Great Britain’s Maria Leijerstram has become the first person to cycle to the South Pole.
At around midnight UK time last night, the 35-year-old from Wales found herself just 4km from her destination.
However, she had to wait for permission to enter the zone around the Pole itself, because a flight was due to depart.
Leijerstram, who used a recumbent ‘fat’ bike for her record attempt, tweeted: “So close I can almost touch the SP!
Can't believe I have almost made it. My experiment worked!”
At around 1am, her nine-day, 400-mile journey over, she added: “First person in the world to cycle the entire way to the South Pole. I peddled [sic] every metre!
“I did it I did it I did it!!!!!!
“Just had a tour of the South Pole station and got my passport stamped- how exciting!”
She concluded: “Now it is time for bed!”
The expedition, which has been two years in the planning, has been filmed by ITV for a documentary that will be screened next month.
Here’s a video from her website that gives you some idea of the scale of the challenge she faced.
Two men, Daniel Burton on a regular fat bike, and Juan Menendez Granados, who is fully unsupported, are also currently cycling towards the South Pole, though even if they make it, Leijerstram will always have the distinction of being the first person to cycle to the Pole.
Which has us wondering here in the road.cc office – we can’t think of any major achievement of exploration on this scale in which a woman, rather than a man, has been the first person to do it? We’re happy to be corrected, though.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.