On February 11th, a small group of Iohan Gueorguiev’s friends gathered to spread the late bike adventurer’s ashes and complete his journey to “the end of the world” in Ushuaia, Argentina. Find photos from the memorial service and a short tribute from photographer Federico Cabrera here…
Words and photos by Federico Cabrera (@theironlyportrait)
Earlier this month, a group of Iohan Gueorguiev’s friends held a memorial service for the beloved cyclist in Ushuaia, Argentina, where he finally reached “the end of the world” at the southern tip of South America. I was honored to be among the attendees.
In 2014, he started pedaling from Alaska down through countless highways, roads, and trails, trying to reach Ushuaia, the famous city that marks the end of the Pan-American Highway. His shy smile had the power to make friends in an instant, often of the four-legged kind. He captured the attention of many thousands of followers who saw their dreams come true through his rides. He generated headlines and received recognition from strangers who mentioned his name from a distance on radio shows, podcasts, or in casual conversations among friends. He was one of those people who do what few dare. He carried glory on his shoulders with humility, one pedal stroke at a time.
While in El Chaltén, Argentina, in 2020, just 1,000 miles away from Ushuaia, the pandemic took him back to British Columbia, almost to his starting point. There, he spent some time trying to explore the province, but was unable to tap into the rhythm of the road that he’d become accustomed to in his many years as the Bike Wanderer. He had been struggling with sleep apnea-induced insomnia for some time, and the struggle ultimately became too much for him to bear.
Thanks to some of his friends’ efforts, Iohan’s ashes finally arrived in Argentina at the beginning of this year. Initially, the idea was to send them to El Chaltén a year ago so they could travel the stretch of the “route” missing from his journey by bicycle. Unfortunately, that tour didn’t come to fruition for multiple reasons, including a new variant of the virus, but I carried his license plate down to Ushuaia.
On February 11th, in Tierra del Fuego’s National Park, Iohan’s ashes were freed on the waters of the Beagle Channel, at the point where the Pan-American Highway finishes, where “civilization” ends, where the young cyclist wanted to arrive and embark on a new path—because not even the end of the world was enough for this adventurer.
At the ceremony, Iohan’s dear friend Matt had these words to share: “Iohan, you’re not here to savor this moment, and it wasn’t achieved by the means that you hoped, in the form that you hoped. But, when I had heard that you had died, I knew immediately that I wanted to do this for you, to carry you to the final destination for your trip.
You were an inspiration to people around the world. Your tales of courage and perseverance, pushing your bike where few dared to push before, were the stuff of legends. Yet few knew how deep the pain you carried with you cut and how much suffering you attempted to bury with your adventures. That is at an end now, along with your journey.
I sincerely hope this gesture brings you a measure of peace in the afterlife and that you enjoy your journey to wherever these waters may take you. Know that you were loved in life and will continue to be loved and revered in your afterlife. You will be forever in our thoughts. RIP, Bike Wanderer, Iohan Gueorguiev.”
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