A Yellowknife man will set out to complete a long time dream of his next week as he begins to bike across across the country with hopes of promoting the NWT.
Eric Chalker, 23, will spend the next five months transporting a geocache logbook from Tofino, B.C. to a park near Saint John’s, Nfld., on his Surly Hand Disc Trucker bicycle.
“I’m going to take a geocache, the one from Tofino and drop it off in Saint Spear,” Chalker said. “Because you can log it right, you can say this item came from this geocache, that’s so cool.”
Chalker said the idea to bike from the Pacific to the Atlantic first came to him in the summer of 2015 when a friend told him that he had recently completed a similar trip, but suggested that there should be a reason behind doing a trip of that length. Chalker, who was studying tourism at Victoria Island University at the time, decided that he would use the trip to promote the NWT to Southern Canada.
“Northerners are the best advocates for the North,” Chalker said “So I was like maybe I should do something on northern tourism and northern exposure.”
In order to prepare for this trip, Chalker took part in last year’s Yellowknife to Hay River ride with the Yellowknife Multisport Club, as well as regularly making trips up and down the Ingraham trail.
Chalker said that originally he was planning on doing a large-scale promotional tour with planned stops along the way as well as media drop ins. However, with financial and time constraints coming into play he’s had to scale the ride down to word of mouth messaging alongside daily blog and Instagram posts.
“I was going to try to make it a big thing and along the way I would stop at places where tourists go, like hostels or campgrounds or wherever and just spread the word about the North,” Chalker said “I was going to get people to follow me this summer and reach out to as many people as possible and say ‘follow me next summer because I’ll be traveling up North’”
The original plan was for Chalker to follow up this year’s trip with a ride from Vancouver to Tuktoyaktuk on the newly-opened Inuvik-to-Tuk Highway, but that might no longer be a possibility.
“Due to time and money that’s kind of like a hard thing to do,” said Chalker. “Maybe I’ll still do something, maybe I’ll go from Whitehorse to Tuk, who knows.”
While that trip is now in doubt, Chalker says that he is still hoping to add more sponsors on to this year’s lone supporter, Aurora Village, in order to still make it a possibility.
Chalker plans on reaching out to different people he knows in Southern Canada that have visited Yellowknife in order to tell their stories on his personal blog to support the cross-country trip.