Interior Alaska summers are made for bike lovers. The combination of the midnight sun, balmy temperatures, clear skies and epic views provide a perfect environment for two-wheeled adventure. Whether you choose a leisurely pedal through area neighborhoods or a longer trip into the gentle hills surrounding town, a bike trip is a must for visitors who want to experience everything Fairbanks has to offer.
Fairbikes offers daily bike rentals via a phone app at an average cost of $5 per hour for casual use. Users can also opt to purchase a month-long membership for $20, which brings the rental cost down to $1 an hour.
The bright red-and-yellow, three-speed bikes come complete with a basket, a bell and a “really comfy seat,” according to Fairbikes co-founder John Stowman. The bikes can be picked up at and dropped off at 15 stations around town, including Golden Heart Plaza downtown, the UA Museum of the North, the Farmer’s Market on College Road and Pioneer Park.
The Fairbikes app is available on the Apple App Store for iPhones and Google Play for Android devices. The app shows locations of available bikes, processes payment and unlocks the bike from its station. Visit www.fairbikes.com for more information and step-by-step instructions on how to use the app.
Another fun bike rental experience is offered by CanoeAlaska. The company offers standard, road and fat bike rentals and is open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily from May 18 to Labor Day weekend. A popular adventure option is the Downtown Bike and Boat package, in which you float the Chena River on an inflatable kayak or stand up paddle board and bike back to the start on a wide, paved riverfront trail.
CanoeAlaska’s bike rental packages range from four hours to weekly. More information is available at
canoealaska.com or by calling 907-457-2453.
The Alaska Public Lands Information Center at the Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center maintains a list of businesses that rent bikes and other equipment.
Information can be found online at alaskacenters.gov.
Some city streets are safer than others for biking, so local governments have created an online map with preferred bike routes in Fairbanks and North Pole. The online map can be found at http://fmats.us/bikeways_map/ and a paper copy is available at the Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center.
A good half-day bike trip is the 16-mile bike path that follows Farmers Loop. The route climbs into the hills north of Fairbanks, giving a great view of the city and the snow-covered mountains of the Alaska Range more than 100 miles to the south.
Other road bike excursions from Fairbanks include trips to the town of Ester (about 20 miles round-trip from downtown Fairbanks) and Fox (about 25 miles round trip). A bike path alongside Chena Pump Road ends at the Tanana Wayside and Boat Launch on Chena Pump Road, offering bicyclists a 9-mile roundtrip accessible from various shared-used bike paths around Fairbanks.
Popular mountain bike areas include Birch Hill Recreation Area and the University of Alaska Fairbanks trails. Both are used by skiers in the winter and are popular with bikers in the summer. For a more challenging mountain bike trip, try the single-track trails on Ester Dome.