10 Bikes That Have Been to Unusual Places | PedalChef

Key Takeaways

  • Bikes have reached some of the most extreme environments on Earth.
  • Cycling adventures can turn the ordinary into the extraordinary.
  • Human determination has taken biking beyond traditional boundaries.

Bicycles aren't just for commuting or weekend rides in the park.

Imagine cruising through a snowstorm in Antarctica or weaving through the ruins of Chernobyl on two wheels.

Now that’s what you call an adventure, right?

Bikes have traversed the globe from the icy plains of the North Pole to the scorching sands of the Sahara Desert.

You might be surprised at the unusual places bikes have rolled their tires through, taking their riders on journeys beyond the imagination.

Exploring the unknown on a bike adds a personal touch to every adventure.

It's not just about the possible, but about the extraordinary.

With dedicated cyclists pushing the boundaries, these two-wheeled escapades show the versatility and resilience not only of the bikes but of the human spirit that pedals them through the paths less travelled.



Fat Bikes in Antarctica

Have you ever imagined cycling at the bottom of the world?

Well, some intrepid adventurers have taken fat bikes where few would dare to pedal—across the vast, frozen expanse of Antarctica!

Here's the spin on these polar pioneers and their beefy-tired bikes.

Why fat bikes?

Simple: those chunky, wide tires provide better flotation and traction on snow and ice, much like snowshoes for your car.

They're built to handle the kind of terrain that would make a regular mountain bike quiver in its frame.

Surly Leads the Pack

Fat bikes by Surly are a popular choice.

Models like the Moonlander and Pugsley are especially designed to conquer the harsh Antarctic conditions.


These bikes have:

  • Ultra-wide tires (up to 4.8 inches!)
  • Durable frames
  • Ability to carry heavy loads (think supplies for a long trek)

Adventurous Souls & Their Bikes

  • Italian cyclist Omar Di Felice embarked on a two-month bikepacking journey across Antarctica on a Wilier Triestina fat bike.
  • Hank's Custom Carver Antarctica Bicycle stands out for stability with a build featuring four fat bike wheels.
  • Daniel Burton currently holds a record for a 774.8-mile ride in the Antarctic.

These riders didn't just push pedals.

They pushed the boundaries of what's possible, finding a way to make their marks on an unforgiving continent.

Have you got what it takes to join the ranks of these polar pedalers?

Mountain Bikes on Mount Kilimanjaro

Ever thought of cycling to the roof of Africa?

Yes, we’re talking about pedaling your way up to the dizzying heights of Mount Kilimanjaro.

It's not just a hiker’s paradise; mountain bikers have claimed their piece of the Kilimanjaro pie too!

Hardtail Heroes

First off, kudos to those audacious souls who've taken mountain bikes where most people would only trek.

Kona, the bike brand known for their sturdy builds, has seen its hardtail models conquer the rugged terrain of Kilimanjaro.

The Challenge

Imagine this: a breath-taking 19,341-foot ascent on two wheels through changing ecosystems, from rainforests to a near-vertical scree.

A challenge?


But oh, so rewarding.

High-Elevation Highlights

  • Rebecca Rusch: She's a seven-time world champion who tackled Kilimanjaro on a mountain bike, calling it her toughest ride ever. Impressive, right?
  • Trail Tales: A typical itinerary for a Kilimanjaro biking adventure might include a thrilling 27 km ride from Horombo Hut down to Marangu Gate.

Permits and Prices

Let's talk logistics.

You need a cycling permit (about $500) and a skillful climbing crew to help haul those bikes and supplies.

Planning ensures a smoother ride.

The Impact

Biking Kilimanjaro isn't just for personal achievement.

Some cyclists have raised substantial funds for noble causes, like World Bicycle Relief.

They've aimed to get a dollar for every foot of elevation - all for a good cause!

Remember, with the right bike, determination, and planning, you could be cycling amongst the clouds on Africa’s tallest peak.

