Sibirsky Extreme 2012 - The Toughest Ride of Them All

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by Colebatch, Oct 18, 2012.

  1. Colebatch

    Colebatch "Moto Porn"ographer

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    We waited half an hour for Steve ... but still no sign of him.

    In the end, Erik said he would wait 15 minutes more before going back for him. I would ride up to the Vitim, 10-15 km ahead and tell the guys we lost Steve.

    It occurred to me that Steve must have kept going straight at that turn off where he blew past me at high speed.

    There were a few more funky bridges between here and the Vitim (this one shot on Steves camera)

    [​IMG]

    But I got there and found both guys had taken their bikes over. Geir was waiting at the near end and was asking where we all were. I told him we lost Steve.

    I looked at the bridge ... I looked at the river. It looked loads better than 3 years ago when were here on that cold, dark, stormy, windy, frightening day. The river now was lower, and calmer. The sky looked happy and kinda blue. I decided to ride it.

    <iframe width="1280" height="720" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/pUZGc3z5htw" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
  2. Colebatch

    Colebatch "Moto Porn"ographer

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    As mentioned, Geir and Terry had already crossed.

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

    <iframe width="1280" height="720" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/lZil2LChcTc" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    Note the energy, excitement and adrenaline Geir shows after crossing, is very similar to Iker's crossing a couple of days earlier
  3. ROD CURRIE

    ROD CURRIE Been here awhile

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    All the time watching those clips I'm reciting " look where you want to go....look where you want to go" ....much as maybe you guys were?

    Having seen the pics of the swollen angry river 3 years ago, and the slippery, wet, broken bridge nothing would have enticed me to ride it under those conditions -if you survived the fall into the river without the bike hitting you, the weight of your gear and the currents would ensure you never came up again until you were very dead indeed.

    Even under these more benign conditions conditions it's not something you do lightly and I take my virtual hat off to you guys. That's one life used up....:deal
  4. Colebatch

    Colebatch "Moto Porn"ographer

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    I thought I would put a small tribute up here to those who have crossed the bridge.

    But first, for those who have only seen what the bridge looks like in the videos, I will again highlight the challenge of the bridge. The biggest fear factor in the bridge is its height above the water. Pretty widely estimated at 50 feet / 15 metres. This is not visibile at all on the videos, which show no depth perception. But I can tell you it is totally perceptible to the rider when he is on the bike! You are on a narrow platform of greasy old railway sleepers, 2.5 metres (7.5 feet) wide, with no edge or railing, 15 metres (50 feet) above the water.

    So for the sake of clarity, and to offer some perspective of the height of the bridge, here is a pic of the bridge that shows the distance to the water:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I pay tribute here to the other assorted video'd bike crossings of the bridge:

    A couple of British guys in 2012 on KTM 690s:
    <iframe width="1280" height="720" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/ADqBCNDWZ1I?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    Kudu Expeditions, who became the first company to lead a tour group over the BAM and over the Vitim Bridge (Including the first non russian woman to ride the bridge!) - also in 2012 ... about 10 days earlier than us. On XTZ660s
    <iframe width="960" height="720" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/PdmC3QxSzbg?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    Another pair of British guys, Ed and Dan, in 2011. On a DR400 and WR250.
    <iframe width="960" height="720" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/8fG1LUFFrVM?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    Hans-Joerg ... a thrill seeking Austrian in 2011. On an F650 Dakar
    <iframe width="960" height="720" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/tSXP9rkfMc8?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    Staffan Johansson and Victor Solli (Swedes) in 2011, on an XTZ660
    <iframe src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/30032234" width="960" height="540" frameborder="0" webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen></iframe> <p><a href="http://vimeo.com/30032234">Vitim River 2011</a> from <a href="http://vimeo.com/user8787258">Staffan Johansson</a> on <a href="http://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p>

    And of course, Iker the Spaniard ... just a few days ahead of us ... on a big 990
    <iframe width="960" height="720" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/_LjxEjxBVBE?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    For some reason, the guys who did it in 2011 all reported it being not a problem. Maybe the water was low then, or weather very benign.
  5. Colebatch

    Colebatch "Moto Porn"ographer

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    To give you an idea how angry the river is when the water level is up, this is a video from an Estonian adventurer in a car, just 3 weeks after us ... (late July 2012)

    <iframe width="1280" height="720" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/WUeoQ1c3qzA?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
  6. davesupreme

    davesupreme grand poobah

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    sorry, but that spanish guy splittin' those parallel boards on the last section at that speed is nukkin' futz!......:eek1
  7. Pamirski

    Pamirski Adventurer

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    When the river is that high and you are on a car, you should be conscious, that you might have to cross it twice (a german 4x4-driver wrote me recently about that experience in 2011).
    BTW when we were taken some kilometers on the 110 by a big Kamaz, the driver also mentioned the Vitim-bridge and that it is one of the more difficult stretches for a truck.

    Christian

    PS I had the same problem of finding a hotel in Taksimo, the VIST-hotel was full and one hotel did not want to take foreigners, I also ended in some private hut. Meanwhile the VIST-hotel in Uojan was fine.
  8. dano619

    dano619 Been here awhile

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    unbelievable footage---time to go change ye olde shorts now.......will return....[​IMG]
  9. littlebike

    littlebike Adventurer

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    This crossing really looks scary especially when filmed from helmet camera :eek1
    Wonder how much chance you have to recover any unbalance mistake or loose focus only 1 sec towards end of this deadly long bridge :grim

    Respect to the finishers
  10. hardwaregrrl

    hardwaregrrl ignore list

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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!:D


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

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

  11. GiorgioXT

    GiorgioXT Long timer

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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 !
  12. tpar1220

    tpar1220 such a pud..

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    that last video is awesome, but the music..... sheesh, almost gave me a seizure! :huh
  13. Schannulleke

    Schannulleke Been here awhile

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    I would at best dare to cross it like the 690 guy did. Or maybe on foot pushing the bike :D


    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?
  14. Northstar Beemer

    Northstar Beemer Been here awhile

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    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!
  15. Pickup man

    Pickup man Been here awhile

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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.
  16. Colebatch

    Colebatch "Moto Porn"ographer

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    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

    <iframe width="960" height="720" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/AHtzBt-fOAM?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
  17. Tony P

    Tony P Doddery Old Fart

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    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!!!! :eek1

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

    dallastx Been here awhile

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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 it´s all a matter of attitude and willpower, isn´t 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.
  19. Scribe

    Scribe £Bob£

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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. :eek1
  20. Pamirski

    Pamirski Adventurer

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    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.