Polar Explorer Plans To Ride Bike To The South Pole

Eric Larsen Will Ride His Bike To The South Pole In DecemberA journey to the South Pole is one of the more demanding and difficult endeavors on our planet and yet each year a number of adventurous souls undertake the challenge of crossing the Antarctic on foot. Most spend upwards of six weeks skiing across 700+ miles of snow and ice just so that they can get the opportunity to stand at the bottom of the world. But this year polar explorer Eric Larsen will make that journey in an entirely new fashion and as he intends to ride his bike to the Pole.

In December, Larsen will travel to the Antarctic where he’ll begin his ride at Hercules Inlet, the most popular launching point for travelers heading to 90°S. His route will cover approximately 750 miles across the coldest, highest and driest continent on Earth. Along the way, Larsen will face high winds, whiteout conditions and temperatures that routinely plummet well below zero, making this a bike ride unlike any other. When he arrives at the Pole, Eric will then turn around and ride back to where he started, crossing another 750 miles if weather and time permits.

As you can imagine, Larsen will be taking a specially designed bike on his adventure. In order to deal with the snow and ice conditions, not to mention the potential hazards of crevasse fields, his bike will need to be tough and durable. That’s why he’ll be riding a Moonlander from Surly Bikes which will be outfitted with 5-inch-wide tires that will help handle the unique surface conditions that he’ll encounter in the Antarctic. It may not be the fastest bike around, but it is built like a tank and can hold up to the challenging environment for the 1500 miles he could potentially ride.

This won’t be Eric’s first trip to frozen continent. In 2010 he became the first person to visit both the North and South Pole, as well as summit Everest, all within a 365-day period. Those individual expeditions have no doubt prepared him well for this next excursion and it seems clear that the man certainly enjoys cold weather.

Follow Eric’s progress on his website, Facebook page and Twitter feed.

Watch video of Larsen testing his bike in winter conditions after the jump.

[Photo credit: Eric Larsen]


British woman attempting solo crossing of Antarctica

Crossing Antarctica with Felicty Aston33-year old British adventurer Felicity Aston is preparing to set out on an epic journey that is guaranteed to push her to both her physical and mental limits. In just a few days, she’ll set out to do what no other woman has ever done – complete a solo and unsupported crossing of Antarctica on foot.

Felicity’s adventure will begin on the Ross Ice Shelf, where she’ll start a 248 mile trek on skis to the South Pole. For most Antarctic explorers, that would be the stopping point of their expedition, but for Felicity, it won’t even be the halfway mark. Once she reaches 90º South, she’ll start the second phase of her journey – a 683 mile trudge back to the coast, ending at Hercules Inlet. The entire expedition is expected to take roughly 70 days to complete, covering more than 930 miles in the process. During that time, Aston will be completely alone, with little contact from the outside world.

Traveling across Antarctica is no easy task. Felicity will be forced to contend with harsh weather conditions, including extreme cold, high winds, blizzards, and whiteout conditions. Since she’ll also be alone, and not receiving any kind of outside support, she’ll also be dragging a heavy sled behind her at all times. That sled will contain all of her gear, food, and other supplies that will be necessary for her survival while out on the ice for more than two months.

At the moment, Felicity is actually in Antarctica at a base camp located at Union Glacier. She’s waiting for a flight to take her, along with her gear, to her starting point out on the Ross Ice Shelf. She had hoped to be well underway by now, but bad weather and mechanical problems with the aircraft have caused numerous delays to the start of the expedition, but if all goes well, she hopes to get finally hit the trail tomorrow.

Spending 70 days alone, in one of the harshest environments on the planet, takes an incredible amount of strength, both physically and mentally. The next two months will not be easy ones for Aston, but she is about to embark on amazing adventure unlike any other.

Best of luck Felicity!

[Photo credit: Felicity Aston]