Belfast Telegraph

Skelton plans South Pole bike bid

Daredevil Blue Peter presenter Helen Skelton is attempting to become the first person to use a bike to reach the South Pole.

The 28-year-old will begin her gruelling 500-mile ski, kite and ice bike journey across Antarctica for Sport Relief on January 1 next year.

Helen, whose previous exploits include high-wire walking between the chimneys of Battersea Power Station and becoming the first person to solo kayak the length of the Amazon, is aiming to set a new world record for the longest bicycle journey on snow.

She said: "The magnitude of this challenge is finally starting to dawn on me. My friends keep pointing out that nobody has ever used a bike to reach the South Pole, possibly because it can't be done!

"Maybe it can't, but the more people tell me it's impossible the more I think, if I can do this I can look any kid in the eye and say 'impossible and difficult are different things'."

The Blue Peter action woman will travel up to 14 hours a day when she starts her journey 83 degrees south, battling 80mph winds and temperatures that plummet to as low as -50C.

Possible dangers include dehydration, frostbite, sun blindness, snow drifts and altitude sickness.

Helen will have to pull a sledge that will weigh up to 12 stone, containing all the food, equipment and supplies she will need for her journey.

The frame of the presenter's ice bike, which took three months to build, has been made from aluminium aircraft tubing designed to withstand the harsh Antarctic conditions.

Helen's Polar Challenge For Sport Relief will be shown in a special nine-week series on Blue Peter from the end of January to March and the presenter can be sponsored at www.sportrelief.com/helen.

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