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The Dream of Riding a Motorcycle in Antarctica

 Is a ride around the world truly complete without a visit to Antarctica?

Published on 04.27.2015
Riding motorcycle across antarctica
Steph Jeavons makes a dream come true as she puts rubber down in Antarctica. (Courtesy One Steph Beyond)

For some, the dream of riding around the world just isn’t complete unless you ride your motorcycle in Antarctica. But the massive island of ice holding up the Earth is a formidable place for anyone to visit, let alone ride a motorcycle there. Antarctica is nearly twice the size of Australia but 98% of the continent is covered by ice. There are no real roads or trails, just a handful of remote research stations dotting the vast landscape.

So if you want to ride a motorcycle across Antarctica, that’s not really possible. However, in the summer there are coastal areas where the ice recedes and the possibility of riding a motorcycle exists. The human conquering spirit loves to notch up achievements, and that includes the right to say you’ve ridden all seven continents of the world on a motorcycle. One person well on her way to realizing this dream is a British woman, Steph Jeavons.

Steph Jeavons is a Round-the-World Adventure Rider on a mission to cover seven continents and 42 countries in two years, riding a Honda CRF250L, avoiding major roadways and living in a tent. She’s already traveled across Europe, Asia, Australia and South America and she recently achieved the dream of Antarctica. While the prospect of riding a motorcycle in Antarctica is intimidating, it’s not the icy tracks and rocky shorelines that are the biggest challenge. Just getting a motorcycle to the southernmost continent in the first place is the most arduous part of the journey.

Celebrating ride of motorcycle across Antarctica
Steph celebrates her safe arrival on the shores of Antarctica. (Courtesy One Steph Beyond)

Having arrived at the southern-most point of South America, Jeavons’ first obstacle was crossing the Drake Passage, the body of water between South America and Antarctica. A three-week sail through an iceberg-strewn sea is not for the faint-hearted and Jeavons showed the kind of grit an around-the-world journey demands. The Honda showed no signs of distress during the trek across the passage either. Having been liberally coated with WD40 and cling-wrapped for its open deck passage, it was tricky maneuvering the bike onto an inflatable boat that would land Steph on the shores of Antarctica.

Steph landed safely and once ashore, the Honda started easily to allow Jeavons two rides – at Paradise Harbor, one of two harbors in Antarctica frequented by cruise ships and at an Ukrainian research base. Elated as Jeavons was about her achievement, it appears that she’s not the first woman to record a motorbike ride in Antarctica. Whether Benka Pulko from Slovenia, who claims to be the first, actually rode her BMW F650 is a moot point though, with some reports suggesting international restrictions prevented her from actually riding the bike.

What these accounts do make clear is that the dream of riding a motorcycle on Antarctica demands plenty of planning, a toughness of spirit, and being able to capitalize on the southern hemisphere summer window. It may also mean having to charter a boat from an operator who is familiar with the regulations governing motorized activities, or risk flouting international treaties conserving this pristine white wilderness.

For more information on Steph’s trip to Antarctica and her ongoing adventures, check out her blog One Steph Beyond.

Author: Derek Alberts

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