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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Bicycling at the South Pole?

Yes, it is possible, it has been done, and it is great fun.  In fact, more than fun, it is exhilarating, addictive, and contagious.
I wanted to make sure that I could ride a bicycle at the South Pole, so I made several inquiries before leaving home and was told that there should be a bicycle somewhere on station.  When I arrived, I found the bicycle, but I also found that it was very much in need of parts and repair ... not the kind of spare parts I had taken with me.  Luckily, a couple of weeks later Andy showed up.  He had seen the bike last year and had shipped himself a box full of parts, so we were able to get the bike in riding conditions again (Thanks, Andy!!!).  We had been waiting for a good day to test it out on the ice.  The perfect day came on Dec 14, which was also the 99th anniversary of Amundsen arriving at the Pole.  Unfortunately Andy was not with us, as he had to go to a field camp 450 miles away to work on some geomagnetic instrumentation, but six of us got together and got out.  The temperature had warmed up to -16 F (-27 C).  We were stunned and amazed how well the bike rode, and how much fun it was.  So enthusiastic we were, that we are now planning the first ever outdoor triathlon at the South Pole (biking, running, and skiing).  I will let the pictures speak for themselves.

Marcopolie at the Geographic South Pole ... on two wheels

With Pablo.  Pablo is our very helpful help desk administrator.  In real life he is a Research Scientist at Google.  He lives in Palo Alto, only a few blocks from where I used to live.  We will try to get this photo published in the San Jose Mercury News.

With Kevin, our Network Administrator, Mark, the station doctor, and Katherine, who works in materials, we took this photo holding the book "K2" by Ed Viestours, one of the most acclaimed American mountaineers.  We all read the book here at the Pole, and we want to send this photo to the author and see what kind of response we get.

Connie, our Physician Assistant, rode all the way from the Geographic South Pole to the Ceremonial South Pole!!!

  Good bye for now, I am going for a ride.


  1. Great to hear about your adventures Marco! Will be thinking of you when I'm lying on the beach in Baja next week ;-).

  2. I love this! Glad Andy (my brother) was able to help. (btw I'm not the Connie in the photos, different Connie)

  3. lovely snow biking there, c0ol thing C: i was just thinking, how much would that mirror ball pole thing get on ebay ^^