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We'll be providing lots of entertaining updates about our bikes and trikes and life here at ICE.
The ICE team
Thursday, December 12, 2013 - 06:50 AM
“Can you build me a trike so I can cycle to the South Pole?” That was the improbable challenge given by adventurer Maria Leijerstam earlier this year.
Maria is determined to become the first person to cycle to the South Pole from the edge of the Antarctic continent. She will be racing against two men who will be riding standard winter bikes called Fat Bikes. After two years research Maria has taken a radical new approach of riding a recumbent trike that could help win her the title and re-define the future of polar expeditions.
Maria starts her world record attempt a few days before Christmas 2013. She will be carrying all her food and equipment on a custom-made recumbent trike built by Inspired Cycle Engineering (ICE Trikes). The trike is stable and aerodynamic, with oversize tyres and super-easy gearing; essential qualities when cycling into 50 mile an hour headwinds, through snowstorms and up glaciers.
After her final training expedition in Iceland, Maria brought the trike to the ICE workshops for a full service in preparation for Antarctica. Watch this time-lapse video which shows the trike being re-built, with Chris Parker, who designed and built the trike, mechanic Matt Evans, and Maria Leijerstam.
After flying to Cape Town, South Africa, Maria flew on to the Novolazarevskaya Airbase in Antarctica where she is currently waiting for a good weather window to start her epic adventure to the South Pole.
"The first five days will be tough, but I am well prepared. Then it will be the hardest climb of my life up the Leverett glacier that rises almost 2,500 metres above sea level which will slow my progress down considerably, especially as the weather conditions are so unpredictable. The weight of my kit will be approximately 45kg on top of the weight of the Polar cycle and my body weight which I have to be able to peddle up the glacier,” said Maria.
After two years of intensive training and trials in Siberia, Norway and Iceland, Maria, 35, from Wales is determined to beat the competition for the title from Spaniard Juan Mendez and American Daniel Burton. Even though they have set off two weeks prior to Maria, Maria's cycle choice, route choice and expedition planning means her journey could be achieved by January 7.
Friday, December 06, 2013 - 07:42 AM
We have used our knowledge and expertise in bringing together some of our parts from our current trikes along with a few custom built additions to produce a monster that has the capabilities to go the distance.Here at ICE Trikes we have been given one of our biggest challenges to date; to design and build a cycle capable of conquering the savage conditions and hazardous terrain of Antarctica. Our current ICE trike range was going to make a sound starting point for such a vehicle as it combines stability with an incredibly comfortable riding platform and a dependable frame. However, it was going to require some radical alterations to make it suitable for traversing the extremes of Antarctica’s climate and terrain.
The trike is a tool which will be used by the very capable Maria Leigerstam in her attempt to reach the South Pole. Maria has previously completed such extreme challenges as the Marathon des Sables (5 and half marathons in 6 days through the Sahara desert) and the Siberian Black Ice race (379 miles up Lake Baikal in Siberia). These are two of the toughest races on earth in the two extremes of weather conditions.
Some of the parts which are standard to both our production machines and the Antarctic expedition trike are listed below with the custom designed parts listed below that.
ICE Ergo-Flow Mesh Seat
The ICE Ergo-Flow mesh seat utilises the latest in advanced materials to deliver durable comfort and support. The seat frame has been precisely designed and constructed to provide optimum back support. The frame is fitted with an ergonomically designed cover made from breathable fabrics to maximise airflow. Cushioning in the base and side bolsters enhance comfort, and tension in the back can be adjusted. This will give Maria comfort and stability for the 18 hour days she will be putting in on the trike for the duration of her 20 or more day expedition.We have used our knowledge and expertise in bringing together some of our parts from our current trikes along with a few custom built additions to produce a monster that has the capabilities to go the distance.
Steering and Geometry
The trike is fitted with our standard indirect steering for natural and intuitive handling which will remain controlled, predictable and light, even under the difficult undulating surface of Antarctica. The steering system dissipates vibrations and shock before they reach the hands to give a comfortable and safe feel.
ICE 4130 Chromoly Steel Cruciform
Aircraft-grade heat-treated 4130 chromoly steel provides ideal qualities for the cruciform: strength, fatigue resistance and vibration absorption. The design exploits these properties to give unique handling characteristics and superior comfort.
ICE Big Back-End
The Back-End has been redesigned from the ground up, incorporating a step-down mid-drive and the ability to hold a 4.8” Surly tyre, giving both the power and grip that will be required is soft snow. It has been constructed from aircraft-grade heat-treated 4130 chromoly steel all hand braised together in our workshops in England. It has been specifically constructed to be able to handle the forces from the extremely low gearing especially at the low temperatures it will be subjected to.
Rack & Rack Extensions
We have taken our tried and tested rack top and sides, and provided an extension rack with support stays to provide extra capacity to hold all of the bags Maria will need on her journey. The rack has undergone rigorous testing and has been proven to hold 100kg+. The large load set out over the back wheel will also have an added benefit of providing the rear tyre with even more traction.
Surly Big Fat Larry Front Tyres
The Larry tyre measures about 4.7˝ wide, a wide tyre was essential to give the float required not to sink into the snow. It also had the benefit of having a suitable tread and grip needed for the soft ground.
