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 Riding the legendary BAM Road in Siberia

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Biohazzy




PostSubject: Riding the legendary BAM Road in Siberia   Wed Jul 11, 2018 9:35 am

Since reading about this 1’300 kilometre stretch of road in far eastern Russia a couple of years ago the idea to ride along the railway from Tynda to Lake Baikal was stuck in our heads. This road was constructed to build the Baikal – Amur railway between 1930 – 1984 and some sections have not been maintained since. It is therefore known to be one of the toughest off-road adventures. Also it does get harder every year since bridges wash away and the road (trail) deteriorates into an abysmal state.

Day 1:


We left Tynda after Lunch a day earlier than planned. This was because a local guy helped us out with some desperately needed knobbys and we did not have to wait for the massively delayed Mitas C02 we ordered a month ago.

The first section of road to the town of Lopcha was easy gravel, but the road deteriorated into two track sooner than we had expected. This slowed our progress and the goal to ride to the town of Yuktali vanished as we had a flat tire as the sun began to set. As we started to look for a spot to put down the tent a bear crossed the road right in front of us. Having our way too close bear-encounters in Canada and the U.S in our heads, we decided to follow the railway a bit further to get some distance between us and the bear.



A couple of kilometres down the road we ran into our first big obstacle tough: a massive river with a washed away bridge. We had to cross the railway bridge, there was just no other way. After listening if any trains are coming and sending a small prayer towards heaven, we started the bikes and rode over the bridge as fast as we dared.



Just as the sun went down we got lucky: on the other side of the tracks we spotted an abandoned railway shack which was already grown over by foliage. These things where built many years ago to house the workers along the railway. After moving some vodka bottles and spiders out of the way it was home for the night. Right by the river, with a small oven to spend warmth trough the night and absolutely bear safe it felt like paradise.



2nd day:

We were greeted the next morning by a lovely blue sky and the fog just starting to dissolve over the river next to our home for the night. The plan was to ride the embankment of the railway for some time until the official road improved a bit.

After a couple of kilometers we reached the first river, which was just low enough to cross with the bikes. Kate stopped with the plan to get off the bike and wade trough the river to check for shallow or deep spots, but just before she waded in Flo already bolted trough the river. It was a bit too deep for that, but he made it through nonetheless. Just. Kate then proceeded to scout the river for shallow spots and made it through (without getting her feet wet!).


What then followed was one river crossing after another, but they where all rideable after some wading through and checking for shallow and not so rocky spots. We both got wet feet multiple times and after some crossings stopped emptying the boots altogether. There will be another water crossing and flooded boots just around the next corner anyway!





Around lunchtime we arrived in Yuktali. Looking for fuel we got directed to the cabin of Jura and Lena. They sell petrol out of their house in 10l jerry cans, which they empty into your thank just wearing shorts (Jura, not Lena of course).



After getting fuel for the next part we headed off towards the Olyokma River. This crossing is not always easy, since the road bridge washed away a year or two ago and one has to cross the railway bridge which is guarded. But we lucked out since as we turned up the guards were asleep or had gone for lunch, so we just stopped, listened for trains and went for it. This would be the last guarded bridge until we reached the Kuanda river.



Only a couple of kilometers after crossing Olyokma we had to cross via the railway bridge again since the river was too high and the road bride being only a pile of wood on the side of the river. Stop, turn off the engine, listen for trains and go for it…this is getting a routine already!

We then drove on through rivers, over wonky bridges and along the railway. It was not possible drive a steady speed since there was always some obstacle in the way which needed to be checked out first.




After another 60 kilometers or so we found a lovely railway shack, with a killer view over a river and an oven which we used to dry clothes, boots, laptops and whatnot. We then dug into our vodka reserves, overlooking a river landscape and watching a bear playing in the water on the other side of the riverbank.



Keep posted for the next part!
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rsteiger

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PostSubject: Re: Riding the legendary BAM Road in Siberia   Wed Jul 11, 2018 9:56 am

Great report and sounds like an awesome ride!

One trick to listen for trains is to put your ear to the train track. Usually you can hear them even when they are very far off in the distance.
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Biohazzy




PostSubject: Re: Riding the legendary BAM Road in Siberia   Wed Jul 11, 2018 9:13 pm

Thanks!
I actually tried to listen for trains by putting my ear on the tracks. It felt weird tough, like putting my head on a guillotine!
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jotis




PostSubject: Re: Riding the legendary BAM Road in Siberia   Thu Jul 12, 2018 7:59 pm

What an epic trip, thanks for sharing! Where are you based out of? Did you ride the bikes from there or ship them? Good stuff.
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Biohazzy




PostSubject: Re: Riding the legendary BAM Road in Siberia   Sat Jul 14, 2018 8:13 am

Cheers! We started in Alaska but we are from Switzerland. Shipped from Switzerland to Alaska. After making it to Ushuaia we shipped from Uruguay to Vladivostok via Korea. Today we clocked 56'000km on this trip!
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jotis




PostSubject: Re: Riding the legendary BAM Road in Siberia   Sat Jul 14, 2018 11:39 am

Biohazzy wrote:
Cheers! We started in Alaska but we are from Switzerland. Shipped from Switzerland to Alaska. After making it to Ushuaia we shipped from Uruguay to Vladivostok via Korea. Today we clocked 56'000km on this trip!

Nice! Keep the updates coming. Cheers.
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dfoustou




PostSubject: Re: Riding the legendary BAM Road in Siberia   Sat Jul 21, 2018 9:12 am

perfect adventure!
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beer goggle

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PostSubject: Re: Riding the legendary BAM Road in Siberia   Wed Jul 25, 2018 11:41 am

Awesome! Do you have a site you keep updated regularly?

Ok, just seen this...

http://wr250rforum.forumotion.com/t13869-travel-to-wr250r-around-the-world

cheers
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canadianshark74

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PostSubject: Re: Riding the legendary BAM Road in Siberia   Fri Jul 27, 2018 4:18 pm

Crazy, Epic ride guys, wow.
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max384




PostSubject: Re: Riding the legendary BAM Road in Siberia   Thu Aug 09, 2018 1:42 pm

Wow! Great ride! Looking forward to the next installment.
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dwollie




PostSubject: Re: Riding the legendary BAM Road in Siberia   Fri Aug 17, 2018 4:38 am

Looks like you had an awesome adventure with your bikes. Nice pics!
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Jäger
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PostSubject: Re: Riding the legendary BAM Road in Siberia   Wed Aug 29, 2018 12:51 pm

Thanks for sharing! (A little too much wet work for my personal choice for a ride, however).

Looking forward to the next installment.
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