After two years, four bicycles, a debilitating wreck, and hours of research and fundraising, Will Adams finally leaves for Alaska next week.
Then the real work begins.
The premise is simple: ride 15,000 miles south from the Arctic Circle to the bottom of the Western Hemisphere on motorized bicycles. Along the way, Adams and his riding partner, Matt Riley, aim to raise awareness about a lack of clean drinking water in developing countries.
Setting out on a pan-American journey in October is not ideal; a good portion of the seven- to nine-month trip will be in freezing temperatures. But Adams, 28, is done waiting.
In February 2011, he was hit by a car on Jackson Road during a training ride. The accident tore nine ligaments in his right knee and destroyed his test bike. Surgery and intense therapy sidelined the trip for months.
Adams said Tuesday that his knee is working at about 80 percent capacity and protected by a brace, which is good enough for him and his doctor.
The downtime was spent perfecting the bikes, their trailers and the equipment that will keep them safe and warm throughout the trip. The result is a mountain bike frame with oversize tires powered by a four-
stroke engine that gets up to 200 miles per gallon. A Global Positioning System is mounted on the handlebars.
Sponsors have provided cold-weather gear and top-shelf equipment to document the trip.
Adams has charted as best he can what to expect along the journey. The first half along North America’s western shore carries the danger of hypothermia. On the plus side, Adams said, grizzly bears will be hibernating and there won’t be mosquitoes.
Mexico’s drug violence is another problem. There’s no getting around it, so Adams plans to push through the north of the country as fast as possible.
Last-minute preparations consume most of Adams’ time, but occasionally he stops and contemplates just how close he is to the edge of adventure. Fear and excitement are strong.
“It’s hard to process,” Adams said.