The BAM Road - ultimate test of man and machine

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Colebatch, Dec 14, 2009.

  1. Colebatch

    Colebatch "Moto Porn"ographer

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    Absolutely, like I said earlier in the thread, China is the only realistic external threat to the territorial integrity of the country. (Thus the sole rationale for the BAM)

    Internally, Russia has done a pretty good job of cultivating a sense of nationalism, usually through total integration and a resulting low level of racism between "Russians" and the Asian citizens of Russia. It's one positive legacy of the socialist past. (Note this lack of racism towards native Siberians is not necessarily echoed in attitudes toward people of African origin)

    The Buryats:
    [​IMG]

    The Yakuts:
    [​IMG]

    The Tuvans:
    [​IMG]

    the Altaits:
    [​IMG]

    And other Asian Russian nationalities all seem to identify totally with being Russian.

    I also noted in Mongolia, that despite being totally under the Soviet sphere of influence for 70 years, the Mongolians (in contrast with the eastern europeans) have no negative beef with Russians. The Mongolians you see, are very wary of the Chinese. The Soviets could easily have absorbed Mongolia during the cold war, but they didn't. The Mongolians don't feel the Chinese would be that generous. The Chinese got a hold of Outer Mongolia several hundred years ago and have absorbed it into China, populating the province of 4 million Mongols with 20 million ethnic Chinese. So because of those contrasting histories, the Mongolians are much more comfortable putting their faith in the Russians when it comes to the destiny of the remainder of Mongolia.

    While I was Mongolia this year, there was a big celebration (70th anniversary) of the Battle of Khalkhin Gol, in which the Soviet Union came to defend Mongolia again a Japanese incursion from occupied Manchuria. The victor at Khalkhin Gol was none other than Georgy Zhukov, the man who arguably more than any other was later responsible for the defeat of the Germans in WWII (The Battle of Khalkhin Gol was actually taking place at the same time as the German invasion of Poland). Zhukov is to this day revered in Mongolia, and I managed to pick up a Mongolian Zhukov medal (vintage 1996) at a market there. Here is a picture of Russian President Medvedev in Mongolia for the anniversary celebrations, with his Mongolian counterpart at a ceremony commemorating both the battle and the ongoing co-operation between the Russians and the Mongols (overlooked by a statue of said Marshal Zhukov).

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I think the strategic concern of all the countries in North Asia, from Russia, to Mongolia to Japan and Korea, is China. Russia (like the other countries) is very much aware that it needs to play a balancing game between the significant economic co-operation between Russia and China (Russia supplies large amounts of energy and raw materials to China) and the medium to longer term strategic interests of the country, which obviously will be to protect the resources of Siberia. The Russia - China relationship is a complex one. China is a sometimes seen as an ally of Russia, but in my opinion its more of a rival.

    Russia recently gave a disputed island near Khabarovsk that had been occupied by Russia to China (and was the scene of many border skirmish in the Mao - Brezhnev days), to much positive sentiment in China. In the shorter term this was to boost good will and economic co-operation, but I am sure in the longer term, there is also the thought that getting rid of any border disputes, gives the Chinese no "excuse" for anything else. The China - Russian border is now fixed and not subject to any disputes, for the first time in centuries.
  2. Old Dirt Eater

    Old Dirt Eater Been here awhile

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    Thank You, Thank You, Thank You,
  3. Tony P

    Tony P Doddery Old Fart

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    I have already written a report of Terry and my attempt to ride the rest of the BAM to Taishet.

    The journey was not straightforeward or problem free, but was still full of same unexpected assistance from the unparralled Russian people.

    I wrote this while in Moscow recently and unfortunately did not back it to my external hard drive or Email it to myself. We are looking for it on all the machines I used which were the LapTop we took (that is now in Lisbon, Portugal with Marina), the house PC and her Daughter's LapTop, both in Moscow.

    Apologies for the delay, but I hope to have this, my final report (and some of Terry's photos), within the next few hours.
  4. hardwaregrrl

    hardwaregrrl ignore list

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    I'm sure I'm not the only one on the edge of my chair for that!! Thanks for all of your efforts!!!!
  5. Gale B.T.

    Gale B.T. Long timer

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    Nope , I also sit here awaiting some more of this ride. I keep switching back and forth between BAM and Dakar.

    Good luck Tony in finding that report. Thanks so much for such a great ride and report from the 3 of you.

    gale
  6. John Papagelis

    John Papagelis Adventurer

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    ...unbelievable experience !!




  7. achesley

    achesley Old Motorcyclist

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    :clap :clap You guys just keep driving this report into the classics archive. None better, few equal! Thanks so much for the great pictures, fantastic narration and super history lessons. I've learned much.:clap :clap
    Being in Indo China in the early '60's, I quickly learned the difference between the people and the government. :lol3
  8. bwalsh

    bwalsh Long timer

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    I hope you can find that report!
    It's great you guys are sharing these experience's. This RR is my kind of adventure motorcycling! Few adventurers will take on this much of a challenge.
    Thank you very much and again, my hats off to you guys!
  9. GB

    GB . Administrator

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    PerpetualMotion et al:

    Let the OP give HIS perceptions on the geo-political situation... if you disagree, you may PM him, but do NOT pollute this excellent thread with your arguments, which have been punted to the thread graveyard forum, Head Explody.

