Antarctica attracts its fair share of extreme adventurists, from marathon runners to skiers. But so far, no one has biked across the South Pole. This year, 35-year-old British adventurer Maria Leijerstam wants to be the first. On Dec. 17, she departed the Novo Russian Airbase riding a customized recumbent trike designed by the UK's Inspired Cycle Engineering (ICE).
Leijerstam is not the only one out there. She's competing against Juan Mendez of Spain and Daniel Burton of the United States, who are riding two-wheelers and taking different routes.
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Nicknamed the White ICE Cycle, Leijerstam's three-wheeled cycle will be stable over the rough terrain of Leverett Glacier and against strong winds known to reach 50 mph.
The trip will be long and grueling, forcing her to ride through low temperatures, snowstorms and ice. She will bike more than 400 miles, starting at the edge of the Ross Ice Shelf, over Leverett Glacier and then to the South Pole, a trip that calls for pedaling and camping for up to 20 days.