Most travel has been done before so it is always great to come across a truly unique travel story. Just this last weekend I met an inspiring traveller who has an amazing ambition. Kate Leeming is breaking the cycle (maybe literally) by cycling to the South Pole!
Yes, you read that right she is cycling to the South Pole! Brrrrrr!
Not only is she cycling to the most famous point on the Antarctic but she is cycling across the continent on an estimated 45 days adventure. By actually cycling across the continent this will make it a world first (Daniel Paul Burton has cycled to the South Pole but not across the Antarctic continent).
Now you may think this is a crazy or an amazing idea. It is certainly different to any travel I’ve ever embarked upon. Although admittedly going to the Antarctic is still on my bucket list!
So why do we think that Kate Leeming can do this? How is she qualified for such an expedition.
Facts About Kate Leeming
Well first off she is an athlete.
She is a real tennis player (slightly different to the tennis you associate Serena Williams with). Kate Leeming is in fact currently ranked no. 2 in the world for female real tennis players.
It is also worth noting that biking expeditions are nothing new to Kate Leeming, she’s done a few! Not only has Kate taken these journeys they have been world firsts:-
– Trans-Siberian Cycle Expedition – 13,400km from St Petersburg to Vladivostok
– Great Australian Cycling Expedition – a journey of 25,000km through Australia of which nearly a third was through remote desert tracks
– Breaking The Cycle in Africa – covering 22,040km from Senegal to Somalia
This are all amazing achievements. In fact Kate Leeming has cycled distances equivalent to twice around the globe (at the equator). Little wonder she is considered among the top 10 Australian women explorers ever.
So why is Kate Leeming doing this?
You may think this idea is crazy, bizarre and it certainly is unique. So why is Kate Leeming cycling through the Antarctic?
Well first off it is a challenge. Something incredible which has never been done before. This is not a run of the mill cycling journey, this will challenge her every step (or should that be pedal) of the way.
She is also doing this (like her previous expeditions) to inspire and do something notable for charity. This project is looking to motivate participation through Charity Miles and (RED) to support the fight against AIDS in Africa. (Previous charitable works Kate Leeming has supported include the children of Chernobyl, the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development and the causes and effects of extreme poverty).
The team and equipment supporting Kate Leeming
Such an ambitious expedition can’t be done alone. So Kate Leeming has an impressive support team.
Eric Philips will act as the expedition leader. He is the first Australian to ski to the North and South poles.
Claudio von Planta is a documentary filmmaker who is well known for working with Ewan McGregor on Long Way Round motorcycle.
Phil Coates is a filmmaker and photographer and fully trained mountain guide.
The connection with filmmaking is not without purpose. Interest has been shown in the expedition by National Geographic, Discovery and more. Plus BBC World News are looking to broadcast a six episode series on the journey.
Clearly this journey requires more than just any old bike. I actually saw the bike itself when I met with Kate. It is the first all-wheel drive fatbike in the world. Don’t you just love that name fatbike. It is certainly a reflection on the size of the tyres!
Kate Leeming will have to wear custom built clothing and boots. She will have solar powered handlebar mitts plus specialist communication equipment.
The distance to be covered is 1,850km over a month and a half. Altitudes will range from sea level to 3,000m. Whilst temperatures will be a brisk -10 to -40C.
The training and planning began a long time ago for Kate Leeming. The Breaking the Cycle South Pole training first begin in March 2013 in Svalbard, Norway. Since then there has been training and testing of equipment in Australia and Greenland.
The actual expedition itself will run from November 2015 to January 2016 as she cycles coast to coast of the Antarctic.
As you can imagine such an expedition does not come cheap. Fundraising is crucial.
As a guide:-
Expedition logistics for the actual event itself $450,000
Training and testing $150,000
Web communications $ 80,000
PR and marketing $ 70,000
This is a heck of a lot of money to raise but you can help. Kate is looking for partnerships with sponsors. In light of the profile this expedition will gain and the long term charitable benefits it could be perfect to become involved.
This is an amazing project and I wish Kate Leeming and her team every success in Breaking The Cycle South Pole!