Frequently Asked Questions
For Extended Tours
How many years has Sockeye Cycle been in business?
Sockeye Cycle was founded in 1988 by owner Thom Ely. It started as a full-service bicycle shop in Haines and began to offer daily and extended tours in 1989. In 1992 the business expanded to the neighboring town of Skagway. We guide thousands of people annually on our day trips and take out small groups for intimate extended tours throughout Alaska and Northern Canada. Read more at About Us.
How does Sockeye Cycle rank the difficulty of its tours?
You have a choice as to how difficult you want your tour to be. There are three possible rankings - easy, moderate, or strenuous. However we prefer to rank tours as ranging between these categories. If there is a section of the tour that seems too difficult, you can always ride in our support vehicle. Our most difficult route is the Canol Road Tour and our most flexible tour is the Inside Passage Tour.
Does Sockeye Cycle offer multi-sport or multi-activity tours?
While we are primarily a cycling company, on several of our tours we will either canoe, kayak, or hike as well. On the Klondike Canoe and Bike Tour you will paddle and drift with the current for three days on the Yukon River before getting on your bike. On the Inside Passage Tour there is kayaking on the ocean and lake, hikes, and a raft float included. The Canol Road Tour offers the possibility of day hikes in Northern Canada.
Who travels with Sockeye Cycle and what is the group size?
Depending on the tour, we will have people of all backgrounds and ages, couples, families, retirees, singles, and solo travellers. We intentionally keep our groups small and between 6 - 12 people for an intimate and personal touring environment. All of our guests share a passion for the outdoors and adventure.
What is included in my Sockeye Cycle tour?
Our extended tours include the following -
Expert local leadership.
Accommodations for all days of travel (camping or hotels, except last day).
All camping equipment and provisions.
Three meals and snacks for all tour days (excluding arrival and departure days).
Vehicle transportation and support
On tour bike maintenance.
Fees and permits for special sites.
Safety equipment, training and certification.
Our tours do not include airfare and travel to Alaska, lodging and meals for extra days spent in Skagway or Haines, insurance, alcholol, optional tipping to guides.
What kind of accommodations can I expect? What if I am travelling alone?
Most tours will mix stays in hotels or B&Bs with wilderness camping. We choose lodging that is reputable, local, and comfortable. Wilderness camping is an integral part of our touring experience, but it does not mean a lack of luxury. Our camping experience offers ameneties like bug nets, a dining tent, a portable toilet and shower, sleeping pads and pillows.
What is the food going to be like?
We pride ourselves on the freshly cooked food you will eat on our tours. We resupply trips 1-2 times during the tour to ensure that you have fresh food. Expect to eat dishes like our local salmon or halibut, pastas, Thai curries, and even campfire bbqs. We also serve either a warm or cold breakfast, sandwiches and salads for lunch, and a variety of snacks for you to carry throughout the day.
Who are the trip leaders?
Our trip leaders are long-time members of the Skagway and Haines community with years of experience guiding groups and travelling throughout Alaska and Canada. Our guides have persistently recieved rave reviews and we encourage you to meet the guides.
What do I need to bring with me? What is the weather going to be like?
Weather during the summer time can vary greatly from 32 F to 80 F. Be prepared for both rain and sunshine, cooler weather on the passes and drier weather in the interior. You will want to bring layered clothing, comfortable shoes for biking and hiking, and a waterproof jacket. All of our extended tours reqruire a passport. See our Gear List for more details.
Do I need to purchase travel insurance?
It is highly recommended that you purchase separate travel insurance.
What deposits and fees do I need to pay? Can I cancel my trip?
A $500 deposit holds your spot up to 60 days in advance of the tour date, after which full payment is due. There is a $200 per person administration charge applied to all cancellations. Upon receipt of written notice of cancellation, the balance of your trip fee will be refunded according to the following schedule:
60 days or more before departure: refund less $200 per person
59-30 days: 50% refund
29-14 days: 25% refund
13 days or less: no refund
For Daily Tours
Are the tours difficult?
Our tours are suitable for a full range of abilities, fitness and age. Skagway By Bike offers a tour for all ages, while our other tours have minimum ages of 10 or 13. The Klondike Bicycle Tour and the Train & Bike Tour are mostly downhill and require very little pedaling. The route is from the summit of a pass along the shoulder of a paved road. The descent is a 7 - 9% grade. The Rainforest Bicycle Tour and Triple Adventure Tour involves cycling along a flat dirt road through the temperate rain forest and out on the coastal tidal flats at an easy pace. Our Yukon By Bike Tour is the most challenging, but there is a support van to shuttle folks if they are tired.
What is the weather like? Will our tour be canceled due to weather?
Skagway is drier than other towns in SE Alaska. About 28 inches of precipitation fall annually compared to Juneau at 100". It is a windy town as it is situated at the end of a valley with a 100 mile long fjord to the south. We have rain gear, gloves, and hats available for our guests at all times. We operate rain or shine and rarely need to cancel a tour. Sometimes the summit of the pass will be foggy and to bike safely we start the tour at a lower elevation. The valley fog is unpredictable and it generally affects morning tours more than the afternoon tours.
What time are the departures?
Our departures for all of our tours vary daily. Tours start around 7:45am and finish around 8pm. The Train & Bike is our most chronologically consistent tour departing at 7:45am and 12:15pm most days. Triple Adventure Tours generally start at 8am and 1pm.
Do I need a passport?
Our tours require documentation for US and Canadian border entry. A passport and any additional immigration documentation is required for the Klondike, Train & Bike, and the Yukon By Bike tours.
I'm arriving on a cruise ship who do I make a reservation through?
If the tour that you want to do is listed as a shore excursion on the cruise lines web site for the port you are visiting it is best to book through them. We allocate block space to the ships with guaranteed departures. If the tour is not listed as an available option or you are having difficulties booking it, we can take your reservation request and confirm space through the reservations link on our web site.