A Boulder, Colorado, man arrived safely back in Chile this past weekend after abandoning his attempt to be the first person to ride a bicycle to the South Pole.
Eric Larson, 41, launched the solo Cycle South expedition from the Hercules Inlet on the Antarctic coast on Dec. 20 with a goal to cover the 750 miles to the South Pole by Jan. 12.
Eight days after setting off, however, Larsen said he realized that he was only making about 10 nautical miles a day, not enough to reach his destination before his supplies ran out.
Climbing, headwinds, snow drifts and wind-blown snow ridges all conspired to slow his progress.
Larsen wrote at his Cycle South blog:
“Now I’ve taken a lot of chances in all kinds of shapes and forms but this was not a chance I was willing to take. I cried in my tent for a long time when I finally decided.
“I made one last attempt at biking south before crashing in the soft snow, I yelled and screamed and punched my fist in the snow. I was exasperated. Then, I got up and looked around. The wind had picked up substantially, but all around there was just snow. Just like always. Antarctica. I laughed to myself. This was not the first time that this icy place has turned back an expedition.”
Although he made the decision to return on Dec. 28, he still didn’t get picked up for 9 or 10 days.
Larsen set out with about 100 pounds of gear on a Surly Moonlander with 5-inch wide tires. He wants to show how bicycles can improve our quality of life as well as protect the environment. He’s advocating for Climate Change, World Bike, Parkinson’s Disease, Winter Wildlands, and Bikes Belong.