Augustans to begin pan-American bicycle ride next week

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After two years, four bicycles, a debilitating wreck, and hours of research and fundraising, Will Adams finally leaves for Alaska next week.

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Will Adams, 28, plans to ride his custom, engine-powered bike from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, at the bottom of Argentina.  MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
Will Adams, 28, plans to ride his custom, engine-powered bike from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, at the bottom of Argentina.

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.

FOLLOW THE TRIP

To learn more about the trip and follow their progress, visit thirstybike.org or “like” Thirsty Bike on Facebook.

Comments (8) Add comment
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dgaddis
16
Points
dgaddis 10/11/12 - 12:58 pm
1
0
Why?

Why not just ride a motorcycle instead of a homemade motorcycle?

carpediem3577634
4
Points
carpediem3577634 10/11/12 - 06:35 pm
2
0
Why not?

Perhaps to introduce a new and inexpensive way to travel. Also the bikes can most likely be pedaled to increase MPG's even more.

dgaddis
16
Points
dgaddis 10/12/12 - 07:18 am
1
0
Safety, and reliability

Safety, and reliability mainly. Also: Bigger tires. Better brakes and suspension. Somewhere to carry all their stuff (is he going to wear a backpack for 15,000 miles?). Emission control devices. A real headlight, not just a flashlight clamped the handle bars.

When painting the bike and fork he took the time to mask off the fork crown, but not the stanchions (the stanchions are the smooth pieces the fork slides up and down on – it should NOT BE PAINTED!). That leads me to have serious doubts about how well assembled and safe this rig is. I do wish them luck though, it’ll be an adventure for sure.

thirstybike
13
Points
thirstybike 10/12/12 - 09:29 am
1
0
I chose a motorized bicycle

I chose a motorized bicycle over a motorcycle for a number of reasons.
-I love bicycles and I love motorcycles but really prefer lower speeds because you get a much better feel of the places you travel through instead of everything zooming by at 70mph
-you would be hard pressed to find a motorcycle that gets 200mpg
-I can use the engine and exercise at the same time
-it is the most fun form of transportation I have ever encountered
-being able to build my own transportation and be able to fix it with just lawn mower and bicycle parts is a big deal to me

I could go on for a while but those are the main reasons

thirstybike
13
Points
thirstybike 10/12/12 - 09:34 am
1
0
As far as the paint on the

As far as the paint on the fork, I left the 100mm travel section unpainted plus a 30mm buffer area

That flashlight is brighter than most car headlights and I have used it to navigate over a thousand miles on motored bikes.

The EPA emissions standards on new small engines are pretty stringent. I don't think I've ever even seen smoke come out of the exhaust.

Plus, I will be setting the world record for the longest distance traveled by motorized bicycle. And running out of gas won't leave me stranded in the middle of nowhere.

I picked a motored bike for a reason. Or really, a lot of reasons ;)

thirstybike
13
Points
thirstybike 10/12/12 - 10:06 am
1
0
Trailer

Oh and we'll be pulling two wheeled trailers for our gear.

dgaddis
16
Points
dgaddis 10/12/12 - 11:21 am
1
0
Thanks for the insight, makes

Thanks for the insight, makes a little more sense now. You did paint the stanchions where the fork travels though (not the internal bushings, but the seals on top of the fork lowers that keep the oil in and dirt out), I'd try and clean that off (without scratching the stanchions) before you head off. The fork will work better and be less likely to start spewing oil if you get the paint off.

Good luck on the trip!

thirstybike
13
Points
thirstybike 10/12/12 - 11:55 am
1
0
10-4

10-4 thanks and we'll be posting on our website thirstybike.org and Facebook page. An expedition of this size is definitely a first on such a contraption.

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