2017 was almost THE year that I was going to cycle across Antarctica. In late May we thought we had a commitment from a title sponsor, only to be let down five weeks later. In that time, however, I activated all the systems I have in place for Breaking the Cycle South Pole; the education programme, team and preparation plans.
The fact that it didn’t happen in 2017/18 was probably a blessing in disguise because, with the commencement of finding education collaborators and producing the curriculum, it’s led me to modify the mission and make it a truly global project and education programme.
I had always planned to do several smaller expeditions to prepare physically and mentally for Antarctica – polar, sand and altitude training expeditions – and I had already researched several potential journeys around the world. Cycling in soft, unstable sand is similar to cycling in snow, so it is great for strength and balance. Altitude will increase cardiovascular capacity and the climbing is excellent for strength. The Antarctic plateau is extremely high, mostly between 2000m and 3000m and the extreme cold exacerbates the oxygen deficient effects to make it feel 500m-1000m higher than the actual altitude. There are also several clothing and technical systems that could be tested in polar conditions and improved.
From these factors, the idea evolved to perform a preparatory expedition on six continents before traversing the seventh continent in the summer of 2018/2019. The expeditions planned are; the Baja Divide (Mexico), an Iceland south-north traverse, the Skeleton Coast (Namibia), following the Finke River (central Australia), the Bolivian Altiplano and the Indian Himalaya.
The 2-4 week expeditions are integral with the developing Breaking the Cycle Education programme, the curriculum for which is being written by the experiential learning specialists, the JUMP! Foundation. A new website, www.BreakingtheCycle.education will serve as both the expedition website and the platform for the education programme.
We don’t yet have all of the funding required to make Breaking the Cycle South Pole happen, but we are much closer than ever before. I also need more funding to cover the last two preparatory expeditions. If you would like to support these expeditions, please click the “Donations” button in the top right hand corner of the Home page, or contact me.
Please visit www.BreakingtheCycle.education to find out the latest news, follow the journeys. Educators are encouraged to register and participate in the education programme. It launched on the 6th February, however it will continue to develop during the year.