Monday, September 15, 2008

Ian Hibell, cycling adventurer, 1934-2008

Ian Hibell in April 2006
(photo by backintheworld, Creative Commons)

There has been a small flurry of activity to mark the passing of Ian Hibell, a cyclist who took his bicycle everywhere and wrote about it. Taking a two year leave from work, he returned to the office a decade later but was soon off on new trips. One of those endearing English eccentrics, he was a true adventurer: the first man to ride from the top to the bottom of the Americas and the first across the Darien Gap in Panama, he also rode from Norway to Capetown and pretty well everywhere you could ride (or barely) on the planet.

Into the wilds of Darien:



He rode the equivalent of ten times around the equator, according to the respectful obituary in the Economist. His book, "Into the Remote Places," was published in 1984 and has been out of print for many years. Perhaps his untimely passing, a victim of racing motorists and a hit-and-run incident in Greece, will renew interest in it by a publisher and we may read yet again of the man from quiet Devon, going through the wild and trackless wastes of the world, who never stopped riding.

Resononance-FM's The Bike Show featured a podcast about Ian Hibell recently in which his friend Nic Henderson reminisced about his friend. You can hear it here. Mr. Henderson also has a simple page dedicated to Ian Hibell, including information about his bikes (and the special self-designed mud-scraper!).

2 comments:

Lily on the Road said...

How wonderful to toss aside the "norm" and truly live your dreams...that is what real living is all about. Too many of us worry about inconsequential things and don't bring life to its full potential.

How sad he ended his passionate life in such a manner, but he was doing what he loved and I would absolutely consider him a true pioneer.

thank you, as always, for broadening my horizons...

Nick said...

An exceptional man, I think. How sad that it should have taken his death to make me aware of him.