British TV presenter Helen Skelton is in Antarctica preparing for an usual feat of courage and daring in the name of charity – she hopes to be the first person to bike to the South Pole.
The Blue Peter presenter is raising money for Sport Relief, and will face a multitude of extreme temperatures in her grueling 500 mile journey, using skis, kites and, of course, her bike.
Helen will travel up to 14 hours a day across the coldest and windiest place on earth, battling blizzards and sub-zero temperatures.
Helen is hoping to begin her challenge on 1st January 2012 at 83 degrees south and will face a number of dangers whilst on the ice including dehydration, frostbite, sun blindness, snow drifts, and altitude sickness. And if that wasn’t enough, Helen will have to pull a heavy sledge behind her containing everything she’ll need for the whole journey, including all her food, equipment and supplies. Helen’s sledge will weigh up to 82kg which is the equivalent to pulling a man weighing over 12 stone.
The specially designed ice bike Helen will use to complete her challenge weighs just less than 20 kilograms and took three months to build. The frame is made from aluminium aircraft tubing which has been specifically treated to withstand the harsh Antarctic conditions and the 20 centimetre- wide tubeless tyres will provide maximum stability and traction on the ice.All the action from Helen’s Polar Challenge for Sport Relief will be shown in a special nine- week series on Blue Peter, from the end of January to March.
Helen Skelton said: “The magnitude of this challenge is finally starting to dawn on me. My friends keep pointing out that nobody has ever used a bike to reach the South Pole, possibly because it can’t be done! Maybe it can’t, but the more people tell me it’s impossible the more I think, if I can do this I can look any kid in the eye and say: impossible and difficult are different things.”
Britain’s most famous explorer, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, said of the challenge: “I wish the very best to Helen Skelton as she takes on this incredibly tough and gruelling challenge across Antarctica in aid of Sport Relief. Like Captain Scott, Helen is attempting something that has never been tried before and I applaud her pioneering efforts. I will be following her journey to the South Pole with great interest.”
Super Skelton is no stranger to conquering the impossible. For Sport Relief 2010, she became the first person to solo kayak the length of the Amazon and in the process set two Guinness World Records. Not content with that, in February this year Helen became the first person to high- wire walk between the chimneys of Battersea Power Station for Red Nose Day.
Helen hopes her incredible efforts will inspire people around the UK to enter the Sport Relief Mile and raise money to help those living incredibly tough lives in the UK and the world’s poorest countries.
To find out how to sponsor Helen on her journey, click here.