Congratulations to Daniel Burton for becoming the first human to ride a bicycle across Antarctica to the South Pole.
The 50-year-old former computer programmer from Utah reached his goal on Tuesday, completing a 730-mile ride over mountains and snow ridges across the desolate frozen continent in 50 days.
At his blog, The South Pole Epic, Burton wrote:
“The South Pole station came into view when I was about 13 nautical miles away. When I saw it, I was so overcome with joy! I called home to my wife and lost all control of my emotions. The black dots on the horizon were the most wonderful thing I have ever seen. It was starting to feel like I would never make it.
“I am now at the pole and have set up camp. I need to find where they cached my clean clothes and other items. I made a quick visit to the actual pole marker, but will go back later and bike around the pole to the song Around the World after I get all my batteries charged. I am so happy to have finally finished biking to the pole, going the full distance, 100% by riding my bike.”
Burton completed a journey that was attempted a couple of years ago by Colorado cyclist Eric Larson. Larson abandoned the trip after realizing that he was only making about 10 miles a day and he figured his supplies would run out before he reached his destination.
Burton undertook the trip on a Borealis Yampa, which sports 4-inch rims and 5-inch wide tires. He carried his gear in panniers and on a sled. He also had food caches along his route.
Along the way he faced extreme low temperatures and howling headwinds. Some of the time he could follow the tracks of earlier expeditions or arctic trucks. At other times he had to pick his own route. He only saw a couple of people the entire trip, but kept in touch with a satellite phone.
At his blog, Burton said he undertook the adventure for more reasons than to just accomplish something that’s never been done.
“I want to inspire people to get out and be active.”
Burton said he spent too much time sitting at a computer through his job as a programmer. His cholesterol and blood pressure was high and we was a few pounds overweight. He took up mountain biking and his health improved. When he got laid off, he opened a bike shop — Epic Biking — to help others get involved in a healthy lifestyle.
He also wants to encourage people to donate to the American Diabetes Association, or get involved with some other health-related foundation.
Burton has set up the South Pole Epic Youth Project to encourage teen-agers to start an active lifestyle by bicycling.