering me on and off since the beginning, but took a turn for the worse. The leading candidate for the cause is my rigid new boots that do not allow my heel to flex thus putting undue pressure on the knee. Hopefully leaving the boots loose will correct the problem. For now I am convalescing and icing the knee in Jasper.

Dec 1 (Jasper)

Grueling ride into Jasper today. Started out pushing slush into a head wind, then it got icy. The ice forced me to ride through the snow on the shoulder. Got here at 11:00.

Nov 30 (Valemount)

Brek arrived in Valemount yesterday (~91km). Biked through the snow all day. Off to Jasper today. Looks to be sunny and snowy. He’s hoping to be able to see the beautiful mount Robson.

Nov 28 (Blue River)

Made it to Blue River today – 106 km. Long, gradual uphill climb with a small mountain pass (Messiter summit). More camping tonight. Looking forward to reaching Valemount tomorrow.

Nov 27 (Clearwater)

Made it to Clearwater tonight (about 130km). Would love to keep going. It’s been a bit wet and slushy along the way. Now just hunting down a site to set up camp and settling in for the night.

Nov 27

Heading off toward Jasper today. Will pass through Barriere, Clearwater, Blue River then Valemount. May get the camping gear out on this portion.

Nov 26 (Kamloops)

Took the back road to Kamloops yesterday (5A) and very glad I did. Gorgeous ride along the yellows of the dry Valley. Sharp contrast to the heavy precipitation area around the Coquihalla Pass.

Nov 25 (Merritt)

Yesterday was an epic day of riding over the Coquihalla pass: 14 hours start to finish with 11 hours actually turning the pedals; a snow storm at the pass; 2 hours with the road completely to myself on the way down (must have been an accident behind).

Nov 23 (Hope)

The Coquihalla is closed this morning (lots of snow and accidents). Will try again early tomorrow.

Pulled into a truck scale today on the way to Hope: my bike, equipment and I weigh 190 kgs (420 pounds). Have to pull that up the Coquihalla pass tomorrow.

4 thoughts on “Updates

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