by Lorien Nettleton ~ April 19th, 2012
A group of long-distance bikers will be in Talkeetna over the weekend to kick off the summer road-biking season. The Alaska Randonneurs is a group of distance-cycling enthusiasts who schedule rides of varying distances all over the state. Alaska Randonneurs director Kevin Turinsky says the rides are long, but are as challenging as a rider wants to make it.
This year’s season kicks off in Talkeetna, and will offer two distances, a 100 kilometer trek from Talkeetna to Trapper Creek and back. The longer distance ads another 100 kilometers with an out-and-back north along the parks highway to Beyers lake.
This is the first of 24 rides scheduled throughout the summer, and Turinsky says it draws people eager to see areas of the state at a different pace than behind the wheel of a car.
The club’s origins are steeped in French cycling history, and the group originally formed in 1998 with ambitious intent, Turinsky says it was formed as a way of getting Alaskans linked in to the international bike-touring world.
Last Year the Randonneurs even started their own multi-day tour patterned after the famous ride in France. The Big Wild ride saw cyclists covering 1200 Kilometers as they rode from Valdez to Fairbanks to Anchorage in a 90-hour time window. Turinsky says the Big Wild Ride will follow a similar schedule of every four years, but they’ll have one in 2013 to avoid having their bike tour in conflict with the Paris Brest Paris ride, so Alaskans who are so inclined could participate in both.
With a full season of cycling ahead, Turinsky says he’s looking forward to kicking things off in Talkeetna this weekend, and he suspects future rides based in the area could develop in to one of the more popular on the Randonneur’s cycling schedule