Cycle South Antarctica Expedition: Explorer Eric Larsen turns back but his message lives on
“I've always felt that the way to determine what is important in your life is by simply (well maybe not so simply) removing everything. Then you realize very quickly the things that have meaning and the things that don't.” ~ Eric Larsen, Antarctica, January 1, 2013 ~
He wanted to be the first adventurer to cross the Antarctic continent from Hercules Inlet to the South Pole by bike, covering nearly 750 miles and back again. And while many explorers in the past and today will do something as crazy as this simply because the opportunity is there or to reach fame, Eric Larsen’s main motivation has been much deeper and twofold: To use this adventure to create awareness of the importance of using bicycles to improve our environment and our lives, and to raise awareness and funds for Parkinson’s disease.
Eric set out to Antarctica for his Cycle South expedition 16 days ago after many months of extensive training and brutal planning, getting all the gear sorted and tested, and the itinerary calculated and set. In 2009, he successfully achieved the same traverse in 51 days on skis and is therefore very familiar with the route. He figured he’d be able to complete the bike ride in 40 days or so provided that weather conditions would be favourable.
On December 28, 2012, Day 10, he posted an update on his website with the tough decision to turn back! He writes in his post that day…
After a few minutes, I turned my back to the wind and started the long ride back to Hercules Inlet. After an hour of steady progress, I got a flat in my rear tire and had to set up my tent to change it.
But at least I CAN turn around. My dad and all the other people suffering with Parkinson's Disease have no other choice but to continue forward day after day, year after year. Understanding this simple fact seemed to put my whole expedition into perspective as well as the real goal of this trip: to help raise awareness for the groundbreaking research that is being done by the Davis Phinney Foundation and their efforts to use bicycles to help improve the lives of those who live with Parkinson's.
Find out more about Eric Larsen’s inspiring expedition, Cycle South, and follow his journey back at Eric Larsen Explore
Photo courtesy: Eric Larsen