Ian Hibell

Every once in a while you run across a completely insane story. Today I came to Ian Hibell, famed long-distance bicyclist, by way of the Darian Gap, an uncharted, impassible piece of Panamanian land that separates North and South America. Ian Hibell was the first person to do an overland passing of the Gap as he cycled from Cape Horn to Alaska in 1970-72. Here is a video of Ian during this trek:

In a sad twist of fate, Ian was killed at 74 years of age, struck by a car while riding his bike in Greece. The Economist and The Times both published touching obituaries for Ian. This quote is from the Economist:

Bikes rarely let him down. Escaping once from spear-throwing Turkana in northern Kenya, he felt the chain come off, but managed to coast downhill to safety. He crossed China from north to south—in 2006, at 72—with just three brake-block changes, one jammed rear-brake cable and a change of tape on the handlebars. In his book, “Into the Remote Places” (1984), he described his bike as a companion, a crutch and a friend. Setting off in the morning light with “the quiet hum of the wheels, the creak of strap against load, the clink of something in the pannier”, was “delicious”.

I hope to find a copy of his book.