    Read the posted rules in Ride Reports and abide by them.
  10. Teuton

    Teuton n00b

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    Absolutely amazing!!!! Probably the best internet forum thread I have ever seen. Thank you very much for allowing us to "stroll along" with you guys.:beer
  11. Bluebull2007

    Bluebull2007 Adventurer

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    Thanks for that huge effort of putting such a nice RR together. I know how much work and time it takes! Your patience with the many questions asked is admirable! :clap :clap :clap :clap

    Can you please post a link to your Artic circle report too if you dont mind!?

    Hope to see you one day down here in Peru. :freaky Please drop me a line if you are coming this way.
  12. Colebatch

    Colebatch "Moto Porn"ographer

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    I haven't posted it yet. :thumb

    But there will be two, as I went up there twice this summer. Once with Tony in June / July (which will get its own thread later and be written up in more detail) and once as a diversion before I finished the BAM Road, which will be included in this current thread.
  13. Brush Buster

    Brush Buster Adventurer

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    This ride report has been an incredible read! It has helped pass the time each evening in the frozen tundra of Northern Minnesota.

    I think it would be a great idea for you to make the rounds to different BMW Dealerships in the USA promoting there motorcycles. This would also give you a chance to promote your books and DVDS at BMW'S expense and give us a chance to meet you in person. :clap

    I believe Striking Viking did this after his incredible solo ride thru South America.

    Thank You
    Bob R.
  14. SprintST

    SprintST Been here awhile

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    Just stumbled on this RR and have hit page 15 so far. Going to be a very long night reading I can tell, and it's 1:00 a.m. now.

    Great stuff.
  15. Tony P

    Tony P Doddery Old Fart

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    We had no leader as such other than this was part of Colebatch’s original inspirational project. However as we walked back towards the hotel from the boat we both felt a little lost. The air was colder and, as a reminder that summer was almost over, yellowing dead leaves were falling and blowing across the dry ground. In the square there were tables and chairs outside summer cafes. We bought some shashlik and beer and for the first time chose to eat and drink inside the café ‘tent’.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Next morning we loaded our bikes, fuelled up and headed west but not before my last look at the mighty River Lena. This was a river I had never heard of four years ago yet had featured so large in recent months. It is truly huge. The last bridge was here in Ust Kut some 3,700 kilometres (2,300 miles) before it enters the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:place w:st="on">Arctic Ocean</st1:place>. When sailing down it two months earlier on a ferry barge we saw the junction where the <st1:placeName w:st="on">Vitim</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType w:st="on">River</st1:placeType> fed into it, unaware at the time of the significance the <st1:place w:st="on">Vitim</st1:place> would have in my memory for the rest of my life. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Even though setting off about 9.30am the air still had the melancholy feel of cold damp in it. It did not feel right. After the highs and lows of the past months my feeling were a little flat. Something was missing in my life.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    The road wound along smaller rivers, through villages and forests, but as always, never far from the railway line that had been our constant companion for all these weeks. Longer sections were tarmac and the loose sections were generally through villages – presumably as a speed reduction measure. We stopped at a café for lunch in Vidim (so close sounding to a name I will never forget!). Terry started talking with the truckers parked up while I ordered food. By now the sun was high and strong through the clear air and things were feeling more normal – except there were only two of us.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    We rode through <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Bratsk</st1:place></st1:City>, our largest city since the eastern coastal areas. <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Bratsk</st1:place></st1:City> is a huge sprawling industrial city with two claims to fame. The massive 4 kilometre dam we rode along and being among the most polluted cities in <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:country-region w:st="on">Russia</st1:country-region></st1:place>. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    We rode through, following the main road that turned south towards the <st1:Street w:st="on"><st1:address w:st="on">Trans Siberia Highway</st1:address></st1:Street>. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    But we had plans for the two of us to complete more of the route of the BAM…..<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
  16. FES

    FES Been here awhile

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    Berely on page 4. Work keeps getting on my way, so I'M moving slow...

    let the adventures into Motherland begin (or continue for that matter):lurk

    Mike
  17. MizzouRider

    MizzouRider Long timer

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    Tony,
    Are you going to tell us? Please...
  18. mudmonster

    mudmonster Been here awhile

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    Well big balls guys, i think we all should aspire to ride an adventure like this before we fall off the perch....awsome !
  19. sallydog

    sallydog 80 miles a day for 41 months

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    just a quick reply about the boot thing. i was on a trip where a boot was sewed back together using safety wire.
  20. Tony P

    Tony P Doddery Old Fart

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    Thanks. This was offered at the repairers, but it would destroy the waterproof GoreTex layer and if possible that would have been nice to have fairly dry feet now and again!

    I learned so much ... for next time!!!!