It took us 605 days.
It took us six hundred and five days to ride our bamboo-and-hemp bicycles from the top of the planet to the tip; to cycle from that isolated town in the most northern part of the Alaskan Arctic down to the Antarctic Peninsula, where – on March 6th, 2012 – we set foot and rim on to the White Continent.
Arriving in Ushuaia turned out not to be our real finish. From the southernmost city in the world we were very fortunate to join our personal hero and inspiration, polar explorer Robert Swan OBE, and his team from 2041 to Antarctica. This last true wilderness holds roughly seventy percent of the world’s freshwater resources, and we were very anxious to see it in all its splendor, and learn about the effects of climate change on this; the White Continent.
Flat plains of dry grass lie on the other side of the Strait of Magellan at the end of mainland South America. This was the land of the Yaghans; the indigenous people who had the honor of being regarded as the southernmost living tribe in the world. The biting winds and the frigid cold has changed little since those days. For us it was to be the ending of our long journey south.
After our visit to Perito Moreno in the Los Glaciares National Park we had to begin our long anticipated, and much feared, battle with the notorious Patagonian winds. A wind so fierce that, in the words of the most famous contemporary chronicler of these lands, it ‘strips men to the core’. East of the Andes lies this land of pampas, of steppe; a desert land of estancias and sheep; a place where the wanderers drifted towards at the turn of the last century, escaping their lot in Europe or the United States, looking for new fortunes in the remoteness at the ends of the Earth.