Man Has Goal To 'Fatbikeraft' the Arctic

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.

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Dotted line is the “Fatbikerafting the Arctic” route

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.

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Andrew Badenoch; photo by Joe Bell

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.”

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Pack-raft with bike strapped on top

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.

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Badenoch compares expeditions present and past

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.

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Plea to pledge: Click here to push money toward Badenoch’s unique journey

Posted by Asa - 02/15/2012 06:28 AM

This trip is very similar to Andrew Shurka’s Alaska-Yukon Expedition I went to a talk he had about that trip and it did not look like it would be fun for biking. Still, it sounds awesome, and I look forward to following his adventures.

Posted by Joe Smith - 02/15/2012 11:42 AM

Sounds like a cool adventure. What I do not understand is why he is asking other people to pay for his leisurely pursuits? I do not ask people to pay for my trip to Hawaii, or a mountain bike race in Durango.

Posted by Bobby Gill - 02/15/2012 12:28 PM

“Running on nothing but candy bars and Pringles (my guess)”. Ha! That couldn’t be further from the truth. Andrew will be achieving this feat in a truly back-to-basics approach, including traditional and nutrient-dense foods such as meat, coconut and pemmican.

Posted by Andrew - 02/15/2012 02:23 PM

@Asa Thank you. At first glance, the “big loop that goes through Alaska” bit does look pretty similar. Ultimately, Skurka wouldn’t want to do my route any more than I’d want to do his. Very little overlaps geographically or conceptually, and the parts that do overlap are in opposite seasons on skis vs. bike.

@Joe Agreed. Your point is not lost on me. The Kickstarter project is for the extra cost associated with the documentary aspect. It would be a lot cheaper for me to disappear in the wilderness on a bike without all the cameras and mounts and battery charging gear and sending footage all over the place at every village I encounter. And I’m sure I’ll be reminded of how much I wish I didn’t have all that extra stuff to deal with (probably at 5 second intervals). If the Kickstarter hadn’t reached the minimum goal, that’s what I would have done. As Dr. Stephen T. Colbert DFA would say, “the market has spoken.”

@Bobby I do appreciate a good long-distance hiker stereotype joke though.

Posted by T.C. Worley - 02/16/2012 08:27 AM

Looking forward to the film, Andrew. Best of luck out there.

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