Adventure motorcyclist shares story at ACES
ASPEN – Aspen has more than its share of adventure-sports junkies, but few have the stamina and mental toughness to tackle Anthony Todaro’s most recent endeavor.
Todaro’s 35-day adventure motorcycle trip last year took him from Aspen to Alaska and the Arctic Circle and then back along the Pacific Coast before returning to town. He covered 11,400 miles, including about 2,000 on dirt.
His riding buddies were Dave Reeves and Paul Neilson, of Aspen, though each of the three took slightly different twists and turns on the journey. They didn’t travel the whole way together.
“We went to ride the world,” Todaro said. “The romance of being able to take off and see different parts of the world is a big part (of the motivation).”
Todaro will share his story along with maps and slides as part of the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies’ winter Potbelly Perspectives winter program. His presentation is called “Aspen to the Arctic Circle on Two Wheels.” It will be held at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in the ACES classroom.
For more than 30 years, Potbelly Perspectives has provided a perfect venue for Aspenites to share their adventure-travel stories. There is a diverse lineup this winter designed to draw in fresh faces to an audience that has weekly die-hards, according to Eliza Greenman, ACES marketing coordinator.
Todaro, 35, an Aspen native and restaurant worker, took off when the snow was still flying in Aspen and throughout the Rocky Mountains in late May. Their goal, out of necessity, was to cover 500 miles per day. The trip was essentially the equivalent of traveling from Aspen to Denver and back twice per day for 30 days.
“It was tough. You were sore at the end of the day,” Todaro said.
He had a 2010 KTM Adventure R motorcycle capable of on- and off-road travel for the journey. They snaked up through the U.S. Rocky Mountain states, then headed to Banff and Jasper National Park in Alberta. They saw grizzly and black bears, deer, foxes and a variety of other wildlife.
They hooked into the Alaska-Canadian Highway, then Reeves and Todaro made the conscious decision to travel the Campbell Highway, a mostly gravel route before taking the gravel Dempster Highway to the Arctic Circle.
There is a very small world of adventurist cyclists, and Todaro and his colleagues thought they might be the first cyclists of the season on their route. They soon discovered they weren’t. They ran into other riders on the road.
The only time the journey got really rough, he said, was when it rained or snowed for consecutive days. He estimated precipitation was a problem two-thirds of the trip. They were on a budget so they were camping. The rain and snow made it tough to get motivated to break camp and get back on the road.
The rewarding part of the trip was the seclusion and knowing it would require several days to get anywhere – the kind of feeling that travelers in the Old West must have felt, Todaro said. In an era when a person can get half-way around the world in 24 hours, it was rewarding to think that it would take him 10 days of hard travel to get back to Aspen from the Arctic Circle, Todaro said.
Covering that many miles in that short of time didn’t allow for much sight-seeing. Most of the pictures in his slide show are of his bike in different scenic settings, so if you don’t like motorcycles, he said, the presentation might not be for you. But Todaro tells a good tale and his enthusiasm for adventure cycling shines through.
His big trip, though, gave him pause about an even longer journey hanging around in the back of his mind. He wants to travel from Aspen to the tip of South America. Traveling to the Arctic Circle put that into perspective. He covered more than 11,000 miles – little more than one-half the miles needed to go to the southern tip of Argentina.
Don’t count Todaro out. He aims to see the world on the two wheels.
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