On July 4, 2010, Joost Notenboom and Michiel Roodenburg, began a 20 month bicycle journey from Deadhorse in northern Alaska to the Antarctic Peninsula south of Ushuaia. Their mission was to take one bottle of icy Alaskan water from the Beaufort Sea down to the seas around Antarctica in a symbolic effort to complete the natural water cycle and raise awareness for the global water crisis that is leaving over 1 billion people around the world without access to safe and clean drinking water.
This incredible adventure took them through sixteen countries and across roughly 30.000 km of paved and unpaved roads, mountain passes, and dirt tracks. The trip started above the Arctic Circle and other regions along the way included the Alaskan and Canadian wilderness, the forests of the Pacific Northwest, the desert areas of Baja, the rainforests of Central and South America, the Andes highlands of Peru and Bolivia, the steppes of Patagonia, and the ice sheets of Antarctica.
To make this an even greater challenge, Cycle for Water was the first ever attempt to do all this by cycling the entire route on bamboo bicycles. This was a critical component towards minimizing the team’s carbon footprint and to demonstrate that many challenges can be overcome by using sustainable solutions.
We received this email from the Cycle for Water team on March 30, 2012. In their own words;
“Twenty months ago, me and my buddy Joost started cycling from Alaska, going south on two of your bamboo bicycles. I’m very happy to report that we made it to Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the America’s after a 12.000 mile trip. It was the first successful cycling expedition from Alaska to Argentina on bamboo bicycles!
The bamboo bicycles performed perfectly and after putting in the bamboo spokes at your workshop, did not have any problems with broken spokes whatsoever.
One of the things we learned on this trip was the importance of teamwork; not only the two of us working together, but also all the people and organizations that supported us along the way. In short, we couldn’t have done it without you and the bamboo bicycles. The bikes created so much attention and together with our mission to raise awareness for the global water crisis, which is leaving 1 billion people on this earth without access to clean drinking water, we were able to get a lot of press and media interested. Our highlight: 6 interviews with CNN.
Along the way we spoke at many schools, universities and companies. And the bamboo bicycles were always in the center of attention.
Long distance bicycle touring on bamboo bicycles is not a very common thing, but I hope we inspired some people to choose bamboo.
Last cool thing I wanted to mention; we actually took one of the bikes with us to Antarctica where we cycled a couple of miles on the ice. We think this might be the first time a Calfee Design/bamboo bicycle made it to the icy continent, the last true wilderness on earth.
Thanks again for all your support and the great bicycles, of course. They are truly pieces of art, but very functional at the same time.
Joost and Michiel
PS; find attached a couple of pictures of us and the bamboo bikes!