On December 27th at 1 am GMT, Maria Leijerstam, a 35-year old British adventurer, became the first person in the world to cycle from the edge of Antarctica to the South Pole. Her journey started on December 17th and she went against two other cyclists who also wanted to claim the title.
The cycle Leijerstam used was a modified Sprint trike made by Inspired Cycle Engineering, a recumbent tricycle manufacturer. The reason for choosing a recumbent trike was that it had greater stability than its two-wheeled counterparts, meaning Leijerstam could focus more on covering distance than fighting the wind and keeping her cycle upright. With the ferocity of the arctic winds, maintaining balance was a major challenge that was greatly reduced by using a three-wheeled trike.
A tricycle also meant that Maria was able to take a shorter route which was more challenging, technically. This short cut, coupled with the trike’s stability meant that the British adventurer reached the South Pole days before the other two cyclists (who were using bicycles).
Even though the route was a shortcut, it was still about 400 miles long and passed from the Ross Ice Shelf, over Leverett Glacier and on to the South Pole. The distance and the harsh conditions of the Antarctic make this journey a true challenge that only few can endure.