Your Health Questions Answered

What Exactly Is Everesting?

The cycling challenge gained popularity during Covid-19 lockdowns, but it's still being tackled by amateurs and pros. Here's how to get started.

By Allison Forsyth August 18, 2021

Image: Kari Perrin

If you are looking to get into the world of cycling, you'll want to start slow. But as you become more advanced, you may hear the term "Everesting" within the cycling community. The word may have "rest" in it, but it's anything but relaxing.

Everesting is the action of cycling the length or height of Mount Everest (8,848 meters or 29,028 feet) in a single ride.

During lockdowns caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, bike sales skyrocketed, and many amateur cyclists geared up to accept the "Everesting" challenge.

The concept of Everesting was developed by an Australian cycling club called Hells 500 in the 1990s, after witnessing the first everesting ride by British cyclist George Mallory in 1994, when he rode up Mount Donna Buang in the Victorian Alps of Australia.

The club began finding local inclines to bike up and down, until they reached the length of Everest. Now, cyclists around the world do the same. According to the challenge's official website, more than 18,000 successful rides have been completed in 108 countries.

While Florida is not known for rolling hills, there are other ways to complete this cycling challenge on flat land. One is cycling the length of Everest on a paved or gravel trail. Another is finding a virtual program, like vEveresting, to help guide you on a stationary bike ride with the proper incline measurements.

How can you work your way up to 8,848 meters?

Mike Hart at Sarasota Cycle bike and repair shop shared his tips for how to get started on a cycling routine until you are an Everesting pro.

Start small.

"For a lot of people, a long ride might be 10 miles, and that is OK," says Hart. "Work your way up until you can accomplish long rides like a century, or 100 miles."

Make sure you are hydrated and nourished.

"No matter what your strength or ability on the bike, drink before you're thirsty and eat before you're hungry," says Hart. "You will not make it the distance you want to go, especially when it's humid outside."

Create a progress plan.

Hart is part of the Sarasota Manatee Bicycle Club, which recently completed a ride across the state. The group began with 25- to 30-mile rides and worked their way up to 40 to 50 miles until they reached 175 miles. They increased the mileage every few days.

Use proper equipment.

Invest in stiff-soled shoes. Soft soles absorb pedaling energy and slow you down, according to a Facebook post by Sarasota Cycle. Cycling jerseys, bike shorts, gloves and properly fitting helmets can be found at local bike shops or online.

Share your experience.

Hart says bicycle sales are still up, well after lockdowns have been lifted. This means people are joining cycling groups, getting outside and posting their journeys online. If you want your Everesting progress to be recorded, post your time, distance and elevation to the official site's hall of fame.

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