Canadian Cycling Magazine

The mom and the minivan at the end of the subarctic trek


Buck Miller, Eric Batty and Ryan Atkins pedalled fat bikes 721 km along the Wapusk trail from Peawanuck, Ont., to Gillam, Man. They faced temperatur­es close to -40 C and had to sleep within the perimeter of a polar fence, which relies on a blank shotgun shell to frighten a bear away and alert the guys to danger. Their bikes weighed more than 100 lb. In mid-march, when they pulled into Gillam after eight days in the woods, they became the first men to ride the world’s longest winter road on fat bikes. Then, it was time to start their journey back home. That’s where Buck’s mom, Trudy, came in.

“Most expedition­s don’t end with your mom picking you up in a minivan and driving you home,” said Miller with a laugh.

For Buck and company, their trip began with a flight from Timmins, Ont., to Peawanuck. The plane was loaded with all of their gear. Trudy left for Gillam from her place on the Ottawa River, north of Algonquin Park, about 2,976 km away. When they all connected in northern Manitoba, everything, and everyone, crammed into the minivan. The humble vehicle greatly simplified logistics for the riders. A flight out of Gilliam would have added to their costs and the complexity of their trek.

Trudy’s presence was also much more than lift back home. “She’s a superhero for driving all the way there,” Atkins said. “And it was nice to see a friendly face and to get into a warm, heated vehicle. On the trail, you could never let your guard down. You were always doing something to survive: melting snow for water, keeping your sleeping bag dry or just staying warm. But once you got into that minivan, it was like, ‘OK. We’re good.’”

 ??  ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada