On the 27th December 2013, Maria Leijerstam became the first person in the world to cycle from the edge of the Antarctic continent to the South Pole. She also set the new World Record for the fastest human powered coast to pole traverse, completing her journey in 10 days, 14hrs and 56 minutes.
White Ice Cycle Facts
The White Ice Cycle Expedition began on the 17th December 2013
Maria started her expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf at the edge of the Antarctic continent at S85 27.066 W150 03.044
Maria cycled up through the Trans-Antarctic Mountain range, on the Leverett Glacier. The maximum altitude she reached was 2941m.The South Pole lies at 2835m
This route was chosen due to its compact surface created by the South Pole traverse that delivers fuel to the South Pole station each year, making cycling possible.
Accumulation of snow drifts on the tracks made for some tough days of cycling.
Maria cycled every metre of the way, using human power alone.
The total distance cycled was 638km.
Maria cycled for between 10hrs to 17hrs each day with no rest days.
Maria’s route did not take her in a straight line to the pole as she had to avoid a major crevassed area above the Leverett Glacier.
The lowest recorded temperature was minus 29 degrees C, not taking into account wind chill.
Maria cycled a uniquely designed PolarCycle, there is only one of these in the world!
Maria lost 8.2% of her body weight during the White Ice Cycle expedition despite consuming in the region of 4000kcal per day.
The White Ice Cycle was a modernised form of polar travel.
It was an unsponsored expedition meaning Maria now has a huge debt to repay!
The map above shows Maria’s journey. It took her 10 days to get to the start, 10 days to complete her cycle and 10 days to finally return home. She planned it all herself!