So Helen Skelton, the Blue Peter presenter, has set off on a 500-mile ride to the South Pole. On a special bike. Made for riding on snow. (What else would you expect?) I’ve done a few crazy rides in my short lifetime, but certainly nothing in this league. Mainly because I hate the cold. If it was me riding across ice and snow to the bottom of the world, it wouldn’t be Blue Peter I was presenting, it would be Blue Somethingelse.
Of course, although it is summer time at the South Pole right now, it’s not quite T-shirt and shorts weather. Unless you’re really nuts. The average temperature at this time of year is a balmy -25C. But there is one big advantage to a ride during the summer months – you don’t need lights, because it is daytime all day long. If you get what I mean.
Although I hate the cold, I’m not a total wimp – I’ve ridden in snow more times than I can remember – to work, training for the Cape Epic, and even just because it’s there. And it really is fun, especially when you know that, half an hour after finishing, you will be in a hot bath with a big mug of steaming tea in your mitt. But when you know that at the end of your long, sweaty cycling day your only shelter is the tent that is somewhere on the sledge that you’re towing (you DID pack the tent, didn’t you), it’s a totally different story. And when it comes to the call of nature … well, I don’t even want to go there.
So all I can say, Helen, is good luck. This challenge is certainly one that I wouldn’t want to take up. But a run across the Namib desert … hmm, now there’s a thought.