Helen Skelton a present day presenter of the BBC's children's show Blue Peter recently completed a 500 mile journey to the South Pole. As part of the BBC's Sport Relief charity event she completed the trip in 18 days on foot, ski, kite ski and snow bike. I know the 'kite ski' sounds pretty cool but this is a bike blog so let's get back to 'snow bike'.
This is another story I discovered on bike friendly Core 77 so they have more details but here are the basics. The bike was designed by Fortune Hanebrink based on one he had created previously for polar guide/explorer Doug Stoup.
"Skelton became the first person to use a bike - with specially adapted wide tyres - as part of an expedition to the Pole.She covered 329 miles by kite ski, 103 by bike, and 68 by cross-country ski...........British explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes said: "I take my hat off to Helen Skelton. I have to admit when she first told me that she was going to cycle part of the way to the South Pole, I laughed."But through pure grit and determination she has got there and shown that, yes, you can use a bike to reach the Pole. Her incredible efforts are a great example of willpower." - BBC story here."
"The tyres are designed to bulge over the rim to provide maximum stability and traction. They also allow a high degree of "flotation". This keeps as much of the wheel above the snow and ice as possible, so the bike hardly sinks in and only leaves a light impression. The wide surface area of the tyre does this by distributing the rider's weight over the width of the tyre. - from Stoup on Core 77"
Full Core 77 story here: Core77