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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by ChrisUK, Mar 13, 2014.
My stomach turns every time I watch a video of guys riding that bridge. Congratulations!
Nice one Chris , the Vitim Bridge is a bridge to far for me now ,unless i win the loto !!! glad you made it mate andhope to catch up soon
Amazing!! Nice work.
At least you had good weather. Which made the bridge crossing turn my stomach just a little bit.
Awesome, just awesome. Waiting impatiently for more!
Ch 13 The Vitim River to the Kuanda River
The Felix Wright Kuanda Mullet Dance that is an adaptation of the Pete Berry Botty Dance. Pete rode UK to Magadan and back on an Xr400 with barely a hitch.
On my aborted Mark I attempt at the BAM trip shortly before it retired hurt, we were out eating and drinking in Novo Uoyan. I went to bed and the others carried on partying, including Pete dancing with some local women who were apparently less than impressed with him wiggling his bottom.
Since the Sochi Olympics we know Putin's view on gays. These women seemed to (wrongly) think that Pete was of that persuasion too and expressed their displeasure. Maybe Adam Lewis can help to fill in the details and adjudicate if Pete's or Felix's dance is better!
Not to be left out I attempt the dance too. On the stage. The local (easily influenced) audience aren't sure what to think...
... before kneeling down as if to say "We are not worthy. He must be the messiah..."
One of my fav pics of the trip. I don't necessarily smile easily, but this one is genuine. I even persuaded the shy little girl to join the show off boys in their group shot
More of an overview of the geography
The Kuanda River Bridge. TURN UP THE VOLUME! As mentioned in the previous video the usual way to cross the Kuanda River was to hire a Kamaz truck and put the bikes in the back. We decided to see if we could wing it as the truck isn't cheap and there was only 2 of us. I think we were lucky we only came across one scrawny bloke on guard. Had there been more, it would have cost mucho rubbles. FWIW 200 Rubles = £4 = us$6 = euro5
There were many railway bridges to cross. This was the only guarded one until Olyokma. At one, I met a train half way! More about that in the next chapter!
Golden Spike Monument, to commemorate the meeting of the 2 railway building teams. One had started in the east at the Pacific Ocean and the other in the west. This is where the tracks connected
The railway is your friend and navigator and if the sh!te hits the fan, your get out of jail free card. Like me on the Mark I and Joe after his mishap.
Hello to Montana my septic friend . Hope you're well and looking forward to the summer. When you're enjoying it, it's easy to take pics and vids. It also helps that there are so many photo ops.
Remember the Philosopher of Garaj Mahal?
I get the shudders when I watch the vid, and I'm the one who rode it! The height, the speed of the water, the temperature of the water and wearing full riding gear: None of these are helpful if you were to ride off the bridge!
Not quite in sequence chronologically, but still topical. It may not be totally clear from my ride report, but the Mark II (BMW X Challenge) did make it to Magadan and back to the UK: In November 2013. Here's a picture of it and Felix's bike in the back of my van on a mammoth drive form Rotterdam to Yorkshire in November 2013.
2 weeks ago (late April 2014), the Mark I arrived in the UK too. 4 and a half months late! The pictures below are taken by Darren Mitchell in my employer's groundsman's lawnmower shed where Darren helped me hugely get it back on its wheels and into van and home.
Mark II Transalp (and Felix's bike...) November 2013 en route Rotterdam to England. Very much on time, if not much earlier than ever imagined
In a Eurotunnel carriage sous la marche at midnight.
Mark I Transalp: Arrived mid April 2014, box opened the other day: The bike came in a container from Mongolia. Nearly half a year late! If you ever need to ship anything to or from Mongolia, I can advise an agent to most definitely avoid!
For more information on whom to use to ship from far East Russia/ Mongolia, see post #19 at http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hu...tation-motorbike-mongolia-europe-trip-57891-2
...we only toast bread, not lining
thank you for sharing. very nice adventure ride report.
The more I read RRs from Siberia and Asia in general I want to sell my 990 and get a 690 again :)
Cristian / Bob
Toasted bread smells much nicer than toasted clutch too
Good eating and drinking with you in Bucharest last month. Many thanks for showing me around.