Surly Lou Spiked Rear Tyre
ICE Started with a standard Surly Lou which is a 26 x 4.8” rear-specific tyre. The Surly Lou’s tread has tall knobs designed to grind, crawl and claw its way over icy, snowy, wet, loose or otherwise inhospitable terrain. After a lot of testing Maria then added some spikes to the rear wheel to give it far more traction in icy conditions.
Starting with a standard mountain bike chain-set we have engineered a mid-drive that will provide an extremely low gear. In addition to this, we have designed heavy duty guards to protect the chain-rings which serve a dual purpose in preventing the chain from dropping off. The mid drive steps the gearing down by 2:1.
ICE Custom Boom
ICE has specifically designed the custom front boom to excel in tough conditions. We chose again to use the heat-treated 4130 chromoly steel for its reliable qualities. A curve has been added to the boom to help improve the circulation to the feet in the cold weather.
We have selected a heavy duty YBN mountain bike chain. The low gearing of the White Ice Cycle requires the chain to take exceptionally high forces and also, as a result of the mid-drive, it requires 3 complete chains so it was important to pick a chain that could be relied upon.
Custom Gearing and Q-Rings
A Shimano 12-36 9 speed cassette, a 2-1 Mid-Drive Step Down and a Rotor Q Ring chain-set gives a bottom gear of 8.7”. This effectively provides a gear that is twice as easy as a standard mountain bike. The Q rings also help to reduce the negative effects of the dead spot making 1-in-3 gradients effortless.
Hope FatSno Hubs
These specifically designed fat bike hubs are made in England by Hope. They are wider than standard hubs to build up a pair of stronger front wheels which can withstand the extreme conditions of triking in one of the most inhospitable places on earth.
Wednesday, November 27, 2013 - 07:22 AM
This Christmas a British woman will attempt to become the first person to cycle to the South Pole.
Racing over 400 miles from the edge of the Antarctic continent Maria Leijerstam hopes to beat two other male contenders to claim the world record.
Maria, aged 35, will face savage conditions with temperatures as low as -35°C and wind speeds up to 50 miles per hour. She will have to overcome dangerous obstacles such as crevasses, shifting ice shelves, glaciers and snowstorms.
This audacious challenge has been attempted before by riders on standard winter bikes known as Fat Bikes, but none have yet succeeded. After two years research Maria has taken a radical new approach that could help win her the title and re-define the future of polar expeditions.
“Fat Bikes fail because they get blown over in the high winds, or can’t ride fast enough through the snow to stay upright. I knew I needed something that would overcome these limitations.” said Maria, who runs Multisports Wales.
Maria will ride an extraordinary polar cycle (now called the White ICE Cycle) designed specifically for the challenge by Inspired Cycle Engineering.
The custom-made machine is a recumbent trike, which is stable and aerodynamic. Riding in the recumbent position Maria can focus her energy on progressing through the gale-force winds and hazardous terrain.
“The trike is amazing. It’s completely stable, even in extreme winds and I can take on long steep hills that I’d never be able to climb on a bike” said Maria.
The design is based on a standard ICE Sprint recumbent trike, with modifications to ensure it can tackle the rigorous challenge ahead. The frame is made from an aircraft grade steel selected for it’s strength and fatigue resistance. It is fitted with 4.5 inch wide snow tyres for unsurpassed traction and float over snow and ice. The gears are effectively twice as easy as a standard mountain bike, which will allow Maria to climb 1-in-3 gradients.
“This is a beast of a trike. It’s very special and there’s nothing else like it in the world. Our standard trikes are highly sophisticated and they retail from £2000. Maria’s trike would cost in the region of £20,000” said Chris Parker, director of ICE Trikes and designer of Maria’s polar trike.
Maria’s preparation has included training and equipment testing in Siberia, Norway and Iceland. To replicate the severe cold of Antarctica she has endured a day cycling in an industrial freezer – much to the surprise of factory workers who continued to stack shelves with frozen food.
Maria has identified a route to the South Pole virtually untested by polar explorers. She will start her bid for the world record by climbing the Leverett Glacier before heading due south for the South Pole some 400 miles ahead. The route she will take is used by American scientists based at the McMurdo Research Station on the Ross Ice Shelf to transport fuel to the South Pole.
The radical approach of using a recumbent trike on a new route could re-define the future of polar expeditions. Maria predicts that extreme tourism companies will offer trike expeditions in the near future.
“In a few years’ time companies who now run polar ski tours will also offer polar trike tours” said Maria.
As manager of a company that organises adventure races and training, Maria knows the industry well. She is accustomed to extreme sports and in 2012 came second in the Black Ice Race – a 400 mile winter cycle along the entire length of Lake Baikal in Siberia.
Maria is now well and truly prepared to take on the challenge ahead.
“I have met Maria, seen the polar cycle and spent time with her on her training trip in Iceland. I am convinced she has a very good chance of making it” said Emil Grimmsson, CEO of Arctic Trucks who will support Maria during her world record attempt.Watch the drama unfold live on Maria's website www.whiteicecycle.com, and on the ICE Trikes Facebook, Twitter and YouTube channels.