Oscar Lang takes a short break in Telkwa along his route from Alaska to Argentina. (Marisca Bakker photo)

Oscar Lang takes a short break in Telkwa along his route from Alaska to Argentina. (Marisca Bakker photo)

Biking the Pan-American Highway for the Amazon

Oscar Lang cycling more than 48,000 kms to raise funds and awareness of the rainforest

A man biking along the Pan-American Highway to raise awareness of a charity close to his heart stopped in Telkwa on Aug 3.

Oscar Lang started in Deadhorse, Alaska, which is on the Arctic Ocean and he is riding all the way to the tip of South America, where the Pan American highway ends in Ushuaia, Argentina. He started on June 26 and he is hoping to complete his journey within 18 months.

The Pan-American Highway, which is a network of roads stretching from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, to Ushuaia, Argentina, is a distance of around 48,000 kilometres. According to the Guinness World Records, it is the world’s longest “motorable road.” Lang is taking detours and going off the beaten path where he can so it will be more kilometres than that.

He’s riding to raise funds for the Amazon Watch.

“It’s a great non-profit, works with communities to protect the Amazon rainforest,” he said. “And I’m doing this because I didn’t want to just go on this trip for my own pleasure. I wanted to help the cause that I believe in and given the climate crisis that we are in and every summer it feels more and more like, it’s getting crucial. So I wanted to do something about it and raise funds for this amazing non-profit.”

He said he decided to raise money for the Amazon Watch because the charity is environmentally focused and they also help indigenous communities.

“That is a pretty important point for me,” Lang added. “Realizing that helping them helps us, and by helping those communities we’re also protecting the rainforest there. I think every dollar has more impact there. So in that sense, it makes my trip more impactful.”

He wants to keep his travels as sustainable as possible so he started in B.C. and took a bus from Vancouver to Bellingham and then a ferry to Whittier, Alaska. From there he hitchhiked to Fairbanks and then got on a shuttle to Deadhorse. That leg of his journey took 10 days.

So far he said the highlight of his trip has been the nature and the wildlife.

“Just being able to see absolutely amazing beauty. And being in that sort of environment really makes you also realize how important it is to protect. So it’s making my trip ever more meaningful for myself.”

The most difficult part so far has been the bugs.

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“From Alaska to basically just south of the Arctic divide to about Dease Lake, the bugs had been very out in numbers. And everybody has basically told me that this is the worst bugs they’ve ever seen.”

While on his trip he has been camping and using the website warmshower.org to find places to sleep. The website is a free hospitality exchange for touring cyclists. Lang said he’s met very helpful and kind people through the website.

He hopes to raise money and awareness for the Amazon but also inspire others to travel by bike.

“I don’t think you should be afraid of thinking too big,” he said. “There’s really a lot you can do on your own power. And it’s really it’s empowering in itself. You know, you can say you’ve biked from Alaska to B.C. And for most people, that’s completely crazy. But I know it’s really doable if you put your mind to it. I think it’s a great way to kind of move into a more slower way of traveling that’s more sustainable, more friendly for our environment.”

Lang is traveling by himself and using his own money to fund it.

Anyone wishing to donate can do so at www.every.org/amazonwatch.

People can also follow along on instagram, where his handle is @oscar_lang.


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