Fat Miles

In is now common to see winter bicyclists everywhere in Fairbanks sporting the latest in fat tire technology and wearing state-of-the-art clothing enabling them to ride no matter what the conditions. Many Fairbanksans think this is a new thing, however, winter cycling has been around since the Klondike Gold Rush. The following newspaper article clearly shows how Pioneers used bicycles during winter to determine accurate distances between roadhouses along what today is known as Chena Hot Springs Road.

Fairbanks Daily Times- January 29, 1913


The trail between Fairbanks and the Big Chena Hot Springs is in admirable condition, according to Thomas G. King, the dog-musher, who came in Sunday evening from the upriver health resort with one passenger who was Julius Stolcis. On the way down he met a number of mushers on the way, including Jack Phillips with two loads of freight for George Wilson at the springs.

It is the intention of Mr. King to leave this morning, if the weather permits, on his return trip. He will take along as a passenger Ole Forsley, who is badly crippled with rheumatism and has been unable to move for many weeks.

The work on the trail by the road commission this fall served to take out many of the bad spots, and as a result the trial is better now than it has been at any time since the advantages of the springs as a health resort became known. The cold weather is the only drawback for comfortable travel.

Recently, Henry Joki, the barber, made the run down from the springs on a bicycle, and the distances marked off with his cyclometer were as follows:

Fairbanks to Little Chena roadhouse – 13 ¼ miles.
Little Chena roadhouse to Jennie M. roadhouse – 9 miles.
Jennie M. roadhouse to Colorado roadhouse – 12 miles.
Colorado roadhouse to Gregg’s roadhouse – 17 ¼ miles.
Gregg’s roadhouse to the springs – 10 miles.

Total distance to springs from Fairbanks is 61 ½ miles. Signs have been placed at each of the roadhouses marking the distances, and the convenience has been greatly appreciated by many mushers.

Note: Thomas King, Julius Stolcis, Jack Phillips, George Wilson and cyclist Henry Joki were all members of Men’s Igloo No. 4. Gregg’s roadhouse was owned by Shulyer “Colafax” Gregg whose grave lies next to the Yukon Quest trail near the Angel Rocks. He was buried at the location of his roadhouse which burned many years ago. The only remaining roadhouse on that list is what remains of the Colorado roadhouse. 

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