Cycling from the top of the world

Cycling the Pan-American Highway

Cycling the Pan-American Highway

This summer (2022) Declan Faherty (Moortown Plastering) plans to cycle from Prudhoe Bay to Guatemala City in Central America – 6570 miles. This is the first half of a famous cycling route which takes you from the top of Alaska down to Argentina, the plan is to finish the last stretch next year. The trip is entirely self-funded, and he will be travelling solo.

As I write this on Sunday 1st May Declan lands in the freezing temperatures of Fairbanks International Airport, Alaska and is then flying north to Deadhorse Airport (Prudhoe Airport).

Before you all grab your bikes and hop on a plane to Alaska for the trip of a lifetime, let me explain a little about Declan and his preparations. Declan is no stranger to adventure; he has travelled all over the world and thrives on experiencing the unknown. Previous trips have provided the know-how to cope with the physical and mental hardships which are about to come. They have also shown him some of the most breath-taking sights and highlights the world has to offer. Encouraged by the memories of these travels, the feeling of freedom, the open road and the unpredictable, he’s keen to get on his bike again.

The journey starts on at the top of the world travelling down icy roads in Alaska to the Canadian Yukon – ‘The Top of the World Highway’ proving some dramatic alpine landscapes, but also some freezing conditions. Planning to sleep outside, for most of the journey, the Arctic tundra in Alaska will be one of the most physically demanding stints of the trip. Travelling light is key to success, combined with the need for overnight warmth, especially as temperatures can drop to -20°C with little to no shelter. Travelling south into Canada there will be some relief as the climate gets warmer, but also the canopy of Canadian forests will provide a blessing overnight. Once warm enough the sturdy boots, gloves, additional sleeping bag and other redundant items will be posted home, and lighter boots and clothing purchased for the remainder of the trip.

“I’m 52 haven’t done an hour of training for the journey, in 3 weeks I will be as fit as I can possibly become.”

Declan Faherty

Travelling Light

Before Declan set off, I caught up with him at his home in Moortown so he could show me the few items he was planning on taking with him on the trip.

When I arrived, he had very kindly put on the complete outfit and was keen to show me the considerations he had made on selecting his kit. An awesome photo opportunity. He must have been quite warm in this get-up in his garden in late April.

Some of you many know Declan, he may have even expertly plastered your home following an advert in THAT LEEDS MAG.

The main piece of equipment, the bike, has its own story.

A local scrap man, a friend of Declan’s recovered the bike from a local skip. At just 2 years old this Ridgeback® Hybrid Touring Mountain Bike has been spruced up and made ready for its adventure.
What a lucky find! Both Declan and the bike will be stretched to their limits.

Simple lightweight bike helmet – Which will remain on his head during most nights
CATEYE® – Lights (chargeable and battery powered)
Waterproof lightweight saddle bag containing:
Snugpak® Special Forces Bivvi Bag
Snugpak® Sleeper Lite
The North Face® Thermal Sleeping Bag
Therm-a-Rest – Trail Pro™ Sleeping Pad

Another key piece of equiptment is this Carradice satchel. As you can see from its patched and stitched appearance it is well travelled. This hardwearing bag has visited 65 countries with Declan. I wonder if it will return with some new patches.

Declan has budgeted £20 per day for this 3 month trip. He aims to cycle a whopping 70 miles per day. The intention is to make it to Guatemala City by the end of July, leave the bike in storage and fly home. If not Guatemala City then he will fly home from wherever he is at the end of July. Picking up where he left off next year to continue to Ushuaia, Argentina.
I will be posting regular updates of Declan’s travels here

You can follow along with Declan on instagram. 

I’m excited for him, good luck Declan!

Find out more about the route here.

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