Crossing Greenland’s ice cap by bike | Polarjournal
Emil Frammé Hansen (left) and Nicklas Flenø Mikaelsen. Photo: Cykeldrengene

Nicklas and Emil, the two Danish “Cykeldrengene” (bike boys), can draw on an impressive wealth of experience in their mid-20s. Next week, on April 26, 2023, they are set to embark on their most extreme adventure yet – the first crossing of the Greenland Ice Sheet by bicycle, a world record attempt.

After a year and a half of strenuous preparation, the bike boys Nicklas Flenø Mikaelsen, 26, and Emil Frammé Hansen, 25, from Fredericia in Denmark will start their cycling expedition from Kangerlussuaq. Their destination is about 550 kilometers away as the crow flies, near Isortoq on the east coast, which they will reach after an estimated 30 days.

The distance between start and finish is about 550 kilometers. However, according to information on the website of the bike guys, they will cover about 800 kilometers. Map: Google Earth

“We have trained and trained and trained. One of the places we went to was Norway. We tried to get used to the cold by spending the night in a freezer container. We have participated in rescue courses. We know that it can be dangerous. We have also practiced what to do if there is an accident. We use visualizations to imagine what could happen. We always have a lifeline, because we can contact a doctor 24 hours a day,” the two tell Sermitsiaq AG.

The bike boys

Nicklas and Emil have been best friends since they were five years old. “Emil and I like to push our boundaries and explore our limits in which we are learning incredibly a lot about ourselves, because at those moments we have time and the silence to go into our mind,” Nicklas describes their motivation for this kind of challenge to PolarJournal.

In 2018, they departed on their first major cycling adventure with a trip around the world, covering a total of 24,391 kilometers. In 2021, they participated in the Danish series “Alone in the Wilderness” and emerged as winners of one of the seasons of the survival experiment.

They gained their first cycling experiences in icy terrain last year during their 207-kilometer training expedition on the Arctic Circle Trail from Sisimiut to Kangerlussuaq and back. It was especially important to test their mental strength, as they write on their website.

The two boys certainly don’t lack positive energy, which is also reflected in their childhood mantra: “Shut up, we are doing good!”. Nicklas tells us that “it manifested in the experiences we got on our bike trip around the world, where we realized we should appreciate the things and people we have in our lives a lot more. And when we go to these desolate places with no stimulation and comfort, we are learning ourselves to appreciate the things we have and the people around us a lot more.”

A fair weather day during the training expedition on the Arctic Circle Trail. Photo: Cykeldrengene

Greenlandic roots

For Nicklas, the expedition across the ice cap also has a very personal meaning. His grandmother is from their destination Isortoq, where there will be a reunion with the family.

Hard work

The first two to three days of the expedition will be particularly strenuous for Emil and Nicklas, as they will have to climb about 1,500 meters in altitude with their spike-equipped wheels and heavy sleds, each carrying 30 kilograms of food plus equipment, to get to the ice cap. The two are accompanied by a Norwegian guide and a cameraman.

The ice cap will demand a lot more from Nicklas (left) and Emil than the Arctic Circle Trail. Photos: Cykeldrengene

Let’s hope that the ice and weather conditions cooperate and that they can successfully complete their world record attempt on Nansen’s tracks.

Julia Hager, PolarJournal

Contribution image: Cykeldrengene

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