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Coupeville man shares struggles, trip

Patrick Rodden shares his adventures and struggles Monday at the Coupeville Library. - Nathan Whalen photo
Patrick Rodden shares his adventures and struggles Monday at the Coupeville Library.
— image credit: Nathan Whalen photo

As he shares his adventures bike riding to the Arctic Circle, Patrick Rodden is currently facing a different challenge.

He spent more than a year recovering from injuries sustained in a 15-foot fall while he was putting the finishing touches on the renovation of his South Whidbey home. That accident took place two years after he made his trek, which drew the attention of regional media.

As to what caused the accident, he’s not really sure.

“The reality is I can’t remember a single second for two years,” Rodden said.

He has been able to piece together some information about what happened in April 2009. That night he was supposed to have dinner with his mom. When he didn’t arrive for the meal, his mom traveled to his house and discovered him bleeding in his home.

Rodden was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle where he underwent numerous surgeries for 11 weeks, before he was transported to a skilled nursing facility operated by Providence Regional Medical Center, according to information he posted at www.caringbridge.com

During his stay in Everett, he had to relearn everything needed to live independently and he wasn’t released from the facility until November 2010.

Now living in Coupeville, Rodden still enjoys sharing his tale of his bike that took him from South Whidbey Island to Inuvik, which is located north of the Arctic Circle in Canada’s Northwest Territories.

When he decided to undertake the ride, he was 46 years old and as he approached retirement age, he said he didn’t want to look back at what he could have done differently.

More than 30 people showed up to a Monday evening event that was sponsored by the Friends of the Coupeville Library. It took place in the library’s meeting room.

Rodden started his journey from South Whidbey Island, which included a 300-mile ferry ride and nearly 2,000 miles of bike riding. It took him 31 days to complete the bike ride.

“The Yukon is absolutely an astounding place and most people totally overlook it,” Rodden said. He is quick to rattle off a series of facts showing how sparsely populated the Canadian territory is.

The Yukon has one person per every seven square miles with a total population of 41,000 people. He met around 20 bicyclists from all over the world who were biking through the territory. He met a couple from Spain and Switzerland. He noted one couple who was biking from Northern Alaska to the East Coast.

He was asked about bears that he encountered and he said he saw more than a dozen bears and they left him alone.

Another audience member asked if he had any mechanical difficulties during his trip and Rodden responded that he was fortunate he didn’t have any breakdowns.

Rodden showed dozens of photos of the Yukon and Northwest territories, which focused on the absence of development and people.

“It’s an absolutely beautiful trip and there’s nobody up there,” Rodden said.

He also pointed out that the excursion was affordable. The adventure cost him around $2,600 and the majority of that was spent on the plane ride from Inuvik to Seattle.

For more information about Rodden’s journey to Canada, go to crazyguyonabike.com/beyondtheyukon and to learn about his accident, go to www.caringbridge.org/visit/roddern

 

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