TDA Global Cycling will be the first expedition company in the world to mount a group cycling trip to the South Pole. The company, founded by Henry Gold and Michael de Jong in 2002 with a cycle trip down the length of Africa, will lead up to 30 participants from the last degree of longitude to the South Pole. Titled ‘The Last Degree’, the expedition, due to take place in December 2016 and January 2017, will use state of the art wide tire fat bikes, ideally suited to the icy, snowy surfaces.
“TDA Global Cycling is dedicated to limitless adventures,” says president and founder Henry Gold. “With every expedition we’ve been told its crazy, or that it can’t be done but we now run expeditions on every continent, including Antarctica.”
Antarctica is governed by strict multi-national environmental regulations and most tourism must be organized in tandem with Antarctic Logistics and Expeditions (ALE). ALE approved TDA Global Cycling’s application, granting them exclusive rights to run the 2016/17 Antarctic season.
The expedition, which will cost participants upwards of $70,000 (US), on par with Everest climbs, will be led by Ben Shillington, whose guiding and adventuring career has taken him all over the globe from the Himalayas, to the Magnetic North Pole in Canada’s high Arctic. Ben is also the author of the book, Winter Backpacking, Shillington holds ‘Official Guide Status’ by ALE to lead the expedition in Antarctica.
“The Last Degree is a once in a lifetime adventure for cyclists who want to push themselves to the limit,” Shillington says. Participants will be required to attend a six-day training trip on Lake Winnipeg in February 2016. Designed to prepare the group for the realities of life in the snow and ice, the group will learn about layering their clothing for optimal warmth, packing equipment on their bikes and experiencing the riding conditions.
TDA Global Cycling grew out of Gold’s desire to promote durable mountain bikes as an inexpensive solution to Africa’s transportation woes while he ran CPAR – an international NGO. What started with a four month cycling trek from Cairo to Cape Town has spread across the globe with tours, ranging in length and required skill level, on every continent.
Since the first journey in 2003, over 1300 people have participated in tours, traversing 60+ countries. Current routes include the Tour d’Afrique (Cairo to Cape Town), the Hippie Trail (Delhi to Goa), the Silk Route (Beijing to Istanbul), North American Epic (Anchorage to Mexico City), South American Epic (Cartagena to Ushuaia), Trans-Oceania (Sumatra to Sydney) among others.