Downtown Bicycle Rental, Sales and Repair

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Also home of
Anchorage, Alaska Flattop Shuttle
Two Multi-Day Bicycle Touring Trips

TRIP ONE

Duration: 5-14 days.
Distance: 324 - 594 miles.    
 
Mileposts:  Anchorage.  Glenn Hwy North to Parks Hwy.  East at Cantwell on Denali Hwy.  South on Richardson Hwy to Valdez.  Ferry West through Prince William Sound to Whittier.  North on Seward Hwy to Girdwood and Anchorage.
 
 
This circuit trip is punctuated by taking the ferry from Valdez to Whittier through spectacular Prince William Sound.  This trip also gives you the option of bypassing the first and/or last legs of the itinerary by using public transportation from/to Anchorage.

The best bike to rent for this trip is either a hybrid or commuter bike or a mountain bike with a lock-out on the front fork with 26 x 1.5 cm Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires or Kenda Kwick 26 x 1.7 tires.  Three factors that influence which bike to pick are:
a) How much gear you carry.  If you have a lot, consider renting a BOB trailer.
b) Whether going fast with a hybrid on pavement (most of trip) is more important than going slow on gravel Denali Hwy;
c) Your ability to replace a broken spoke and fix flat tires (we provide chain whip, spokes and flat tire repair kit).  Mountain bike wheels are less likely to bust spokes and get flat tires.  

After renting your bike, choose between riding it north (we'll map out the route out-of-town at the shop) or bypassing the first leg by taking public transportation.  If choosing the latter, start pealing either in Wasilla (42 miles from Anchorage), Talkeetna (113 miles), or Denali Park (237 miles).  No matter where you start, eventually you'll get to Cantwell which is where the Denali Highway begins.  The 134-mile-long Denali Highway is a very scenic and remote mostly gravel road that links the Parks Highway to the Richardson Hwy.

If you decide to start from Wasilla, the Valley Mover Bus will take you there (with your bike) from Anchorage for only $10.  Once in Wasilla, pedal north on the Parks Hwy.  It's 71 miles from Wasilla to Talkeetna.
If you prefer to begin bicycling beyond Wasilla, take the Alaska Railroad to Talkeetna ($89) or to Denali Park ($146).  It's 30 miles from Talkeetna north to Cantwell and 27 miles from Denali south to Cantwell.  There's a $20 fee to put your bike on the train.
The third way to shorten the first leg of this trip is to take the Park Connection Bus to Talkeetna ($65) or Denali ($90).  There is no fee to put your bicycle on the bus.  If you decide to overnight in Talkeetna, the best value in town is the Talkeetna Hostel. 
If you overnight in Cantwell, stay at the Backwoods Lodge.  

From Cantwell, the first 3 miles of the Denali Highway are paved.  The next 110 miles are gravel.  The last 21 miles to the Richardson Hwy are paved.  There is no cell phone service in the gravel section.  While it's possible to pitch your tent in a make-shift spot anywhere along "Route 8" the first official campground with potable water, toilets, and picnic tables is 29 miles in at Brushkana Creek. There is an $8 fee.  The next campground (Gracious House) is another 23 miles.  Ninety-two miles from Cantwell are two lodges www.maclarenlodge.com and www.dogsleddenali.com.  Next up, Maclaren Summit (elev. 4,086') followed by www.tangleriverinn.com and 20 miles later Paxson.  Paxson is where the Denali Hwy ends.

At Paxson, after you turn south on the Richardson Hwy., it's 71 miles to Glen Allen.  From there it's another 119 miles to Valdez.  There are many lodges/cabins and campgrounds along the way. If you want to know where they are and how much they cost, the best resource is The Milepost.  The Milepost provides mile-by-mile information about every road in Alaska.  Here the Milepost's Richardson Hwy link.

After arriving in Valdez take the Alaska Marine Hwy through Prince William Sound to Whittier.  The sailing will take between 2.75 hours and 5.75 hours.  The difference in transit time depends on whether you're on the fast ferry or the regular ferry.  It will cost $101 (with your bike).   

