Ex-UCD Student to make feature-length documentary as part of 17,000-mile bike trip


A UCD Arts graduate is set to make a feature-length documentary of his 17,000-mile journey cycling from the Northernmost tip of Alaska to the south of Argentina this summer to raise money for the Carer’s Society of Ireland.

Ian Lacey, a former UCD student of Archaeology and Geography, aims to raise €100,000 from the trip, and will be accompanied on the journey by his friend, Lee Saville. They have named their project ‘350 South’ and will be travelling through 15 countries by bicycle over the course of several months.

Lacey, who has received backing from a production company and Setanta Sports, is due to begin his journey on July 15th.

Speaking to The University Observer, Lacey said that the reason for fundraising for the Carer’s Society of Ireland was because he and his mother have spent a number of years caring for his grandmother.

“At the very start it was just something that we wanted to do, it would just satisfy our adventurous spirit, we always wanted to do a lot of travelling and I’ve done bits and pieces at a time, but nothing like where I’d go for a year or extended periods of time,” explained Lacey. “So it started off as that, one trip that would be a challenge, but we also wanted to do something positive for others.”

Lacey described hearing of someone who had made a similar journey, and that he was hit with a desire to make the same trip himself.  The journey will begin in Deadhorse, the northernmost town in Alaska, and will finish up in the Patagonia region, located in the very south of South America. According to their website, the journey is over 17,000 miles and ‘the route [they] chose was one that aimed to follow the historic Pan American Highway to the closest extent possible’.

Lacey and Saville will be unsupported throughout the journey and will carry their tents, food and equipment on their backs. However, Lacey is hopeful that locals will offer support throughout the journey.

The biggest difficulty facing the 350South team, according to Lacey, is planning the exact route that they should take: “The biggest difficulty is probably planning, trying to know the exact route that we’re going to take,” he says. “We know where we want to go right now, but there’s some areas that we’d be unsure how many days we’ll be on our own, or if we’ll meet anyone on the road. Places like the Atacama Desert, in Chile, can be really difficult, it’s a desert and nobody really lives there, apart from on the coast.”

Lacey is hopeful that many UCD students will share their website on Facebook and Twitter pages where they be providing updates on their preparations over the coming months.

More information can be found at www.350south.org.