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Back in the saddle: Popular Alaska-Yukon bike relay returns June 17

Registration opens March 15 with spots for 1,200 cyclists
Racers from the Kluane Chilkat International Bike Relay head south on the Haines Highway. Organizers have announced the 2023 race is planned to go ahead on June 17, with registration opening March 15. Yukon News file photo

The Kluane Chilkat International Bike Relay will return in June after a three-year hiatus.

The relay had been an annual tradition for years up until 2020, when it was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Another two years of cancellations for the in-person relay from Haines Junction to Haines, Alaska followed as the pandemic and border restrictions continued.

The relay features teams of two, four and eight as well as solo cyclists riding the Haines Highway between the Yukon and Alaska communities.

“After three years of cancellations due to COVID and cross border challenges, we are excited to be in full swing, ready to welcome all riders, volunteers and support crews on Saturday, June 17, 2023,” KCIBR president Rob Welton says. “We really are looking forward to seeing everyone back in the saddle again.”

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Online registration opens March 15 at 6 a.m. in all categories — solo, two, four and eight-person men, women and mixed teams.

For the first time, the race will allow e-bikes for eight-person teams only. They are not required for every rider on the team and any eight-person team with an ebike may not place in first, second or third.

Spots in the relay are typically filled within days as the race attracts riders both locally and from other parts of Canada, the U.S. and other parts of the globe.

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Race officials expect all 1,200 rider spots to be filled this year. May 12 is the deadline for registration, but many categories are typically filled well-before the deadline. Along with the 1,200 rider cap, there’s a limit of 95 teams in the eight-person category.

Find rules, start times and other information at

With motor vehicles continuing to be a primary safety concern, signage and messaging to participants will focus on safe, cautious driving habits.

All visitors to Alaska, including riders on Leg 7 of the race are required to show a passport at U.S. Customs. Cyclists will have to dismount and show their passport. It is best for leg 7 riders to be US or Canadian citizens. Participants should check the KCIBR website for details about clearing customs, officials said.

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Participants wanting to purchase a souvenir T-shirt must do so by April 7. Orders can placed online while registering teams. Whitehorse artist Monika Melnychuk designed the shirt in 2020 and it can be seen on the KCIBR website on the registration page.

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Stephanie Waddell

About the Author: Stephanie Waddell

I joined Black Press in 2019 as a reporter for the Yukon News, becoming editor in February 2023.
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