Ian Hibell, legendary adventurer and rough-stuff cyclist, was knocked off his bike and killed in late August on the Athens-Salonika highway in Greece. Although reported as a case of hit and run, the driver was later caught and arrested for causing the 74-year-old cyclist’s death.
Hibell was best known for his cycle treks to little-visited corners of the world; his exploits took him as far as Antarctica, the Amazon, the Sahara and remote Indonesian islands. This incredible man was credited with one of the first (and possibly the first) non-motorised crossing of Colombia’s Atrato swamp and Panama’s notoriously marsh-ridden Darien Gap. To this day there remains no road connection between Colombia and Panama.
Ian left a secure job in Devon in 1963, determined to see more of the world, but his initial idea of a two year tour soon became ten year odyssey. He spent much of the reminder of his life cycle touring, often in extreme climates and terrain. His marathon cross-globe treks included a run from Cape Horn to Alaska and a trans-Amazonia journey, while his tales of charging elephants and the more friendly interests of an Eskimo princess thrilled as almost much as his achievements.
He was honoured by the League of American Wheelmen and by the CTC for his ‘trail-blazing’ tenacity. After being invited to address YaleUniversity, he subsequently lectured on both sides of the Atlantic. His bookInto Remote Places recounts many of his exploits.