Upon arriving in Whittier, you'll encounter the longest tunnel in North America.  In order to get through the 2.5-mile-long Whittier Tunnel to Portage with your bicycle, you will need to make friends in the staging area with someone in an RV, pickup, or car with a bike rack.  You cannot ride through the tunnel on your bike.  If leaving this to chance doesn't work for you, or if you're running out of time or too tired to bike any more, there are to other options.  One is to pay $65 and take the railroad from Whittier back to Anchorage.  The other is to pay $65 and take the bus.     

If you choose to continue biking on the other side of the tunnel, you'll start at Portage Lake/Glacier.  From Portage it is seven miles to the Seward Hwy and another 10 miles to the intersection of the Alyeska Highway which is 3-miles from the town of Girdwood.  The most affordable place to overnight in Girdwood is at the Alyeska Hostel.    

Before leaving Girdwood, in the morning, hike to the top of Mt. Alyeska and take the tram back down for free.  It's about an hour hike up.

When you're ready to leave Girdwood, 1/2 mile before the Seward Hwy, exit right into the parking lot of the Chugach National Forrest Ranger Station.  This is where a great new 7-mile-long bike path parrels the Seward Hwy to Indian.  From Indian it's 10 miles along the scenic (but busy) Seward Hwy to the Potter Section House.  Get off the highway here by taking a right onto Potter Valley Road and then a quick left onto the Old Seward Hwy.  This is a rural two-lane road on the north side of Potter Marsh Bird Sanctuary.  Two long boardwalks go into the marsh on its north side.  Next where the Old Seward intersects with Rabbit Creek Road, stay left on the Old Seward.  At roundabout with Huffman, consider taking a right to get food at the Carrs/Safeway Supermarket.  Either way, continue south on Old Seward to Klatt Road where you take a right.  Right at the roundabout onto C St.  There's a bike path buffered from C St that will bring you directly back to Downtown Bicycle Rental.

A great website http://confusionart.com/photoblog/index.php?x=alaska has many photos and lots of information from a cyclist who did this trip.  Here is an excerpt:

"The Mighty One"
Trail, Coastal Alaska Anchorage, Rentals, Bike
"No I am not referring to the massive vessel on the backdrop,
 I am talking about my bicycle giving a respectable challenge to the ship.
 BTW I rented my bicycle from Downtown Bike Rentals."


TRIP TWO

Duration: 2 -5 days.
Distance: 127 - 210 miles.
Mileposts:  Anchorage by Train or Bus to Seward, take a Glacier Cruise, then Bike Back to Anchorage with the Wind at Your Back on the Seward Hwy.  Detour to the Resurrection Trail if on a Mountain Bike.  Whitewater Raft Near Hope.  Hike Mt. Alyeska.       
 

The train departs from Anchorage for Seward at 6:45 am and costs $75 plus another $20 for your bike.  The train arrives in Seward at 11:05 am.  There are three buses to Seward.  The Park Connection Express departs Anchorage at 7 am, arrives in  Seward at 10 pm and costs $55.  The Connection's second run departs at 3 pm arrives in Seward at 6 pm and costs $65.  The Seward Bus Line departs Anchorage at 2:30 pm costs $50 and arrives in Seward at 5:30 pm.  There is no extra charge for your bike. 

If you want to be sure of a roof over your head in Seward during the summer, reserve in advance.  Here is a long list of Seward Lodging choices.  There are four hostels in/around Seward.  The are: Kate's Roadhouse, Kayaker's Cove, Moby Dick Hostel, Snow River Hostel.  There are also two campgrounds.  Waterfront Park has tent spots for $10 (no reservations), restrooms, coin-op showers.  Miller's Landing has cabins from $50 and tent spots with central showers/restrooms for $26. 