Imagine the stories you’ll tell!

Brompton in Space

Ever imagined pedaling among the stars?

Well, the trusty Brompton folding bike didn’t exactly take up cycling in the zero-gravity expanse, but it did score a pretty exclusive ticket aboard the Space Shuttle.

It’s not every day you hear about bikes defying gravity, but the Brompton's journey is out of this world—literally!

Astronaut Jay Apt decided that his mission needed a folding companion and chose this compact marvel for the ride.

Notable Moments:

  • Model: Brompton folding bike
  • Astronaut: Jay Apt
  • Venue: Aboard the Space Shuttle

Why Brompton?

It’s famed for its ability to shrink down to a portable package, and what's more convenient than space-saving gear when you're sharing quarters with sophisticated equipment?

Despite not being cycled in a traditional sense, the Brompton bike onboard the shuttle is a testament to the bike's versatile design and its readiness to take on not just tight storage spaces on Earth, but in spacecraft as well!

Sure, you might not be taking your Brompton for a spin around the moon anytime soon, but knowing it's been up there makes the daily commute feel a bit more cosmic, doesn't it?

So, the next time you tuck away your Brompton after riding to work, just remember—it's a bike that's reached for the stars.

Touring Bikes on the Silk Road

Ever thought about taking the ride of a lifetime?

Picture yourself pedaling along the ancient Silk Road, where every turn is a page out of history.

That's a journey where your trusty touring bike doesn't just transport you; it becomes your travel buddy.

Now, let's talk wheels!

The Trusty Steeds: You’ve got options!

Bikes like the Surly Long Haul Trucker and Trek 520 are not just steel-framed beauties; they are the rugged companions of choice for tackling this legendary route.

  • Surly Long Haul Trucker: This bike's not only got a quirky name but it’s built like a tank — in the best way. It's designed to be loaded down with gear and still give you a smooth ride.
  • Trek 520: The name rings with reliability, doesn't it? A classic in the touring community, this bike brings together comfort and durability, so you can focus on soaking in those epic vistas.

Gear Up and Go:

  • Comfort is key: We're talking padded seats and handlebars because you'll be in the saddle for quite a stretch.
  • Storage smart: Panniers are your best friends. Where else will you stash your souvenirs?
  • Maintenance musts: A toolkit will save you in a pinch because bike shops are scarce in the steppe.

Embarking on the Silk Road on two wheels isn't just an adventure; it's entering a story that’s been unfolding for centuries.

Biking through countries woven together by historic trade routes takes you through a mosaic of cultures and landscapes.

And you, with every pedal stroke, become a part of that tale.

Ready to make some history?

Road Bikes at the North Pole

Ever wondered if your trusty road bike could handle the chill of the Arctic?

Well, it turns out that road bikes can, and have been, reinvented to endure the most unlikely of places, including the remote chills of the North Pole.

Imagine pedaling over the frozen tundra, snow crunching under your tires — quite the cool adventure, don't you think?

These bikes, equipped with wider tires specifically for the journey, are a far cry from slender-tired speedsters you'd typically see zipping through city streets.

Shinji Kazama, a name you might not have heard before, is someone you’d call an extreme cyclist adventurer.


He holds the distinction of being the first person ever to reach the North Pole on a motorcycle, but it sparks the imagination for road biking possibilities, doesn’t it?

Unusual Arctic Cycling Facts
Who: Shinji Kazama
What: First motorcycle ride to the North Pole
When: April 21

While a motorcycle is different from a bicycle, the concept of converting a road bike for polar conditions takes a page from Kazama’s groundbreaking journey.

Those contemplating such a frosty feat would follow in his tire tracks by adapting their bikes for the snow, ice, and rough terrain.

Can you picture yourself at the North Pole, your breath visible against the icy backdrop, with nothing but white expanses and your modified road bike for company?

