Keys to Freeze began with a name. I was outside, high on caffeine, and tired of the routine.
I emailed Brady. Told him I wanted to do something, anything, called Keys to Freeze. We teased out the details—a bike tour from the Florida Keys to … where? Mt. Rainier. That served for a while. Then we realized Alaska was far colder. Fine, then. Alaska. Let’s climb Denali. But there was a problem. Then and now we know nothing of mountaineering. To the top of Alaska. To Deadhorse.
That conversation was two Octobers ago. The next year we let it sit—let it simmer—and I would talk about it only as a joke. “Yeah, so we’re going to cycle to Alaska next year. Yup. We’re pretty cool.”
Then I did Bike & Build, met Tyler, and called Brady.
“Dude,” I said. “We have another for Keys to Freeze.”
“Dude,” he said. “I met someone who knows how to build websites.”
We launched last September, and from there have been planning our February 24th departure. In the space between Fall and Winter our group bloomed to six. We registered with Climate Ride as an Independent Challenge. We formed a relationship with the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) and so will be cycling to raise funds and awareness for both Climate Ride and the NPCA—participating in service projects within our parks, filming and interviewing and writing as we work towards producing a documentary and novel of our experiences.
But it’s a weathered tomb—this production centered around environmental awareness, around life on the road.
We’re here to change up the dialogue, and it begins with our team, our six, all with different backgrounds and cycling experience.
Brady is a media producer, endurance runner, and proud father of Esteban, a stuffed penguin who rode with Brady on Bike & Build in 2011.
Megan is an artist who funds her creative projects working as a nuclear decontaminator. She’s completed an unprecedented three tours with Bike & Build and can eat a sack of cold hotdogs if pressed.
George we call Gorgeous. Or Georgeous. After his leg of Bike & Build he got a real job, but not for much longer. We’re taking him with us, and putting his skills as a photographer to use.
Tyler is a nurse, outdoor enthusiast, unparalleled optimist. He has the ability to gain weight exclusively in his thighs and chest, a twenty pound feat demonstrated last summer on Bike & Build.
Rachel is our hype-queen, a chuck-a-minute, a good old Florida girl new to this side of adventure. Having never done an extended bike tour we’re excited to have her fresh perspective on the road.
And me. My name is Reese, and I’m a writer with a coffee habit. I want a life beyond the four walls, and Keys to Freeze is the start.
Take a good look at us … what a bag of goofs.
We want a different kind of adventure—an experience worth sharing, a compelling series of stories for the Bikepacker community. In the months to come here is what you can expect from us: six profiles on the individuals of Keys to Freeze, a pre-trip gear guide, a mid-trip gear guide update, and notes from the road. We’re here to share with you what works, what doesn’t … the details of a long and unsupported cycling tour.
Watching Keys to Freeze grow into something bigger than a buddy trip north has been a humbling experience, one that was unexpected with the first fevered email to Brady those months ago.
And now here we are. Two weeks out from adventure. We are six at the southern shore, bent on the wild of Alaska. The 9,000 miles between the Keys and Deadhorse are waiting, and we’re ready to put the rubber down.
When we begin our trip on February 24th follow us on our website, www.keystofreeze.com. We’ve also partnered with Narratively, an online publication that will be featuring Keys to Freeze for the trip’s duration. Our focus will be a weekly multimedia—video, stills, and print—serial highlighting the stories of people we meet along the road.