Omar Di Felice – cycling through Antarctica | Polarjournal
The challenges of crossing Antarctica by bike are brutal. Only with special clothing and excellent technology can survive this expedition. (Photo: Omar di Felice)

A few months after completing the first Arctic World Tour, ultra-cyclist Omar Di Felice is ready for a new adventure on the ice. Titled “Antarctica Unlimited”, the ultracyclist plans to cross Antarctica. It is scheduled to start on November 18, 2022.

Through a series of adventures, Di Felice is trying to bring the issues surrounding the climate crisis to the public’s attention. If he achieves his high goal and completes the project in its entirety, it will be the longest Antarctic crossing ever on a bicycle.

Omar Di Felice on Svalbard during the Arctic World Tour. “It is the longest crossing of Antarctica by bicycle, in which Omar Di Felice will cross the South Pole from coast to coast: a solo expedition of 1,600 km in temperatures as low as -40 °Celsius.” (Photo: Omar di Felice)

Omar Di Felice’s childhood dream comes true

Antarctica has always been the destination of the greatest adventurers in the history of modern exploration. Omar’s goal will be to cycle the “Coast to Coast” connection. The route begins at Hercules Inlet, near Union Glacier Camp, passes over the South Pole, and ends at the base of Leverett Glacier.

If Di Felice will reach the base of the glacier and he will still be able to continue, it is planned to return to the South Pole, again by bike of course.

If the project can be successfully completed, this will be the longest pure ‘bicycle tour’ through Antarctica. In the past, some athletes have attempted shorter distances, or mixed crossings, using the bike in combination with skis.

The crossing is, of course, alone and completely self-sufficient, without any aids such as kites. The only point where it will be possible to replenish supplies will be the Amundsen-Scott Station at the South Pole. (Graphic: Antarctica Unlimited)

“It is the biggest and most ambitious project of my life. I have decided to go back to university by enrolling in the “Environmental Science” course, which will accompany my educational process so that the public outreach is as accurate and timely as possible. In the next few months, during which Antarctica will take up every inch of me, I will not only try to cross the most remote and fascinating continent on Earth, but to study it carefully with the help of scientists and experts, as well as associations. In addition, I will bring my experience to schools through an educational campaign. “Antarctica Unlimited will be the crowning achievement of my life and career”.

This new aluminum prototype is equipped with 27.5-inch wheels. This gives greater tire clearance for the additional suspension movement of the bike fork, which is required to cross the unpredictable snow and ice of Antarctica. (Photo: Omar di Felice)

Special bike and clothes

In recent weeks, all the schedule details of the bicycle expedition have been published, which will undoubtedly be the most delicate and fascinating phase of the entire project, strongly linked to the seasonaility with which permits are issued to cross Antarctica.

The bike used will be a special model, which had been developed according to the specifications of Omar, based on the requirements associated with the crossing. This is a special, so-called “fat bike”, a bicycle with specially thick tires, which should facilitate riding on the expected surface of ice and snow. The frame will not be as light as possible, as in the previous “Arctic World Tour”, but special attention was paid to stability and temperature resistance.

As for clothing, it is very important to survive temperatures that can fall below -40 ° Celsius. Due to the famous katabatic winds (air masses blowing at high speed over the Antarctic plateau due to temperature differences), the perceived temperatures can be even lower. Omar Di Felice will wear a special high-altitude suit. similar to mountaineers above 8,000 meters, but with special features that make pedaling comfortable. Thanks to the live map created by ENDU, the crossing can be followed live.

Follow his website: ANTARCTICA UNLIMITED

Heiner Kubny, PolarJournal

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