Travis Naibert was elected as vice president of the Fairbanks Cycle Club at the FCC Annual Meeting in October. Here’s a Q and A and some pics so that we can all get to know him a little better. Thank you for being willing to serve Travis
How long have you lived in Fairbanks?
What keeps you here?
I enjoy all the seasons here, but winter is my favorite, especially Feb/March as the days get longer. I have always loved getting out in the wilderness and it is amazing how many different adventures we can have around Fairbanks, both close to town and in any direction. It is a beautiful place, and I am nowhere near exhausting my list of trips. Also, my fiancé just started a graduate program at UAF, so we will be here a few more years at least.
When did you start cycling?
When I was 9 or 10 my mother gave my father a Trek Antelope mountain bike as a gift and he started mountain biking, so of course I wanted to ride too. It took a couple years before I was barely tall enough for the Trek and my dad upgraded to another bike and started taking me on forest roads. I got an orange Stumpjumper with a RockShox fork for my 13th birthday and continued from there.
What type(s) of cycling do you enjoy? Why?
I grew up in western Oregon riding gravel logging roads and tight, rooty, singletrack. Mountain biking has always been my favorite, especially technical climbing. Flowy trails are nice sometimes, too. I like going new places and exploring. I had a road bike for a few years, but I have grown to dislike fast cars and narrow, trashy shoulders. Of course, since moving here I have really enjoyed fat biking. Depending on snow conditions it is like a smooth road ride or a gnarly technical mountain bike ride, sometimes on the same trail in the same week or in the same ride. I also love the winter light in Alaska.
Do you have a favorite piece of cycling equipment? If so, what and why?
I have owned a bunch of new and old bikes in my life, but I seem to gravitate to the older bikes I can both ride and tinker with. That includes my current Surly Pugsley. I love the way a steel bike frame looks without the bulkier tube shapes of aluminum/carbon fiber frames. I am sure I will eventually upgrade my fat bike, but for now it is working for me both winter and summer. I would say my other favorite cycling equipment are my pogies/framebag, and my partner’s pogies/framebag, because I decided to sew them all myself. They are unique, and they thankfully haven’t fallen apart in the middle of a ride yet after two years.
Do you have a place you like to go cycling around Fairbanks?
My favorite summer trails are Secret and Afterhours at Skyline Ridge Park – the perfect blend of roots and tight turns. In winter, I most frequently ride around the pipeline near Love Road south of Chena Hot Springs Road because it is close to my house, dog friendly, and there are loop options from 30 minutes to 2+ hrs.
Do you have a memorable story you’d like to share from your cycling experiences?
Too many stories to tell here. One story I remind myself of frequently is from college, back when I owned a road bike. I had a friend I rode with who was always way stronger than I was. We decided to go for an 80-mile ride one weekend. There was a store on the route around halfway, so we didn’t really bring much food. When we got there, my friend realized he had forgotten his wallet, and I had only brought $5. We bought some snacks and split them.
Around mile 65 he started bonking really bad. We slowed dramatically. With five miles to home we pulled into another convenience store and, without any money, I asked the clerk if I could have a candy bar for my riding partner and offered to leave my multitool as collateral.
With that candy bar, my friend made it home, and even started pulling again the last couple miles. After some snacks I had to ride my bike back out to pay for the candy bar and get my multitool. My friend crushed me on our next ride together as usual.
Moral of the story is even the fastest riders need snacks. I still often forget this lesson until mid-ride, unfortunately.
How have you been involved in the cycling community?
I haven’t been formally involved before, but I am excited for the opportunity to meet more cyclists and promote biking for fun and transportation around Fairbanks. I want to get more involved in promoting cycling infrastructure around Fairbanks.
What do you do when you are not cycling?
I run quite a bit in the summer. I volunteer ski patrol at Ski Land in the winter.
Why did you choose to serve on the FCC Board of Directors?
Eric Troyer asked me on a ride, and it sounded like a good way to get involved.