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Old 02-02-2013, 06:52 AM   #3271
littlebike
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Vitim Bridge - Scary

Quote:
Originally Posted by Colebatch View Post
As mentioned, Geir and Terry had already crossed.

Here is Geir's crossing - complete with tourist stop in the middle for pics:

Note the energy, excitement and adrenaline Geir shows after crossing, is very similar to Iker's crossing a couple of days earlier
This crossing really looks scary especially when filmed from helmet camera
Wonder how much chance you have to recover any unbalance mistake or loose focus only 1 sec towards end of this deadly long bridge

Respect to the finishers
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Old 02-02-2013, 06:58 AM   #3272
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Nope....uh-uh...not gonna do it.! Don't have the nuts, I mean putang, to ride that forker. But I really enjoy watching others do it!


Big bummer for me that I didn't get to see the airhead cross it, but I believe they have in the past!! Pruster.

Hey Cloudgazer, read the other reports Walter has in his profile. You'll be blown away for weeks.!!

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I came across this RR from a link on a local adv riders forum.
I've read all 210 pages in the last 3 days.
Holy Cow!
This is probably one of the best things I've ever read.
I'm a very amateur adv rider and Walther's exploits are the stuff of dreams.

I kid you not when I say this is probably the best thread on the internet.
Bikes, adventure, far flung places, amazing cast of characters, gripping story. Pretty girls (but no where near enough). Its got it all.

When this ride report is done they may as well switch off the internet. Cause it doesn't get better than this.

For someone that lives at the southern tip of Africa the places in this RR are like from another world.

Thank you Walther and crew. Thank you!
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Old 02-02-2013, 07:00 AM   #3273
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After seeing the videos, the idea of survive 43 minutes on the bridge during a storm is much more haunting than riding it.
Hats off !
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Old 02-02-2013, 07:31 AM   #3274
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that last video is awesome, but the music..... sheesh, almost gave me a seizure!
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Old 02-02-2013, 08:07 AM   #3275
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I would at best dare to cross it like the 690 guy did. Or maybe on foot pushing the bike


What are the steel "balconies" every 30 or so meters?

Is the train bridge next to the wooden bridge every one takes, a better option/alternative? Is it in better/worst condition, is it accessible?
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Old 02-02-2013, 08:14 AM   #3276
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Cultural question

I look at these decrepit brideges and have to ask - absent any Government attention to these structures, why the locals don't simply go out and repair them on a volunteer basis?

After all they are mostly the ones who use them....and then again looking at the pictures peraps they are the ones who do the work...

Epic report - love it!
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Old 02-02-2013, 08:25 AM   #3277
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I wouldnt be able to do the bridge either. Even if my buddies pushed me off and said just ''go'', I would stop in the middle freeze up and soil myself!
Hats off to all the crazy adventurers that do it though.
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Old 02-02-2013, 08:47 AM   #3278
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Northstar Beemer View Post
I look at these decrepit brideges and have to ask - absent any Government attention to these structures, why the locals don't simply go out and repair them on a volunteer basis?

After all they are mostly the ones who use them....and then again looking at the pictures peraps they are the ones who do the work...

Epic report - love it!
I think they probably have

It looked like this at one stage ... I suspect about 2005

Anyone who would take a bike across it then deserves a medal

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Old 02-02-2013, 09:59 AM   #3279
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Quote:
Originally Posted by littlebike View Post
This crossing really looks scary especially when filmed from helmet camera
Wonder how much chance you have to recover any unbalance mistake or loose focus only 1 sec towards end of this deadly long bridge
The helmet cameras demonstrate Rod's mantra "Look where you want to go" which I also recited regularly throughout 2009 but added "and not at the front wheel". But not on THAT bridge!

Iker is the 'exception that proves the rule'.

Not only did he spend agonisingly long periods (for me!) looking at the scenery but his left hand was waving around far from the grip, riding one handed, pointing things out to add to his commentary.
If he concentrated maybe he would have been quicker!!!!

Crazy, crazy Guy.
One of the very greatest I have had the privilege of meeting.

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Old 02-02-2013, 10:55 AM   #3280
dallastx
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Dear Walter!

I believe you once said the Tenere was too heavy and therefore not suitable for this kind of traveling, but hey in several of these Vitim videos I saw the same Tenere. I suppose itīs all a matter of attitude and willpower, isnīt it?
Anyway, I dig your RR's, they're the best! Only hope that kind of sceneries won't be spoiled by mass-tourism, like touringcar-busses going over the Vitim bridge....
Greetz, Hans.
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Old 02-02-2013, 11:07 AM   #3281
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Possibly a stupid question here, but why not take that shiny new(er) rail bridge off to the side? You did rail bridges in other sections and I assume there are emergency pullouts as there were on those other bridges?

Oh course, then you wouldn't have bragging rights. But that bridge makes me stones shrivel just a bit.
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Old 02-02-2013, 11:19 AM   #3282
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scribe View Post
Possibly a stupid question here, but why not take that shiny new(er) rail bridge off to the side? You did rail bridges in other sections and I assume there are emergency pullouts as there were on those other bridges?

