Alaska to Patagonia

Bikepacking the Length of the Americas

This page and series of blog posts follows Mark Watson and Hana Black’s transcontinental cycling journey, following the length of the Americas: from Deadhorse, Alaska to Ushuaia, Argentina. A distance of over 40,000 kilometres.

We’re expecting close to four years on the road and have been stitching together a route that stays off paved highways and in the back country and mountains as much as possible, generally following the American Cordillera.

We started on June 6, 2016 with the arctic Dalton Highway and the Denali, Taylor and Top of the World Highways. Then crossing Canada via the Klondike, Alaska, Stewart Cassiar and Yellowhead Highways, through to the Icefields Parkway which we followed down to Banff. From there we joined the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route through the cold fall months right through to Hachita, New Mexico; just short of the Mexican border.

We then headed west across the deserts of South Western USA to San Diego, arriving in early December 2016. The incredible Baja Divide came next followed by a circuitous route through Mexico’s altiplano and the southern Sierra Madre. From Chiapas we crossed into Peten, Guatemala then to Belize and back into Guatemala, which we crossed from east to west into the highlands. A cross country adventure through Honduras followed, then Nicaragua (briefly), Costa Rica and Panama. In late Nov 2017 we flew to Cuba to ride then Ruta Mala (3 weeks), and then to Colombia where we spent 4.5 months. The Trans Ecuador Mountain Bike Route took us through to Peru and its incredible mountains, and that’s where we are now.

We blog about highlights of the journey and other aspects of bike packing as we go, so check back in for updates and ride inspiration. Most recent posts can be viewed below.

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We’re proud to be featured in

Kathmandu’s World Ready

Campaign

Kathmandu sent out a film crew and photographer to trail us for three days while we were riding the Peru Divide. Check out the 6 minute mini-doco below.

Read more about
Mark & Hana

Click on the photos for full bios.

Mark Watson

Navigator / Photographer

Mark is a New Zealand-based photographer and author specialising in landscape, adventure and travel photography. He has a professional background in publishing and graphic design. His passion for climbing, cycling and photography have taken him all over New Zealand and many places overseas in search of the perfect move, the ultimate track and epic light.

In 2013 Mark co-authored his first book, Our Mountains, incorporating over 100 images featuring 15 New Zealand mountains. This was followed in 2015 by the acclaimed Te Araroa – Walking New Zealand's 3000 km trail – a photographic exploration of the landscapes of New Zealand's long distance trail. In September 2016, Photographing Aoraki Mount Cook – A guide to the best walks and photography locations, was published.

Mark's photos have been been published internationally in books, magazines, advertising, catalogues, calendars and websites. He is a regular contributor to Wilderness Magazine.

Mark is a big believer in synergy between partners: that by combining the skills of two you can achieve more. To the team he brings an unquenchable curiosity and drive to explore, an open mind, and an endless stream of ‘what’s next’ ideas – combined with a drive to document and share his and Hana’s adventures to a wide audience, in the hope of encouraging people off the couch and into the outdoors.

Hana Black

Logistics / Language

Hana’s love of exploring the great outdoors inspired her career as an outdoor clothing designer and developer for several well known New Zealand businesses including Earth Sea Sky, Cactus Equipment and Kathmandu. It has also led her on many forays into the mountains and wilderness, both backpacking and bikepacking, often putting her own creations to the test.

One of her most notable achievements has been completing the 3000 km Tour Aotearoa length of New Zealand brevet solo in twenty days in early 2016 - the perfect training ride for her current day job as a trans-continental bikepacker.

Hana contributes her organisational skills to the team by focusing on logistics. Ensuring chocolate and caffeine requirements can be met in remote locations involves detailed map reading and careful calculations between resupply points. Communication with locals and playing a starring role in Marks many photography sessions are also top priorities.

Here’s our latest blog posts.

Bike Packing

Bikepacking Basics: a Beginners Guide to Multi-day Dirt Rides

Introduction Bikepacking is a new name for an old sport: multi-day mountain biking or dirt-road touring with an emphasis on travelling light and seeking adventurous routes. Ever since the late 1800’s intrepid cyclists have strapped…
Alaska to Argentina

Perú: Arequipa – Copacabana, via Volcan Ubinas

More Cones and Canyons. This post comes from just inside the Bolivia border, at Copacabana. It has been a fascinating and tough 10 day ride from Arequipa to here, once more crossing the Continental Divide…
Alaska to Argentina

Andes Bikepacking Gear List

Welcome to our gear list V3.0. After two years and four months non-stop on the road since we left Deadhorse, Alaska in June 2016 our list has changed considerably, we've ditched items we thought we could…
Featured

How & what we pack for bikepacking in the Andes - the full list.

Read about it here
Featured

Route finding & Navigation: how to get off the beaten track.

Read about it here
Current Location

We send our evening location each night we’re on the move via InReach.

See Our Route

Recorded each day with our Garmin GPS & uploaded to Google Maps.

Message & Location

Contact us free anywhere via satellite messaging. Checked every evening.

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Creating content for this site – as much as we love it – is time consuming and adds to travel costs. Every little bit helps, and your contributions motivate us to work on more bicycle travel-related content.
Contribution options

We’re stoked to have some very supportive sponsors on board for our Alaska to Patagonia journey.

Revelate DesignsKathmandu and Biomaxa are supporting us, along with Hope Technology and Pureflow (site hosts).

• Revelate Designs engineer the best suite of bike packing bags in the world and we’re proud to be pedalling south with their gear.

• Kathmandu provide us with clothing and accessories to keep us warm and dry in the Andes.

• Keeping the bikes operating sweetly are Biomaxa, a small NZ company producing environmentally friendly lanolin-based cycle lubricants and chamois cream.