It takes a bit of ingenuity, gear switch-up, and a dash of bravado, but your road bike could potentially stand among the few that have wheeled into the arctic's heart.

Remember, when it comes to biking, it's not just about the destination; it's the ride that counts.

Whether it's a serene coastal road or the stark beauty of the North Pole, every ride is its own adventure.

So let's keep pushing those boundaries, one pedal at a time!

BMX in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone

Have you ever imagined pedaling your bike through the eerie silence of an abandoned city?

BMX riders, renowned for their love of unusual spots, found just such a thrill in a place steeped with history: Chernobyl's Exclusion Zone.

Imagine the adrenaline rush of exploring the ghost towns within the zone, where nature is slowly reclaiming what was left behind.

Here's what a daring trip on a BMX through Chernobyl might look like for you:

  • Streets and Structures: Glide across abandoned streets and derelict buildings, turning the desolate scenery into a dystopian playground.
  • Flora and Fauna: Encounter the wildlife that has made this area their home – yes, even in a place marked by its past, life finds a way.
  • The Unique Challenge: Feel the unique mix of excitement and solemnity as you ride through areas that have stood still since 1986.

Safety Measures:

  • Radiation Protection: Wear protective gear because, well, it's still Chernobyl.
  • Guided Tours: Stick with authorized guides to avoid restricted areas—you don't want your extreme ride to turn into an extreme problem.

What to Remember:

  • Bring your camera! (For obvious reasons...)
  • Respect the history and the site. It's not just an epic backdrop; it's a place of memory.
  • Plan thoroughly. This isn't your average Sunday cycle.

Fancy carving up some concrete in the midst of a post-apocalyptic scene?

Chernobyl might just be the most unforgettable BMX track you'll ever encounter!

Mountain Bikes in the Amazon

Have you ever imagined pedaling through one of the world's most diverse ecosystems?

Picture this: you, amidst the lush greenery, riding a mountain bike across the Amazon rainforest.

It's not your average afternoon ride; it's an adventure on two wheels where each turn offers a new, breathtaking view.

Mountain bikes that survive this kind of journey are no ordinary bikes.

They're built like tanks but nimble like catamounts, designed to withstand the rugged terrain and damp conditions of the Amazon.

Brands like Santa Cruz and Specialized are often the favorites for these expeditions.


Their reputation for durability in the face of adversity is well-earned.

  • Santa Cruz: With advanced suspension systems, these bikes ensure a smoother ride over roots and rocks.
  • Specialized: Known for their ergonomic designs, offering comfort and control during extended treks.

Heading into the Amazon with the right bike is crucial — it means the difference between forging rivers and being bogged down by mud.

Astonishingly, bikers have maneuvered through this dense forest, where paths are more often created by wildlife than by people.

They come out on the other side with stories of monkeys in the canopy and rare birds in flight.

Here’s what you need to keep in mind:

  • Durability: Your bike must survive the journey. High-quality materials are non-negotiable.
  • Handling: Twists, turns, and surprise obstacles? No problem with the right bike.
  • Protection: Overhead foliage and unexpected rainfall? Ensure your bike can handle moisture without rusting.

In a place where nature rules, your mountain bike is your trusted steed.

It's not just about the destination; it's the ride through one of Earth's natural wonders.

Ready for the ride of your life?🚵‍♂️✨

Cyclocross Bikes in the Sahara Desert

Have you ever imagined pedaling through the vast dunes of the Sahara Desert?

Thought about the camel as your only companion?

While it might seem outlandish, cyclocross bikes are actually well-suited for such sandy adventures.

What's Special About Cyclocross Bikes?

  • Design: Cyclocross bikes are a hybrid of road and mountain bikes.
  • Tires: They have knobby tires for grip, but they're narrow enough to keep you quick on your feet...or pedals!
  • Durability: Made to withstand rough terrain and conditions.

Why Cyclocross in the Sahara?

