November 2, 2012
In December 2012, Polar Adventurer Eric Larsen will attempt to conquer a new feat: biking to the South Pole. His expedition, Cycle South, will be a world-first bicycle journey across the Antarctic continent to the South Pole. Covering nearly 750 miles, the route will traverse from Hercules Inlet to the Geographic South Pole, and if conditions permit, 750 miles back to the coast again. In the past explorers have famously quipped, 'because it's there.' However, the goal of the Cycle South expedition is to combine adventure and advocacy to demonstrate the many ways in which people can use a bicycle to protect our environment as well as improve the quality of our lives.
"There are more than a few reasons why no one has ever completed this challenge; however, I feel my experience and preparation will be critical factors in my success," said Eric Larsen. "Ultimately, the most important goal of this expedition is to raise donations for my nonprofit partners: the Davis Phinney Foundation, WorldBike and the Winter Wildlands Alliance."
While bicycles have been around for nearly two centuries, the technology allowing efficient winter travel is relatively new. Therefore, cycling in Antarctica requires a wide variety of custom modifications to travel across such a varied terrain while carrying provisions, gear and supplies.
Eric will pedal a Surly Moonlander bicycle that uses nearly five-inch wide low-pressure tires to provide float and traction over the snow and ice. He is also working with Minnesota-based company Ergodyne to develop and test cold weather gear.
Another 'first' during the Cycle South expedition will be real-time location tracking via DeLorme's inReach satellite beacon. Larsen will also have the ability to send and receive texts via the beacon during prearranged media events. Larsen has a long-standing relationship with the company, in 2010, he sent the first tweet in history from the summit of Mt. Everest via a DeLorme device.
"I am very excited to be partnered with DeLorme and Ergodyne," said Larsen. "The gear and equipment that both produce will be critical to my comfort, safety and ultimately, my success."
Along the route, Larsen will be able to stay connected to followers across the globe by harnessing Goal Zero solar power to assist with daily blog updates, tweets, podcasts and satellite phone calls. Using the story of his journey, Larsen hopes to inspire and educate. Through his web site, @ELexplore Twitter feed and Facebook page people will be able to learn more about several bicycle-related charities and how they can support each organization.
- Complete the first-ever bicycle expedition to the geographic South Pole
- Engage a global audience to educate about Antarctica through daily updates, podcasts, videos, and more
- Produce a documentary film and book
- Raise money for several bicycle-related advocacy groups (The Davis Phinney Foundation, Winter Wildlands Alliance and WorldBike)
- Develop a post expedition multi-media lecture series
Cold and remote is nothing new to Larsen. He has led three successful skiing expeditions to the South Pole spending six months total in Antarctica to date. In 2010, he completed the Save the Poles expedition, a world record journey to the South Pole, North Pole and top of Mt. Everest in a 365-day period. In 2006, he completed the first ever summer expedition to the North Pole.
The Cycle South expedition is sponsored by DeLorme and Ergodyne with major support from Wenger, MSR, Goal Zero, Clif Bar and Scream Agency. Additional expedition support is provided by Surly, Bergans, Stanley, Yaktrax, Scarpa, Vapur, Granite Gear, Optic Nerve, Mountain House, Napkin Labs, A-Train Cycles, Hilleberg, Therm-a-Rest, RoadPost, Wigwam, Princeton Tec, Skratch Labs and WebExpeditions. Eric is actively fundraising for the Cycle South expedition.