One woman, one bike, one world

Fredrika Ek
Swedish bicyclist Fredrika Ek prepares to start her crossing of the Sahara in Mauritania in September 2017. She financed the trip through her own savings from working low-wage jobs since the age of 18. The cyclist was able to attract some commercial sponsors, and she used the media exposure to raise money for an international human rights organization.

Fredrika Ek is a young woman who dreams big. On March 8, 2015, she walked out the door of her parents’ house in Sundsvall, Sweden, grabbed her bicycle, and in her own words “set out in search of epic natural experiences and the physical and mental challenge of a lifetime.” With a budget of only €10 a day ($11.40), she spent 1,042 days covering 50,000 kilometers (31,000 miles) solo on her bicycle. Ms. Ek did not consider herself a cyclist; she just found the bike to be the best tool “to access some of the most spectacular and least accessible corners of the planet.”

 

Fredrika Ek

Looking at her photos, it’s obvious that she met her expectation of an “epic natural experience.” Riding through 45 countries in nearly three years, she also discovered something that was less expected: “the life changing meetings and deeply humbling experiences with people along the way. The world is a beautiful place – thanks to all the amazing people in it.” Ek’s social media posts were followed by thousands of people, she gained commercial sponsors, and she raised funds for ActionAid, an international human rights organization. She also experienced storms, mechanical problems, and sexual harassment, none of which dampened her spirits for long. On her return to Sweden, Ek was surprised to learn that she was named European Adventurer of the Year. But she isn’t ready to slow down yet. She’s keeping busy with the launch of her book, “Around the World in 1000 Days.” The book features the stories and photos of her years on the road.

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