I remembered some old lessons and learned a few more on this biking adventure, but I’m sure I’ll forget them again. Maybe these lessons will help you as you make your biking trip into Denali National Park this June. If they do, deny it, you’re better than this.
First of all, bring an extra SD card for your camera. While I was beginning to get tired of photographing these bears after 45 minutes, I finally rode away because I ran out of space on my SD card. The bears didn’t seem to mind.
If you read the last entry, I ended with a bit about decent raingear saving your life in Denali Park. So naturally, I got to have one of those days and learn just how low you can set the bar for decent. It rained all day. Turns out it was a $5 pouch emergency poncho that saved the day, making up for the inadequacies of the $100 designer rain/wind jacket. Don’t get me wrong, the jacket helped. But it’s not waterproof. And when it boils down to it, you need waterproof. I was wearing a pair of FrogTogg rain pants that I got in a suit packet that is compact. I did not bring the jacket, but I wished I had. I’m not endorsing a product, but this suit cost $20 and is compact and having this or something like it is essential for any trip in Denali Park unless you know the space age fabric you’re counting on is actually waterproof. It must be or you might get wet and not dry out.
With waterproof rain gear, however, comes the issue of sweating. When it is cold and rainy on a Denali Park bike ride, don’t sweat. This isn’t a race, most of my day yesterday I spent moving less than two miles per hour. I just never stopped. If I felt I might even start to sweat, I got off and walked. And no hill on the road is so steep that you can’t walk your bike up leisurely. I went 36 miles yesterday. I haven’t been biking much at all yet this season and I’m not sore today. Because I went slow. And I focused on staying dry.
June 2020 is the month for bikes in Denali Park. Keep checking our posts, we’ll try to keep you informed of situational developments, tips for trip planning, and personal biking experiences. Bike Denali is providing bear canisters to bike renters, 1 per party of 2. These will be free of charge to customers since the Park Service will not be providing them this month. You will need a handlebar cradle to carry it, $5 on-time charge, good for any length of rental term. We are working on providing tents and compact campstoves later in the month, stay tuned on those details. See our post from June 2, for details on registering with the Park Service to drive the Park Road to the Teklanika gate, as well as getting a backcountry permit. Good riding and stay safe.