The Roman ultracyclist Di Felice tries again, second attempt to cross Antarctica

The data collected during the trip will be useful to climate change researchers

Omar Di Felice will attempt to cross Antarctica again: a year after the first attempt, which ended with a premature return due to serious personal problems, the ultracyclist will set off again to complete his Antarctica Unlimited, the longest entirely solo crossing riding a bicycle. It will take place in total self-sufficiency without any means of support. The only point where it will be possible to replenish supplies will be the permanent base at the South Pole. Di Felice will start from the coast of Hercules Inlet: the route will measure over 1500 km with the first objective of reaching the South Pole, from which it will continue along the Leverett Glacier, finally trying to return to the South Pole still riding his bicycle. Departure is scheduled for the first half of November. “It is the largest and most ambitious project of my life he says. Due to the importance that Antarctica has in the delicate balance of our planet, I could never relate to this place, the most inaccessible and extreme, without taking into account the great changes that it is undergoing precisely because of the activity of human beings”

“After having dreamed all my life of being the first cyclist to cross Antarctica, I experienced first-hand the pain during the previous attempt: to the environmental and territorial difficulties that I had taken into account, there were added the unexpected ones of some serious problems family members who forced me to return early. I worked for the following months to heal the wounds of that first attempt, which was abruptly interrupted, trying, day after day, to rediscover the enthusiasm that drove me to organize what, without a shadow of a doubt, it is the most difficult adventure in every sense: physical, mental, organizational. I return to Antarctica because such a big dream deserves a second chance.”

The ultracyclist is returning from a year that culminated with the exploratory adventure in Ladakh and, above all, the success at the Trans America Bike Race (the longest and most iconic unsupported ultracycling race, 7000 km from the Pacific coast to the Atlantic coast) . Antarctica Unlimited will be connected to the Bike to 1.5°C project with which Omar, through a series of adventures and explorations, seeks to disseminate issues relating to the climate crisis. During the weeks preceding departure it will be possible to follow some live broadcasts and interviews conducted with researchers who have experienced life in Antarctica, a place as extreme as it is delicate where climate change is generating devastating impacts for the rest of the planet.

Antarctica Unlimited will also include in-depth discussions with experts and scientists who will once again make up the virtual conference table that Omar will hold over the next few months, before and after the riding adventure. As well as articles, publications, a documentary film telling the story of the expedition and the project linked to dissemination in schools, already started following the first attempt. Once again the Italian Climate Network association will be one of the scientific partners of the initiative which will also include ESA, the European Space Agency, whose presence in Antarctica is fundamental for the study of climate change, as well as for the astronaut training for space missions. Omar is also fresh from a last training camp in Iceland, where he was able to carry out the final stages of preparation and test the materials that he will use. From a technical point of view, last year’s experience allowed us to make those small changes necessary to optimize the equipment.

The bicycle used will be a special model developed by Wilier Triestina specifically following the requirements requested by Omar according to the needs related to the crossing of the Antarctic and the challenges he will face, and equipped with Shimano components and to which a special sled necessary for carry all the equipment, as well as the Missgrape bikepacking bag system and the saddle which, once again, will be the Aspide Supercomfort Short by Selle San Marco. The bicycle is a unique product that will not be available to the public and which will feature the graphics of climate stripes highlighting the trend of global warming since 1850.