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.

DCIM107GOPRO
(Photo/George Eklund)

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.”

“Dude.”

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.

Copy of IMG_0241
(Photo/George Eklund)

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.

Keys to freeze
(Photo/George Eklund)

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.

Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 5.25.31 PM

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.

16 Comments

  1. “Dude” I’m jealous of your journey! Will you be updating through Bikepackersmagazine or do you have your own blog? I would love to follow your journey until I leave Colorado in May to start my 2nd benefit ride to the east coast via the TransAm route. I am looking forward to the documentary as well! PedalOn!!

    • Hey Eric thanks for the comment! We’ll be updating through our website, through Bikepackers, and through Narrative.ly. We have a journal on our website that will be our most consistent form of communication.

  2. There’s a bunch of us Bike & Build alums here in New Orleans, whiiiich just happens to be on your route. Any idea when you’ll make it here? I’m pretty positive there’s a few of us that would love to join you for a few miles!

  3. I live in Gainesville! I didn’t do bike and build, but I did 4K for Cancer last summer and you guys are kicking ass! Please reach out to me if you need a place to stay, or would like to meet up. Would love to talk to you guys!

    Tori

  4. I laugh at the Alaskan ‘Cities’ list… Livengood doesn’t welcome visitors and Yukon River Camp, Koyukuk River, Pump Station 4, and Happy Valley are not cities. None are permanently inhabited, only some permanently staffed. Even stranger is the lack of the real town of Wiseman NOT on the list… few places are more Alaskan than Wiseman. I applaud them and hope they make it to Alaska. I look forward to riding with them in August.

  5. Pingback: 2/10/2015: Bikepackers Magazine | Reese Wells

  6. Vicki Filiatreau

    To George Eklund, from an old friend, Pat and I wish you the best of luck on your journey! Take care and be safe!

  7. Feel free to crash here in Santa Fe; email me if you’re interested…

  8. I love following your adventures!
    Best of luck to you and your crew.
    Had I known before now, I would have had you pack Brads frog leg good luck plaque.

  9. Steve Whitaker

    I’ve ridden alone from Pensacola to San Francisco along the route your map traces, but in the other direction. I believe I had 28 days of headwinds. So, my first piece of advice is that any day your have a tailwind just keep riding. 12, 13 hours or more–with a headlamp if you have to. Ride til you fall over then get up and it again. You’ll have time to chill when the wind pins you down. Once got stuck in a truck stop in Big Springs, TX for two days with 50 mph headwinds. Got up on the third day with the same wind behind me and rode 140 miles in about 8 hours. My second piece of advice is to average 200 calories an hour every hour, 24 hours a day. Get up in the night and eat if you have to. You can go two weeks on reserves, but will bonk if you don’t eat right. Third piece of advice is skip cities. Have your friends who live in them come to YOU as you pass by. They’ll do it–what you’re doing is too cool to miss. Last piece of advice is to email when you pass through San Luis Obispo. I may be able to set you up.

  10. Pingback: Keys to Freeze : Reese Wells - Bikepackers Magazine

  11. Pingback: Keys to Freeze: George Eklund - Bikepackers Magazine

  12. Pingback: Keys to Freeze : Tyler Deming - Bikepackers Magazine

  13. Pingback: Blue Ridge Parkway Tour - Bikepacker

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *