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

Haines last Alaska stop for cyclist touring Americas

 

July 27, 2017 | View PDF



Tomàs Rebora, 39, biked through Haines last week during the first leg of what will be a two-year cycling journey that spans from Deadhorse, Alaska to Ushuaia, Argentina.

“It’s the northernmost part you can start cycling and the most southern part you can arrive,” Rebora said, leaning next to his grey touring bike outside of Olerud’s Market last Wednesday.

Rebora, originally from Argentina, is an emergency medicine physician and has worked in Spain for the past 15 years interrupted by stints at nonprofit organizations such as Doctors Without Borders in Ghana, equatorial New Guinea and in the Brazilian Amazon.

During the past several years, he’s taken brief cycling hiatus’ during vacations and decided last year to take an extended trip.

Rebora said he loves his profession, but hasn’t liked his job for the past several years. He said he’ll use the next two years to find a fresh perspective.

“I’m single and I don’t have kids,” Rebora said. “I have the time and I’ve saved some money. I love to meet people and I like to know what is going on in the world. This year is a bad year in the world, for sure.”

After cycling down the Dalton Highway he stopped in Fairbanks for six days and stayed with a pair of anthropologists who study Alaska Native languages.

He was planning to bypass Haines and travel to Whitehorse, but the Fairbanks couple convinced him the Haines Highway was worth the trip.

He’s also made stops in Denali National Park, Anchorage, Beaver Creek and Haines Junction. Despite living and working around a plethora of slithering, hopping and crawling poisonous animals and insects, Rebora said he didn’t experience a fear of animals until his Alaska journey. “To tell the truth, I didn’t feel much fear for a long, long time,” Redora said. “I spent time in dangerous places but a few nights during this trip, yes, I felt fear. I saw a few grizzlies in Denali National Park.”

Rebora said cyclists making similar trips usually cover around 800 miles a month. He said he doesn’t plan on going that fast, although the distances between stops during his trip across Alaska have been pretty far. “The idea is to meet people and learn what’s going on and for that you need time, but here the distances are really big and I don’t have enough time,” Rebora said. “You have 100 miles between places. I want to try to do less miles a day and I need better food. I’ve lost nine kilos this month. I need to carry more energy food during the day.”

Rebora has spent time in New York and Miami. He said, based off his first impressions, Alaskans care more about the land they work and play in compared to people in other places. “I really like it, enough to come back sometime,” Rebora said.

Rebora only camped in Haines one night because he needed to catch the ferry to Prince Rupert. From there he’ll bike south through British Columbia and toward Glacier National Park and Yellowstone.

He loads his pots, pans, medical supplies, spare parts and food into saddle bags mounted to his bicycle’s front and back wheel forks. He also has fuel for his stove and water bottles in mounts on the bike’s frame. Behind the seat Rebora wraps a tent, hammock, boots and other gear in a rainproof tarp.

He doesn’t have a specific route for the bulk of his journey and will likely follow the recommendations of the people he meets. Rebora said the longest and most rigorous section of his journey will be crossing the Andes. “The time you need to cross the Andes in the middle is long. It’s really cold and it’s really difficult.”

Rebora plans on publishing a book of photographs and anecdotes of the people he’s met after he completes his trip.

 
 

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