  • Versatility: The bikes are versatile enough to handle sandy, uneven terrain.
  • Tire Clearance: These bikes can accommodate large tires, crucial for sandy landscapes.

In the Sahara, you'd want a bike that can carry you over vast sandy expanses without missing a beat.

Brands like Cannondale and Giant offer models that thrive even in daunting desert conditions.

Think lightweight frames for easy maneuvering and extra tire clearance to prevent getting bogged down in the sand.

Aspect Benefit for Saharan Adventure
Frame Material Withstands intense heat and terrain
Tire Size Provides stability on sandy surfaces
Gear Range Helps you navigate diverse dune landscapes

Remember, hydration is key.

Riders have been known to carry up to 10L of water for longer stretches, ensuring they stay hydrated under the scorching Saharan sun.

Quick Stats:

  • Average Speed: 10 kmph
  • Water Carried: 2L to 10L
  • Terrain: Varied and sandy

Wrap up your water bottles and embrace the challenge.

Your cyclocross bike is more than ready to take on the Sahara, and so are you!

Folding Bikes on the Great Wall of China

Ever imagined riding alongside one of humanity's greatest architectural feats?

Picture yourself cruising on the Great Wall of China, not with just any bike, but with a folding one!

These cleverly designed bikes are a traveler's best friend.

Why a folding bike, you ask?

Well, it's simple:

  • Travel-Friendly: Fold it, bag it, and you're good to go.
  • Space Efficient: When space is tight, a folding bike shines with its compact footprint.
  • Versatility: Encounter a no-bike zone? Just fold it up and carry on by foot.

Popular Foldable Options:

  • Brompton C Line Explore: A fan favorite for its ultra-compact design.
  • Tern Link C8: Boasts a small fold size of 16" x 32" x 29", making it quite portable.

Your journey could start at a less crowded section of the Wall, unfolding your bike for an early morning ride.

Imagine the sun casting a warm glow over ancient stones as you pedal along.

And here's a cool bit of info: the Brompton C Line and Tern Link C8 are top picks for their balance of quality and convenience.

Remember, the Great Wall isn't your typical cycling path, and respecting the site is key.

Use a folding bike to explore reachable areas without the worry of bulky transport, and when it's time to step off the bike, simply fold it up and carry on with your adventure.

Tips for Your Ride:

  • Check the Wall's access points for bike-friendly sections.
  • Bring plenty of water, as sections can be remote.
  • Always stay on marked paths to preserve the site and for your safety.

A folding bike offers an unconventional yet respectful way to appreciate the magnificence of the Great Wall.

Who knew history and cycling could blend so seamlessly?

Specialized Fat Bikes in the 'Door to Hell'

Ever heard of the 'Door to Hell'?

It's a fiery pit in Turkmenistan's Karakum Desert, also known as the Darvaza gas crater.

Wouldn't it be a kick to ride around this scorching blaze on two wheels?

If you're up for it, your best bet is the Specialized Fatboy – a bike that's equal parts brawn and agility.

Here's what makes it so special:

  • Tires: With its 4.6" Ground Control tires, the Fatboy provides the grip and flotation you'd need on the soft desert sands surrounding the inferno.
  • Geometry: Its design mirrors Specialized 29er geometry for quick, nimble handling, so you can dodge desert foxes—or your own shadow!

The stats?

A lightweight frame combined with a fork designed to conquer any terrain means you probably won't sink into the sands of despair around Darvaza.

Picture this:

  • You're there, the glow of the crater illuminating your path, and your Specialized Fatboy not even breaking a sweat.
  • This isn't just a bike; it's a desert stallion, unphased by the heat, unfazed by the rugged terrain.

Remember, safety is your comrade on such an adventurous ride.

The Fatboy's traction is your trusty sidekick against the unexpected slips and shifts of sandy soil.

So, you've confronted the gates of hell on this rugged ride.

Your Fatboy?

It's just getting warmed up.

And you?

Well, that's a story for the grandkids, isn't it?