Dec 132011
Helen Skelton

Anyone watching the recent Frozen Planet series on BBC 1 will realise that attempting to get to the South Pole is no easy task. Since the first explorer, Norway’s Roald Amundsen, reached the geographic South Pole in 1911, there have been countless other successful attempts but never someone using a bike to get there.

An attempt to do this is being made by Blue Peter presenter Helen Skelton as part of Sport Relief 2012. She will use a specially adapted ice bike to cycle to the South Pole as part of her 500 mile journey to the geographic centre, where the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station is.

Specially made bike

Helen’s bike has been made from aluminium aircraft tubing designed to withstand the extreme cold conditions that can get to -50c with winds up to 80mph.

The bike will also help pull a sledge that will weigh up to 12 stone, containing food, equipment and supplies.

World record

If she is successful, she will set the world record for the longest bicycle journey on snow. Helen will travel up to 14 hours a day with the journey starting 83 degrees south of the South Pole on January 1st, 2012.

The bike is just one transport element of Helen’s 500 mile journey across Antartica. She will also ski and kite part of journey.

Magnitude of the challenge

Helen said: “The magnitude of this challenge is finally starting to dawn on me. My friends keep pointing out that nobody has ever used a bike to reach the South Pole, possibly because it can’t be done!

“Maybe it can’t, but the more people tell me it’s impossible the more I think, if I can do this I can look any kid in the eye and say ‘impossible and difficult are different things’.”

Blue Peter will be following Helen’s bike ride to the South Pole in a special nine-week series, which runs from the end of January.

For more details on Helen’s journey and how to sponsor her, please go to here.

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See also

Cycling for climate change

The Wheelie Good Round-Up

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