Oh course, then you wouldn't have bragging rights. But that bridge makes me stones shrivel just a bit.
Some bridges are guarded, I assume Vitim bridge is among the guarded ones. So they wouldn't let you over the bridge, you could probably take the elektritschka, which stops at Vitim and then get off in Kuanda. Wasn't there a talk of dissmantling the second Vitim bridge, what would probably result in closing the BAM for throughgoing traffic.
btw, when I crossed the Jenissey-bridge in Kransoyarsk, I think it was much more heavily guarded, with dogs running around.

As for the bridges, I also wondered, but more on the road of bones. They are building a lot of new bridges and upgrading heavily the surface, meanwhile the relics of the bridge in Kyubeme stay as they are. It would make much more sense to get an allweather-proof crossing at Kyubeme, than building new bridges on the federal highway, while the old ones are still ok. But Tomtor and Omjakon are not lying at a federal highway.
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Old 02-02-2013, 11:52 AM   #3283
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dallastx View Post
Dear Walter!

I believe you once said the Tenere was too heavy and therefore not suitable for this kind of traveling, but hey in several of these Vitim videos I saw the same Tenere. I suppose itīs all a matter of attitude and willpower, isnīt it?
Well you can take a 1200 Adventure on these roads too (no one has yet I believe) ... the point is the heavier the bike is, the less fun it is. And the more willpower you need. 3 years ago Tony P took a dakar with metal boxes ... only a little bit lighter than a Tenere with metal boxes. And he was 67 years old.

I said before I wouldnt take a Tenere because its too similar to my bike, just a load heavier, less power and drinks more fuel. Same reason I wouldnt take a Dakar ... tho obviously Dakars can and have done this road. I wouldnt tell someone to get one for a trip like this when they can get something much lighter.

Terry took an XT660 3 years ago on these roads - the very basis for the XTZ660, without the fairing and big tank ... and he swapped it for a 30 kg ligher X-country when he got back. Like TonyP, the point is not that you cant do it on a heavier single ... the point is if you have a choice, try and choose something lighter. Even reading Ikers blog once he got to Tynda, he said a 690 KTM would have been a far more sensible choice for the BAM Road than his 990, and the guy is a riding god.

Steve was a beginner off road and took a F800GS and thats even a few kgs heavier than a Tenere ... and I fully approved of him coming with us, despite the fact he was on a heavy bike and was new to off road. I never told him his bike wasnt suitable so dont come. I just told him its going to be harder work for him. He just had to work a lot harder doing it than the rest of us.

And he switched bikes to an XC as soon as he finished in Siberia.

I never said these roads (Western BAM) arent feasible on a Tenere. Eastern BAM maybe ... Eastern BAM is much much more difficult. If I was going back to the Eastern BAM again, then I would definitely take a bike even lighter than my XC.
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Old 02-02-2013, 11:58 AM   #3284
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pamirski View Post
Some bridges are guarded, I assume Vitim bridge is among the guarded ones. So they wouldn't let you over the bridge, you could probably take the elektritschka, which stops at Vitim and then get off in Kuanda. Wasn't there a talk of dissmantling the second Vitim bridge, what would probably result in closing the BAM for throughgoing traffic.
btw, when I crossed the Jenissey-bridge in Kransoyarsk, I think it was much more heavily guarded, with dogs running around.

As for the bridges, I also wondered, but more on the road of bones. They are building a lot of new bridges and upgrading heavily the surface, meanwhile the relics of the bridge in Kyubeme stay as they are. It would make much more sense to get an allweather-proof crossing at Kyubeme, than building new bridges on the federal highway, while the old ones are still ok. But Tomtor and Omjakon are not lying at a federal highway.
There is no electrishkas after Taksimo. Its the Eastern end of electrification on the BAM. You would be able to put the bikes on a local diesel train with a flatbed at Taksimo and get off at Kuanda or Chara .... bearing in mind you also have to cross the Kuanda river.

There is not a lot of point building an all weather crossing at Kyubeme on the Road of Bones, because there is almost no population it serves. Basically Tomtor and Oymyakon are served OK without a bridge there. Trucks go thru the river to bring fuel, food and whatever else to the 1500 people of Tomtor and Oymayakon.

The Federal Road further north also serves mines, and bigger towns. It all comes down to economics. There is no economic justification for Tomtor and Oymyakon. There is a lot of economic justification in keeping all weather roads to Ust Nera from both the coast (Magadan) and from the regional capital (Yakutsk).
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Old 02-02-2013, 12:16 PM   #3285
Tony P
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scribe View Post
Possibly a stupid question here, but why not take that shiny new(er) rail bridge off to the side? You did rail bridges in other sections and I assume there are emergency pullouts as there were on those other bridges?
Yep! It was guarded my armed military.

Amost all of the longer bridges (more than a couple of 'section units') on the BAM were heavily guarded. The nearer to International borders even shorter ones.

The only way a bike crosses those bridges is as freight on a train.


On the eastern BAM in 2009 we were stuck at a deep river for over 24 hours. The Commandant at the adjacent bridge came and met us. He was friendly, sympathetic and enthusiastic towards us. He allowed us to use a semi-abandoned building just outside of the compound to 'camp' in. In the evening he even came with his Son and presented us with a bottle of vodka.
BUT, no way would he let us ride the bridge, otherwise he would lose his rank and position in the military.


The pullout balconies occurred only on longer bridges and alternated from side to side every second or third 'section'
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