Unicycling in Antarctica

Sep and I had a great 12-day trip to Antarctica with our unicycles back in January. It would’ve been great even without riding, but we were lucky enough to be able to ride once on the continent, and once down a volcano on Deception Island. We also rode around on the ship in the Drake Passage which was challenging.

There was a video crew aboard (Brella Productions) and they just released their first video from the trip. What topic did they choose for the first one? Unicycling of course!

I am working through my own photos (4500 plus 100 videos) and am getting close to posting a gallery. I’ll post back here when it’s ready.


The coldest continent and you had t-shirt and shorts ?!?! :smiley: Well done!

Haha you guys are way cool!

cool is a good word :slight_smile:
hope to see the rest soon


Can I ask you to pop over to http://www.unicyclist.com/forums/showthread.php?t=81374 where Geoff/Monoclysm is progressively stitching together lots of unicyclists into a single pic. It has been suggested that we need represention of all the continents and Antarctica is of course the rarest.

A pic with some cold weather gear would hit the mark I think.

Here’s another unicyclist riding on Antarctica - and in a very famous spot at that.

Klaas, That’s a great shot at the South Pole.

While we may be the first to ride on all 7 continents, a number of unicyclists have ridden in Antarctica. Right now, Gracie is working at McMurdo - she’s been there since October and has posted a couple of unicycling photos on facebook. She’s recreation director for the whole base over the coming winter. Wish we could’ve visited her.

I’m not sure about that 55+ group photo - I don’t qualify yet, but I hope to in a few years!


Found another one. This seems to be taken in 1969.

I don’t know, BTW, how the ice got that much thicker. There’s probably a lot of variation with season, snow fall and everything. Or the pole (I mean not the South Pole but the marker pole) has been sinking slowly into the ice, who knows? It can’t be standing on firm ground, it’s probably just in a hole drilled in the ice, so it might slowly migrate down. Hey, it might not even be the same pole, maybe they need a new one every now and then. And they all end up in a Pole pole graveyard deep down…

Sorry - I was so awestruck at the whole riding-in-the-antarctic thing that I never even thought about age.

Still, a few seasons back and forth to the harsh dry air of the Anrtarctic and your skin will be so cracked and weathered that no-one will pick up on your youth anyway. :wink:

great Nathan!

and impressive pics Klaas!

its really hard to find a “never-done-before” on unicycle.
I would not be surprised if some day will come out that Amundson went there by unicycle:p:p:p
(may be that was the real reason why he overtook Scott)

That’s what I thought too! :smiley:

Pretty awesome! My wife and I did the Antarctica Marathon just about a year ago (March 7th, 2010), we went #1 and #2 overall! I have to ask how you got permission to take a unicycle on shore to ride? As an avid unicyclist myself, I had intended to pack my 20" uni with me with the expressed purpose of riding on Antarctica. I was denied permission repeatedly :frowning: Something about the treaty and the environmental concerns… not to mention the danger/possible damage imposed on the Penguins and their rookeries. As it was, when we landed ashore we were closely monitored to follow only certain routes and to respect the wildlife. So it’s amazing to me that you were allowed to ride on Deception Island! Who was your tour operator? We were with Quark Expeditions and they were extremely strict with adhering to all aspects of the Antarctica Treaty. Not only that, but we were extremely limited on how much weight we could bring on board and on the small flights to Ushuaua so without giving up some other vital piece or pieces of gear, bringing a unicycle along would have been tough (but not impossible).

All the same, I’m insanely jealous! I was trying to work on the Seven Contentents as well with a uni, so I guess I missed out. Perhaps I’ll be able to return someday, that was such an awesome experience! In retrospect I think my being denied permission had more to do with the intense U.N. and EPA scrutiny our MarathonTours.com was under for last year’s Marathon because of some intense political and other issues I won’t get into. So because the whole event was being closely monitored for zero impact last year (we had a U.N. and EPA observer on board to witness the event) I think they didn’t want to jeopardize anything so I was denied permission to ride. As it was they got us on and off King George Island very, very quickly after we finished the race. We did land on Deception Island and climb the big hill, but there were so many penguins and birds around we had to be very careful.

FWIW, it’s late “summer” there so the temperatures are not as extremely cold as you might think this time of year. My wife and I both ran the Marathon in shorts and just a long sleeve top. It’s the endless wind that really chills!

So Nathan, your next challange is unicycling on the moon?

I like this idea. We should come up with other odd places to unicycle. Have you uni-scuba’d yet? Uni on an airplane wing.

It took us a while to find an outfit that would allow us to bring unicycles. Then they were very careful to have us sterilize the tires and pedals each time we left the ship - same process for everyone’s boots each time. Camping out was with a barrel stuck in the snow for a toilet - nothing was left anywhere.

We carefully had to follow the 5 meter rule on wildlife except for places where there are just too many penguins. Both places we were allowed to ride had little wildlife.

We went with One Ocean Expeditions. Here is the exact cruise we went on: http://www.oneoceanexpeditions.com/antarctic/itineraries.php#C

Here is the boat info: http://www.oneoceanexpeditions.com/marina_svetaeva/index.php

I was worried about the flights since Aerolineas Argentina had a 15kg checked bag limit. I got mine down to 19kg (with a heavy carry-on), but my attempted Spanish charmed the check-in lady so much she didn’t even weigh my bag, so no problem.

It was a trip of a lifetime, but I really want to go back. If only I was rich: http://www.adventure-network.com/display.asp?navid=1&id=56

For riding in unusual places, you might consult John’s special site: http://unicycling.com/things/index.htm but it doesn’t yet include either polar region or any off-world action. Sign me up for that!

@nathan: That is so awesome. Unfortunately we were stuck going through MarathonTours.com (who put on the Antarctica Marathon on King George Island, South Shetland Islands) and they contracted Quark Expeditions. No way would they let me bring my unicycle! :frowning: Plus we had the whole U.N. observer thing going on watching this group’s every embarkation/debarkation action. FWIW, it sounds like your tour operator was mostly going by the book as far as the decontamination and 5 meter rule; I’m still impressed you got your over-weight gear there in the first place! We had people on our trip who had severe difficulties! Anyhow, definitely a trip of a life time, and I too would love to return. We got to visit Palmer Station on our last day in Antarctica, that was a real treat!