I’ve just returned from a four week trip around the world, firstly to collect my prototype polar bike in the USA. I then travelled via London to Svalbard, an Arctic archipeligo to the far north of mainland Norway to test the bike in a range of conditions.
The bike was engineered by Steve Christini who pioneered the technology a few years ago. In recent times, Christini Technologies (based in Philadelphia) has concentrated on motocross, but Steve was inspired by the challenge of developing the world’s first all-wheel-drive fatbike. Making the bike required totally redesigning the frame to house both his technology and accommodate the 12cm wide tyres. After a few frantic weeks, the frame was finally welded, finished off and sent to Carver Bikes in Maine to be built.
Ever since I connected with Davis Carver last November, he has fully embraced the challenge of making a bike suitable to ride across Antarctica. I have been very much reliant on Davis’s expertise and advice to make the right decisions about the bike. I am no technical expert and have no experience in extreme cold conditions. The collaboration between Steve Christini and the team at Carver Bikes has resulted in the fine piece of machinery that I was presented with when I arrived at Bath Cycle and Ski (Davis’s shop) in Woolwich, Maine. This was a tight operation as the frame was only sent to Maine two days before I arrived. Mechanic extraordinaire, Zach Pilgrim (below) worked nonstop to complete the build from the enormous wheels up in a day. It seems that everyone is getting into the spirit of this project.
Even since before it left the shop, the bike has been like a celebrity – everyone stops to admire it and ask questions. After a few quick laps of the car park, the bike was dismantled and boxed and I was on the plane bound for London, remaining totally paranoid about whether my new baby would travel unscathed.