It’s a dream for many adventure travelers to ride on all the continents, but actually achieving this is nearly impossible, especially if you include Antarctica on your list. However, a group of BMW riders has successfully experienced the ‘white continent’ from the saddle of an F650GS, thanks to Ayres Adventures.
Anyone with a little knowledge of geography will know that you can’t actually ride from the southernmost tip of the Americas all the way to the Antarctic Peninsula, as there are several hundred miles of cold, uninviting ocean to negotiate first. However, it’s not impossible to cross the Drake Passage in a boat, unload a BMW GS bike onto the Antarctic Peninsula and experience a ride like no other – and that’s exactly what the team from Ayres Adventures made possible for nine lucky motorcyclists.
This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity came at the end of an adventure tour from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia, which culminated with a cruise to Antarctica. Starting in the capital of Argentina, the tour made its way south through some of the best Latin American biking country imaginable, including the Peninsula Valdes, Argentina’s Perito Moreno Glacier and Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park. Upon arrival in Ushuaia – the ‘end of the world’ – the participants spent time at the Tierra del Fuego National Park before departing for a 10-day cruise to the Antarctic Peninsula and the ‘seventh’ continent.
Slovenian adventure traveler Benka Pulko (Guinness World Record holder for her solo motorcycle journey around the world on a GS) is known to have shipped a motorcycle to Antarctica more than 10 years ago, but apart from that, it is the first time a tour company has made it possible for motorcyclists to ride on Antarctica. However, as Ron Ayres confirms, out of respect to the environment it is unlikely that a ride like this will ever be offered again.
“It was thanks to our tour leaders John Jesson from South Africa and Claus Lazik from Germany that nine motorcyclists from the UK, Australia, Indonesia, and the USA were able to experience this continent on two wheels,” said Ron, who broke a Guinness World Record for endurance motorcycling in 1998. “And despite the success of this tour, we’ve decided that we won’t bring a bike here in the future. The logistics and legal issues associated with accomplishing this were considerable, as were the risks associated with the venture!
“The window of opportunity for landing the motorcycle was very small and subject to unpredictable weather conditions. That, coupled with our reluctance to contribute to the over-commercialization of the last remaining ‘pristine’ wilderness area on earth, has led me to decide to not offer the feature again. As in the past, we will continue to incorporate a cruise to Antarctica into our trips to Ushuaia, but we’ll be leaving the motorcycles behind.”