We headed out of Deadhorse in the morning chill, temps in the mid-40s, which the locals would call ‘balmy’ conditions. It’s all relative. The first 50 or so miles cut across the tundra on a layered gravel top, relatively hard in the tire wells, with increasing stone accumulation toward the edge of the road. Without any notice, the road turned to deeper gravel, 1-2 inches high, and the bikes became squirrelly. Jun was in the lead, I was right behind, our bikes both started to slalom. We reduced speed and plowed ahead. I looked in my side mirror, and saw everyone behind me had stopped. Someone had gone down.
Jun and I circled back. Everyone was standing when we reached the group, and were huddled around Brady’s bike. Turns out Brady got caught up in the high gravel on the edge of the road, and wasn’t quite able to get out. Brady is an experienced rider who vacations in Baja with his F650, so we knew he must have hit a bad patch and couldn’t squeeze out. Given the conditions of the road, I’m thankful more of us didn’t go down, it was a nasty surprise. Brady was up and standing, no injuries, something else to be thankful for, it was time for damage assessment on the bike.
You can see more of the bike and road conditions in the southbound video, which I’ll embed at the end of this post.
Although the bike was rideable to Fairbanks, we later learned that without a front fender, rain & road spray off the front wheel would come up and hit Brady right on the visor, essentially blinding him with water and mud. So James and Brady rigged a temporary fender that worked through the brief showers we ran into on the remainder of the southbound leg.
We ran into Matt and Jason at the Hotspot Cafe…two brothers from the UK now living in Atlanta. They have their own ride report in production here.
Short three minute video of the southbound ride, including the accident. Check out the skeeter swarm and James’ booties while we assess the bike.