After a fairly lengthy hiatus, I am heading back to Anchorage in the near future for a series of meetings. It's full-tilt winter in ANC right now, so I'll have to pack my long-john and head lamp, it seems.
I was reacquainting myself with the Anchorage scene in anticipation of my trip and checked back on the website for Speedway Cycles. Speedway is a relatively new shop; they were not in business when I lived up there. However, they are there now. This is a nice shop - they have more "nice" bikes than anyone in ANC, and to the extent that they are well known, it's for their Fat Back bikes. These are titanium Pugsley style snow bikes and a really something to behold. Speedway has a blog that has previously escaped my attention, but it is worth checking out if you are curious about the winter biking scene in Alaska and the extreme Fat Bikes.
Alaska is heading for Dark Times, I fear. Despite the conventional wisdom that Alaska is awash in energy, it's likely that Anchorage will face rolling brown-outs this winter due to natural gas shortages. The natural gas supply for south-central Alaska comes from Cook Inlet production fields, which are depleted and in decline. No new production is replacing this source, and the vast gas reserves of the North Slope are a long way from commercialization. Even if a North Slope gas pipeline were to start today, it's unlikely that gas would be flowing for at least 7 years.
Add to this the fact the might Trans-Alaska Pipeline is flowing at less than half capacity, and for the first time since forever ConocoPhillips will not be drilling a single exploration well in Alaska next year, and that the State of Alaska gets more than 80% of it's state budget from oil and gas revenues, it looks like very dark times in deed for our Alaskan cousins.
2010 - 2020 is going to be a very challenging decade for Alaska, no two ways about it. I hope the citizens wake up to this reality very soon and get the politicians aimed in the right direction, because otherwise it's going to be very, very unpleasant.