One of Alaska's top attractions and best values is a Kenai Fjords Glacier Cruise.  Prices range from $69 -$149 and depend on the length of the cruise.  Pick the cruise that coincides with your arrival in Seward.  Here's the schedule for Major Marine Tours.  Another don't miss activity is to hike Mt. Marathon.  If you arrive in Seward too late to take a glacier cruise, then hike up and down the mountain after you arrive and take the cruise the following day.  Another great thing to do in Seward (especially if it's raining) is to visit this small town's large, world-class Aquarium.  It costs $20.  After experiencing these great Seward attractions, you're ready to start cycling.

Where you spend your first night on the road depends on when you leave Seward, how much daylight there is (June/July it's sunny almost all the time), and how much hiking and other activities you decide to do along the way.  Here is a list of cabins for rent in Chugach National Forest.

The first potential detour is just 3.7 miles from town.  Turn left/west at Herman Leirer Road and bike 8.4 miles to Exit Glacier.  After hiking the glacier, visit Seavey's Ididaride.  Here you can take a dogsled ride. This famous Alaska mushing family also has cabins for rent.

After returning to the Seward Hwy, you'll have to decide if you want to camp without a hot shower, pay for a room/cabin somewhere in in/around Moose Pass, (mile 29.4), or press-on to Cooper Landing or Hope.

If you're on a road bike and this is a three-day, two-night trip, either camp along the way or go to Hope and stay at Discovery Cabins, or to Girdwood where there are many lodging choices including a hostel.

If you have a mountain bike and/or have more time, go to Cooper Landing where there are about a dozen places to stay including a Kenai Riverside Campground which has hot showers for $5.  The reason why those with mountain bikes should go to Cooper Landing is because that is where the world-famous 38.5 mile-long Resurrection Pass Trail begins.  It ends in Hope. 

If you want to do it in a day, begin biking the Resurrection Trail in the morning.  Since being on this trail is truly being in the wilderness, some like to take their time and overnight along the way.  There are nine Forest Service cabins on the trail.  They're $35 per night to rent.  In order to have any chance at staying in one, absent a cancelation, you'll need to make a reservation far in advance.  Go to  http://www.recreation.gov/ to check availability.  (At the prompt for the zip code, punch in the Hope's: 99605.)

After arriving in Hope, either camp or stay at Discovery Cabins.  Whenever you arrive in Hope, make sure you raft Six-Mile Creek.  The $149 cost with Chugach Outdoor Center to do each of the three canyons is worth every penny.  Raft all three canyons.
  
After your raft trip, resume biking on the 17.8 mile-long Hope Hwy.  It returns you to the Seward Hwy.  After turning left (north), it's 22 miles to the intersection of the Whittier/Portage Glacier Access Road where you decide whether to detour on it.  It's pleasant 5-mile-long road to Portage Lake and Glacier.  If you're not tired and have time, it's worth the trip.  Otherwise, bear left at the intersection and continue on to the ski resort town of Girdwood.  There are many places to stay in Girdwood but the cheapest is the Alyeska Hostel.    

Before leaving Girdwood, in the morning, hike to the top of Mt. Alyeska and take the tram back down for free.  It's about an hour hike up.

When you're ready to leave Girdwood, 1/2 mile before the Seward Hwy, exit right into the parking lot of the Chugach National Forrest Ranger Station.  This is where a great new 7-mile-long bike path parrels the Seward Hwy to Indian.  From Indian it's 10 miles along the scenic (but busy) Seward Hwy to the Potter Section House.  Get off the highway here by taking a right onto Potter Valley Road and then a quick left onto the Old Seward Hwy.  This is a rural two-lane road on the north side of Potter Marsh Bird Sanctuary.  Two long boardwalks go into the marsh on its north side.  Next where the Old Seward intersects with Rabbit Creek Road, stay left on the Old Seward.  At roundabout with Huffman, consider taking a right to get food at the Carrs/Safeway Supermarket.  Either way, continue south on Old Seward to Klatt Road where you take a right.  Right at the roundabout onto C St.  There's a bike path buffered from C St that will bring you directly back to Downtown Bicycle Rental.