A Bendite's 'Joy Ride' from Alaska to Argentina | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

A Bendite's 'Joy Ride' from Alaska to Argentina

18,215-mile bike touring trip results in a new book and national promotion tour

Kristen and Ville Jokinen's 18,215-mile, 580-day biking journey from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, to Bahía Lapataia, Argentina, started as a casual conversation on the Pacific Crest Trail and quickly turned into a trip of a lifetime. Kristen Jokinen, who's from Bend, wrote a book about the couple's epic journey, called "Joy Ride," that hit stands May 2.

click to enlarge A Bendite's 'Joy Ride' from Alaska to Argentina
Courtesy of We Lost The Map
Kristen Jokinen is from Bend, and her husband Ville Jokinen is from Finland. The couple met scuba diving in Vietnam, hiked the Pacific Crest Trail together and never looked back.

But even after that epic trip and book release, the pair still don't consider themselves "cyclists."

Kristen and Ville met scuba diving in Vietnam, fell in love, hiked the PCT, got married and have been traveling and inspiring others ever since. The Jokinens are go-getters who don't let the details wrap them up or stop them from doing crazy things.

click to enlarge A Bendite's 'Joy Ride' from Alaska to Argentina
Courtesy of We Lost The Map
“Joy Ride” details funny, scary, heartfelt memories from the two-year bike journey.

"We like to go without a plan," Kristen Jokinen said. "We like to go without a routed map. We like to just go and wing it. It's because you don't have any preconceived ideas of what something should be. Plus, sometimes when we over-plan, we just don't even start. It makes it so big. It seems so unmanageable that we don't even dive in. So, it's like 'I'll do that (the planning) later.' We don't wait because life's too short to wait."

This is the attitude the couple went into the 18,215-mile bike ride with.

"We knew nothing about bikes," she said. "We got [our bikes] about a week before [the trip.] We rode them from my parents' house on Bear Creek Road, like 10 miles up the road and back, and made sure nothing fell off. Then we boxed them up, literally, in a bike shop here with a friend of mine, John."

click to enlarge A Bendite's 'Joy Ride' from Alaska to Argentina
Courtesy of We Lost The Map
Kristen and Ville Jokinen didn’t ride their bikes more than 20 miles before starting a two-year-long journey.

Over a couple of beers, John Frey, owner of Project Bike, gave the couple a bike crash course, then Kristen and Ville were off on their journey, starting in the blistering cold of Pruhdoe Bay.

"[John] was really worried about us," Ville said.

With a budget of just $800 a month, the Jokinens found ways to make the trip work. It forced them to ask people about where to stop, where to camp, where to find resources, and they relied heavily on the kindness of strangers.

Despite the couple's little bike experience, small budget, crazy weather, long distance and quick decision to jump in, the trip changed the way they think about the world, about people, about exploring, they said. "Joy Ride" follows the journey of Kristen and Ville over the course of 580 days of bike touring. Readers get a close look into the humorous stories, scary moments and meaningful encounters.

click to enlarge A Bendite's 'Joy Ride' from Alaska to Argentina
Courtesy of We Lost The Map

Hawthorne Books is the publisher of the book, and Cheryl Strayed — author of "Wild," "Tiny Beautiful Things" and "Brave Enough" — wrote the introduction. On May 20, Barnes & Noble in Bend will host an author event for "Joy Ride" and give the public an opportunity to ask questions and dive deeper into Kristen's first published book. An after party takes place at Crux. Paul Evers, one of the co-founders of Crux, created the maps that readers will find in the book.

After the Bend book event, the Jokinens will head out on a national book tour with over 20 stops — reading from "Joy Ride," taking questions, showing videos from the journey and inspiring others to explore their passions.

"There are quite a few stories in the book," Ville said. "But some of the things are not in the book, because they happened to me. Like my air mattress in Bolivia. ..."

click to enlarge A Bendite's 'Joy Ride' from Alaska to Argentina
Courtesy of We Lost The Map

For those who want to hear about the air mattress in Bolivia and listen to more untold stories, head to one of the book events. Kristen and Ville have countless memories from their many journeys, and they are ready to share with Bend. "Joy Ride" is available for purchase at local bookshops, Amazon and other big bookstores.

"Joy Ride" Author Event
Sat., May 20, 2-5pm
Barnes & Noble
2690 NE Highway 20, Bend

About The Author

Allie Noland

Allie graduated from Gonzaga University with a degree in journalism and public relations. She loves writing articles that have anything to do with the outdoors and culture. When she’s not writing, you can find her skiing, playing volleyball, backpacking, gardening or sitting at a local coffee shop.
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