JSKDNA began with a journey – an adventure. In the early 2000’s Jeff Keller, known for being outgoing and challenging the status-quo, decided to ride to the North Pole by bicycle, a feat that is rarely accepted. This trip proved to be a catalyst for his design principles and practices – even in the face of failure. In 2004, a Cycling Utah article highlighted Jeff during this time of exploration and adventure:
Keller has been a busy man, indeed. Not so busy that he couldn’t plan and attempt a bicycle ride to the North pole, though. He and Coloradan Bob Guthrie fulfilled a prediction by Jeff upon their first meeting a few years before that, “Someday, you and I are going to do a trip together. “ Guthrie is an accomplished adventurer and climber who has summited six of the famed “Seven Summits” with only Everest still to climb. What better partner for heading north across the Arctic on bikes? The Polar Roll was planned as a 550 mile ride from Resolute Bay, Northwest Territories, to the North pole. As Keller explained, “…in the late eighties, I read a book by William Steiger about a trek to the North pole following William Perry. I learned that the surface may be rideable by bike, and wanted to go. But I had two small children and a business to run, and could not go at that time. I wrote myself a note to take this trip someday. In the late nineties, I found that note and thought, ‘Now is the time to start doing this stuff!” The ride held other goals for Jeff, beyond just reaching the pole. “I thought that if we could ride successfully there, we could prove that there are means [of travel] that will keep that environment pristine. Secondly, if we can ride there, in those conditions, we can show that we can ride anywhere year round down here, where we have roads and no worries about falling through ice or attacks by polar bears”. Jeff chuckles again as he finishes this statement, but the intent is clear. Upon Keller’s and Guthrie’s arrival in Resolute Bay, snow fell for the first three days, leaving a foot of new, sticky, cake-like cover on the ground, and the wind was blowing harder than normal. “The Polar Roll quickly became the Polar Push”, as ice floes and fresh snow slowed movement drastically. “You literally could only ride about ten feet at a time, and not in a straight line. You looked like an ant traveling in all directions, weaving around and over obstacles while generally moving north. It was horribly frustrating, and we made it only fifty miles before Bob had to turn back to meet his scheduled preparations for a climb in Antarctica.” Does Jeff plan to return for another try? “Every now and then, I work on my arctic bike design, and on opportunities to make snowmobiles less polluting and lighter weight, more efficient. I’ve developed an alternative way to power a snowmobile…”
There are times when failure can overwhelm and win. But when you can take failure and learn, there are only successes to be had. JSKDNA takes this mantra and applies it to every product and project.