We only met Sid for about 20 minutes, but in that time we thought you may like to meet him too.
Sid, who spends his summers working as a mountaineering guide out of Palmer, AK., is traveling across Alaska and Canada on one wheel. His only means of transportation (other than his feet) is a unicycle, what he referred to only as his cycle.
A couple days ago, JB and I saw a bicyclist walking his wheels up a hill and we thought that’s rough. Then we saw Sid, on his single wheel, a couple of hours outside Watson Lake in British Columbia. We passed him while joking about him not being able to outrun a bear, and although I didn’t say it out-loud I couldn’t help but think “why?” and “I’m so thankful for this van, leaks and all”. We then agreed that upon encountering anymore bicyclists (unicyclists?) on the Alaska Highway, we would offer them a meal or coffee.
After a long, rough morning of riding in our van we stopped at Liard Hot Springs for a pancake meal and local Canadian sightseeing. This is where Canadians ignore the recommendation to not drink alcoholic beverages in a 100*F pool, and all other bathers get some entertainment. One of the performers was very thankful when upon dropping his spirit-filled Gatorade bottle, JB picked it up (although not before enjoying his attempt to bend over and pick it up himself). His gratitude took the form of an offer to share in the whiskey, we politely declined, filled up our water tank, and hit the road again.
Sure enough, 15 minutes later, there was Sid, cycling uphill. As we drove up beside him,Sid pulled out his earbuds and huffed “sure, why the hell not” when we offered him coffee, followed by “after the hill.” We found a nice view for a coffee not too far up the road, expecting him to be 10-15 minutes (these are no small hills in British Columbia). Sure enough, he rolls in before the water even begins to boil.
JB and I didn’t want to keep him too long, as he had another 1.5hrs to go for the day and he didn’t want to cool off. He is on a “tight” schedule after being delayed 6 days in Watson Lake waiting for new cycle parts to arrive by mail. I laughed at the concept of being on a schedule while unicycling through Canada, but admired his commitment and endurance.
I asked if he took anything with his coffee, he requested sugar and said if we didn’t have any he had “plenty of sugar” with him.
In between sips he shared “mountaineering got boring so I thought I’d start cycling again,” his last big cycle was across Australia in 2009.
We asked lots of questions: (I did my best to quote Sid)
ME:Where you going? SID:Montana.. Or Wyoming.. Or Denver, depending on how I feel, but definitely Montana
ME: Where are you coming from? SID: Prudhoe bay (he took a flight into Deadhorse; for those that aren’t familiar with the location, this is far north in Alaska, must travel through snow covered mountain ranges to get back south and out of Alaska)
ME: When do you expect to be in Montana? SID: First or second week of October
ME: How fast do you travel? SID: 15km/hr unless windy and rough conditions, then about 13km/hr
ME: What do you carry/do you get cold? SID: I carry all the weight I can, I have been cold every night the past week. (maybe he was reconsidering “plenty of sugar” for another jacket).
He declined all we had to offer him from socks to water, due to weight limitations, and after asking all the questions we could muster about his journey, he hopped on his cycle and forged onward as I acted like paparazzi trailing behind him .
I hope he makes it. You can follow him on his facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/zeropointsid
As JB and I fell asleep that night, under our 3 blankets to protect us from the freezing temperatures, we couldn’t help but share how we both hoped Sid was safe and warm(ish), and we relayed the same sentiments when we woke up to a fresh layer of snow on the ground.
Maybe now i understand my dad when he says “i don’t at all understand this adventure of yours.”
We met Sid yesterday (Day 5 of our road trip, but almost day 50 of his), it is currently the evening of the 6th day that I write this post and we are just leaving Fort St. John for Prince George.