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BACK TO NEWS  |  WRITTEN ON 9 november 2022

Karen Darke, MBE - Pole of Possibility. An Antarctic World First, ICE Full Fat Handcycle World-Record Challenge

Karen was as a geologist in the Bolivian Andes, but a life-changing accident aged 21 left her paralysed from the chest down. But this didn't stop her and she then became a British paralympic cyclist, para-triathlete, adventurer and author. She competed at the 2016 Rio Paralympics winning Gold in the Women's road time trial, following her success in the 2012 London Paralympics winning a silver medal in the Women's road time trial.

The Pole of Possibility (POP) is a World First and Guinness World-record breaking 300km cycle. She will be riding an ICE Full Fat recumbent trike fitted with a one-off handcycle modification by a company called Ztrikes, especially for the Pole of Possibility challenge. In which the team will explore personal and planetary possibility around mindset, technology and sustainability.

Karens latest and biggest challenge is called 'The Pole of Possibility', planned for December 2022. She describes it as 'A unique Antarctic project exploring ‘inner gold’, value of nature & sustainable wellness'.

Karen says, "I have cried twice now on beaches, after 30 years of being paralysed I have never been able to go to these places, being able to go on to a beach, into a forest with friends and be immersed in this beautiful place ... it's completely life-changing".

Paralympian Karen Darke and team will cycle and ski across the Antarctic plateau using enabling technology to explore the value of nature. Karen, paralysed from the chest down will unravel the process and mindsets that have helped to navigate tough mental, emotional and physical challenges. The team will explore the power of nature and its critical role in keeping humans and the planet in balance and wellness. 

The journey into the icy Antarctic wilds will be with film-maker Mike Webster who will record the expedition through a documentary film, and Professor Mike Christie of Aberystwyth University who will use the expedition as a research platform to demonstrate the impacts of climate change on the Antarctic continent and how this has wider impacts to people and nature across the world.

The Team’s vision is to ‘inspire through exploration’. Through this unique expedition, the Pole of Possibility team will demonstrate what is possible when we seek the growth in difficult challenges, and highlight how interactions with nature can keep ourselves and our planet in a state of health & and wellness.

The team hope to encourage people to see the opportunities in adversity and diversity, to recognise the value of nature for physical and mental well-being, and to catalyse thinking on sustainable living.

Karen will be cycling, using only her hands, 300km to and from the Pole of Possibility across the Antarctic on an ICE Full Fat trike with the bespoke custom handcycle modification created by ZTrikes, especially for this challenge.

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ICE are extremely proud to be involved in the project and we wish Karen and the team every success and good luck on their challenge. The ICE Full Fat has its heritage built from the success of the Polar Cycle that was designed and built by ICE for Maria Leijerstam's 2006 cycle to the South Pole Guinness world record in 2013.

Find out more about Karen and the Pole of Possibility here or read more in the Outside website article and learn more about the ICE Full Fat here. 

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