Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966


Bike relay expecting about 1,200 riders


More than 1,200 bicyclists from as far away as New Zealand will traverse the 149-mile Haines Highway Saturday during the 22nd Kluane Chilkat International Bike Relay.

The success of the relay is that it’s a “hybrid” event that appeals to range of cyclists, says event president Rob Welton of Juneau.

Endurance athletes push their bodies to the limit, while weekend riders are happy just to take in the scenery and finish a single stage. Many fall somewhere between those two extremes.

“Not everybody’s in the same race. That adds a weird dynamic that other races don’t have,” said Welton.

Changes to this year’s race include a tightened connection with the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations, whose members will be serving dinner to cyclists in Haines Junction on June 20 and breakfast before the race. Race day coincides with National Aboriginal Day, which recognizes and celebrates the culture and contributions of Native people in Canada.

“It just seems so appropriate since the event runs through their ancestral home ground. We’re guests in their home,” Welton said.

Welton said other changes to KCIBR this year include donated food and water at checkpoints 3 and 5 for solo riders, and a children’s fishing day Sunday in Haines. Along with maintaining safety, reducing the relay’s carbon footprint is a major goal of the race, Welton said.

As of June 1, there were 57 solo teams, 90 teams of eight riders, 129 four-person teams and 51 teams of two were registered.