Ultra cyclist starts Arctic tour against climate change | Polarjournal
Forty-year-old Omar Di Felice is no stranger to the world of cycling. He has already caused a stir several times with actions such as the trip from Milan to Glasgow for the climate summit. His latest project: an Arctic tour of eight countries by bike to raise awareness of the 1.5°C limit. Images: Omar Di Felice via Facebook

In general, the effects of climate change are considered to be among the greatest challenges humanity faces. Politically and socially, it is also generally accepted that we should limit warming to 1.5°C above the global average. But implementation has been slow, as the climate summit in Glasgow showed. Therefore, more and more people from different parts of life are campaigning with partially sensational actions for more implementations to comply with the upper limit. One of them is the Italian ultra-cyclist Omar Di Felice.

Since last Wednesday, the extreme cyclist has been on a very special mission: to travel by bike in eight Arctic regions, covering a total of around 4,000 kilometers. With the action “Arctic World Tour” Omar Di Felice wants to draw attention to his project “Bike to 1.5°C”. This is a program to, on the one hand, inspire people to use bicycles as a means of transportation and thus contribute to the reduction of CO2 caused by the burning of fossil fuels. On the other hand, Omar Di Felice wants to draw attention more generally to the problem of climate change impacts, especially in the Arctic.

The “Arctic World Tour” project starts in Kamchatka, where the extreme athlete wants to cover around 800 kilometers through the wilderness. He then plans a trip from Murmansk, in Russia, to Tromsø, in Norway, through Finland and Sweden, around 1,500 kilometers. Next, on Svalbard, Di Felice wants to ride from Longyearbyen to Sassendalen, just under 40 kilometers, followed by a tour in Iceland, ending at Snaefellsjökull. After that, the plan is to cover a 200-kilometer stage in Greenland on the “Arctic Trail” from Kangerlussuaq to Sisimiut. The sixth and final leg is then scheduled to go from Whitehorse, Canada, across the border into Alaska to the Yukon-Kuskowim Delta. By his own account, the athlete wants to cover a total of around 4,000 kilometers in the end, within just a few weeks. To do this, he has a bike and equipment specially equipped by experts and sponsor companies. Above all, he wants to supply himself locally whenever possible. If he does not find accommodation, the appropriate winter camping equipment is at his disposal.

Most of the time the extreme athlete will be on the road in the winter and spring. Sub-zero temperatures, snow and Arctic wildlife, especially further north, are just some of the dangers the Italian faces. But he is convinced that he will make it. Images: Omar Di Felice

The venture started last Wednesday in the capital of Kamchatka, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, and is expected to take him as far as Ust-Kamchatsky, 400 kilometers away as the crow flies. Interested people can follow his path thanks to GPS on a special website. In addition, Di Felice plans to provide regular updates on his social media channels. In addition, he also plans to have local people, from locals to scientists, speak and share their experiences of living in one of the hotspots of climate change. He describes himself as a sportsman fascinated by cold and ice. The extreme athlete from Rome is also no stranger to low temperatures. His projects have already taken him to Iceland in the winter, where he circumnavigated the island on the Ring Road in just four days. His last project took him to Everest base camp over 1,294 kilometers in 19 days.

Dr Michael Wenger, PolarJournal

Link to Omar Di Felice’s Facebook page for regular updates.

Link to map page showing his position in real time

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