Philadelphia student rides bicycle up world's highest volcano

Matteo Iadonisi Image
Friday, April 7, 2023
Philadelphia student rides bicycle up world's highest volcano
20-year-old Ryan Torres was born in Spain, has cycled across the United States, and challenged a world record in South America.

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Spanish-born Ryan Torres rides on two wheels, speaks four languages, and has an endless amount of dreams on his bucket list.

"My lifelong goal has been to start a life in the United States," said the 20-year-old from Barcelona. "And the University of Pennsylvania helped me come here to the States to make that dream come true."

The sophomore in the Wharton School has a passion for physical activity, including running, swimming, and biking. But they have become more than just hobbies.

Torres has run non-stop on foot from Philadelphia to New York. He also pedaled a 300-dollar bicycle from Florida to California just in time to start an internship. And over winter break, he booked a plane ticket to South America to tackle his biggest challenge yet.

The goal was to cycle towards the top of Ojos del Salado, the volcano with the highest elevation in the world. He had an additional goal to raise funds for World Bicycle Relief. He also partnered with Why Cycles and Revel Bikes to obtain a titanium bicycle with larger-than-life tires to make the challenge possible.

Torres and a cycling partner pedaled through the Atacama Desert, which is considered among the world's driest. And then, he faced a five-day pilgrimage up the volcano alone.

"When you're out there, you really cannot believe it. Not the least of reasons being that like, not much oxygen is getting to your brain," he said. "But then there's also things that you have to prepare for. Like logistically, how are you going to carry your food? How are you going to carry your water? What gear are you going to need?"

Nonetheless, Torres made it home with an amazing story to tell.

Torres clocked in at an altitude of 20,626 feet. He has since submitted the evidence for review by Guinness World Records, and hopes he will be certified with the world record for highest altitude climbed continuously on bicycle.

In the future, Torres plans to travel more, experience different cultures, and break other world records. He also dreams of opening a business with the open-ended goal of making people happy.

"So for me, the American Dream is just being able to like, dream up of a challenge and being able to make it possible," he said. "And I'm going to do many more."

RELATED: Pair of Pa. teen figure skaters dazzle on ice internationally

Blake Gilman and Julia Epps grew up together on the ice. Their skills have so far taken them to California and Germany, but the best is yet to come!