How about taking a 7,000-mile trip over land and water with zero fuel? How about creating a brand new verb at the same time? That is exactly what adventurer Andrew Badenoch is setting out to do next month with a project called 77Zero. Running on nothing but candy bars and Pringles (my guess), Badenoch will circumnavigate a good chunk of Canada and Alaska propelling himself by a new hybrid mode of human-powered wilderness transportation he calls “fatbikerafting.”
Badenoch’s journey will begin and end in Bellingham, Wash., not far from his home. On land he’ll cover ground on a fatbike (4-inch-wide tires) and for water crossings he’ll employ a pack-raft. The combo of these two modes creates “fatbikerafting,” a somewhat contrived, but proven effective, method for moving freely over diverse terrain like what Badenoch will encounter on his 7,000-mile journey.
You may ask “why?” He says, “All I want is to do epic stuff across the face of our amazing planet, then tell you about it so you can do the epic stuff you want to do. Is that so much to ask?” No, Andrew, that’s a great way to put it, and apparently lots of people agree. Badenoch started a Kickstarter page where he asked people to pledge toward $7,700 in funding toward the fatbikerafting trip. He exceeded his Kickstarter goal by $2,000, and he now has about 48 hours left before the project is officially funded and closed on the site.
About the journey. . . It is expected to take about eight months. Badenoch plans to traverse four mountain ranges, seven rivers, and two oceans. He’ll bike for thousands of miles off road and on. He’ll inflate his pack-raft, strap on his bike, and paddle wild rivers of the North.
His pack-raft will carry all his gear as well as his bike, and by traveling this way Badenoch said he plans to “optimize distance and terrain options in ways no other inland combination can.”
He notes on his Kickstarter page an interest in “following some of the footsteps of explorers such as Vilhjamlur Stefansson and Roald Amundsen.” His 77Zero route will be aided largely by their records and experiences. But while explorers of old carried literal tons off supplies with them, Badenoch has to extremely limit his gear supply — he estimates 30 pounds with the bike, 30 pounds of pack, and 10 pounds of raft supplies.
When finished, Badenoch said he plans to create a documentary called “Fatbikerafting the Arctic.” And ever ambitious, Badenoch notes that this journey is not the final chapter; he intends to “keep exploring and eventually explore as much as the planet as I can without burning fuels that have been dug up or grown on farmland.”
Judging by the success of his Kickstarter campaign, it looks like he’s equipped and motivated enough to make it happen worldwide.
—Pam Wright is a contributing writer for GearJunkie and an editor at UpNorthica, a publication on canoe camping and the North Woods.