Hanebrink designs bike for Blue Peter presenter's Antarctic challenge

Only 400-plus miles to go. In -50C conditions. With winds up to 125mph. UPDATE: Expert says Skelton won't use the bike much.
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Only 400-plus miles to go. In -50C conditions. With winds up to 125mph. UPDATE: Expert says Skelton won't use the bike much.

US Hanebrink bike brand has supplied the bike for Blue Peter presenter Helen Skelton's ride to the Antarctic, reports the BBC.

Skelton is riding the specially-built bike for 500 miles, hoping to become the first person to use a bike to reach the South Pole in 20 days.

The bike has to function in -25C temperatures, which can potentially drop further still to -50C. Windspeeds can reach up to 125 mph and average at a mere 80mph. However, @AlaskaJill has posted a blog posting and tweeted on why she thinks the bike won't be used much: "[Skelton] has already kite-skied many more miles than she's ridden. I expect that trend to continue."

Hanebrink's Dan Hanebrink and Kane Fortune took three months to finish the specially designed bike. They had previously created one for explorer Doug Stoup, who biked it for around 200 miles in Antarctica's Heritage range.

"The bike has never been tested in conditions quite as extreme as Helen is doing," said Fortune.

Bike Design

The frame has been made from seamless aluminium aircraft tubing, heat treated to withstand extreme temperatures. Wind tunnel tests with Skelton allowed for fine-tuning.

The frame itself has a lower centre of gravity, with the back wheel set back further than usual. The bike features a rear-only disc brake, designed to provide as little drag as possible. Fluid in hydraulic brakes would freeze, so simple mechanical brakes have been used.

The extra tough saddle has been made of organic leather and copper rivets, while the metal cage pedals have power straps designed for Skelton's snow boots - allowing her to pedal with full 360-degree power as if she was riding in standard shoes.
The handlebar is equipped with adjustable clip to allow adjustments on positioning.

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The hand-made wheels and wheel hubs with sealed bearings weigh 1ib each. The tubeless rubber tyres measure 20-inch and 20cm-wide, weighing almost 8lb each. Designed to bulge over the rim for stability and traction, the wide surface area of the tyre distributes the rider weight over the width of the tyre. Air pressure will be adjustable, according to pressure.

Skelton will also walk and snowkite for sections of the journey.

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