Long-distance cyclist injured

Posted: Thursday, June 01, 2000

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- A 55-year-old British long-distance bicyclist is in stable condition after an accident while en route to Haines Junction, according to Alaska State Troopers.

A motorist found the woman, Helen M. Clark, lying in the middle of the eastbound lane of the Alaska Highway last Thursday at about 3 p.m. with her bike and about 100 pounds of gear on top of her.

Troopers think the weight of her gear, piled mostly over her rear wheel, caused her to flip back while descending a hill on a bad patch of road outside of Delta Junction.

Clark reportedly sustained injuries to her chest and head and was transported to an Anchorage hospital. She was listed in critical condition until Wednesday when her condition was upgraded. She is reportedly conscious and moving but cannot speak.

Clark, a London chef, had been cycling alone since May 1, 1999, traveling across Europe and through parts of Asia, logging more than 10,000 miles. She flew to Anchorage early last month and made her way to the Interior.

''She wanted to explore the Alaska area,'' said Clark's sister, Mary Litchfield, from Anchorage. ''She just wanted to see the world and meet people in their own homes.''

Litchfield traveled from London last weekend to be with Clark.

Trooper Jeremy Grieme thinks no other vehicle was involved in the accident, although he plans to interview Clark when she recovers. No vehicle skid marks or bike skid marks were found.

Troopers don't know how long Clark, who was wearing a helmet, was lying on the road before being found.

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