Photos by Mark Watson
When our friends Mark Watson and Hana Black from New Zealand pedaled out of Deadhorse, Alaska, seven years ago, they never could have imagined themselves riding the length of the Americas until 2023. In fact, they’d planned for it to take just two years.
Between 2016 and 2020, they made their way through 16 countries, charting a number of original bikepacking routes and writing a series of excellent stories for The Bikepacking Journal. The COVID-19 pandemic halted their progress in Coyhaique, Chile, and they were forced to return home to New Zealand. They waited three years to return and complete their ride, which was always at the forefront of their minds.
Late last year, the couple returned to South America to resume their journey from Mendoza, Argentina, and they rolled into Ushuaia on April 28. Theirs was one of our favorite Pan-American journeys to follow, and we’re thrilled for them and their completion of this chapter.
Reflecting on the experience in a post shared on Revelate Designs’ Instagram account, Mark wrote: “We never imagined our dream of touring the Americas would become such a large part of our lives, but after a year on the road, we came to realize that the ride provided for every base need we experience as humans and left us wanting nothing more. It ticked every box, with physical and mental challenges, connection with the environment, social contact, learning and opportunities for creativity.”
He added, “There’s a huge amount of satisfaction in arriving in Ushuaia finally, but what’s been most important is filling every step of the journey with as much wonder and challenge as possible and trying to make each day memorable. We have seen and experienced so many things we could never have imagined.”
Congratulations, Hana and Mark! We can’t wait to see what’s in store for your next ride, and we thank you for sharing your routes, stories, photos, and videos with us these past years.
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