There are lots of places that are much more fun on a light 650 single, compared to a shed like a big twin cylinder bike. That's why I bought the borrowed XC in this story. I now use my Transalps/Africa Twin for road touring and easy gravel.
Why not keep the 990 for the easy stuff and also buy a 690 for the fun stuff?
Ch 14 Kuanda to Hani: Frightening road and railway bridges and...
After the little shipping story, the RR is back on track.
Apologies if some of the town names are incorrect and the pics in the incorrect chronological order. I had 2 cameras and a helmet cam. Felix also has 2 cameras, so sorting out what goes where, wasn't easy.
Top stuff, not :-( Good fun in a perverse sort of way!
That one's broke, this one doesn't follow the track anymore and the proper one is behind me
This bridge was once for the railway. Now there's a new one next door
Yep, you've guessed it. That white stuff over my left shoulder is ice.
Memorial to a driver who lost his life at the river in the following video. We saw quite a few of these on our trip. Vodka consumption might have played a part in some victims' road traffic incident demise.
TURN UP THE VOLUME! Bridges, what bridges?! Isambard Kingdom Brunel wouldn't have been impressed! At the end, also a speeded up clip of when I got stuck in what appeared to be an innocuous puddle. And trying to free the bike... Unfortunately at some point the battery on the gopro flattened or the memory card was full. The full story and pics in the next chapter...
Even Evel Knievel might have struggled across this one!
The video to go with the pictures above and below. I remember the name Hani, because we stopped there to get some supplies and the (drunk) bloke wouldn't leave us alone and insisted on showing us his mobile phone address book entry under the name of one Walter Colebatch ! Dude, you made quite an impression on this chap! He thought you were the messiah!
We ended up on our first proper railway bridge, not including the Kuanda Bridge. Once you've done one, you get a bit cocky...
One careful lady owner. Never been offroad.
The perfect vehicle and dog for the conditions
Bloody smashing mate
Ch15 Hani(ish) to the hut, with Chara en route
Just a couple of pictures, but they tell a little story :)
We stayed at the most horrid hotel, bar none, in Chara (arriving in the middle of a rain storm) with no hot water (that you'd expect considering the price we paid) and looking like a building site, where the cafe next door was closed and the restaurant down the road wasn't able to serve up any food either (the favourite word of anyone in the hospitality industry in this godforsaken dump was "niet"). We ended up cooking some noodles on the petrol camping stove in the room. Fire hazard? Health and Safety? Who give a sh!t. We would have done the world a favour if the place had burnt down...
It was still chucking it down the following morning, but we had to leave. Giving the miserable niet-woman on reception any more money wasn't an option. A quick breakfast of (Yorkshire) tea and chocolate and we're off...
After riding 1/2 an hour, it stopped raining a little too :)
The following video already appears in the previous chapter (14), but the footage from 4 min 18 seconds onwards ties in with the photos below ;-) On the bridge in the background you see a train travelling across from right to left reminds me of a little incident:
We had ridden along the embankment for a little while. There is usually quite a bit of space, because it was built to take 2 sets of parallel tracks, but only one set was ever laid. The railway bridges however are only wide enough for 1 pair of tracks. Felix is up ahead and has crossed already. Where he is, the track curves to the left behind some trees and bushes.
I stop and turn round to see if nothing is coming from behind me. The coast is clear, but I do notice a green signal light that would be seen by any oncoming train driver I'm about a third of the way along riding the bridge-walkway with my right pannier scraping the railing and the left one over the sleepers. Felix is gesticulating wildly! It didn't take a genius to work out why. I think I mouthed to myself "Yeh, I've seen it".
A huge locomotive was heading my way! 5 feet ahead is a little alcove where there's sometimes a life-ring to throw to somebody in the river, or a bucket of salt and grit, if the walkway is icy. I get there with about 2 seconds to spare and lay the bike into the right hand railing, so the handlebars are in mid-air over the river. The train misses my left Adventure Spec Magadan pannier*** by maybe 2 feet. A close shave! The status of my underwear following the incident shall remain undisclosed :)
I had turned off the gopro 5 minutes before to conserve the battery. So no footage
So we get off the bridge and decide to head down the embankment and back to the main trail. As Adam said in post #74 at Mongolia to Magadan: Any which (the hard) way - Page 5 - ADVrider , "There's no such thing as an innocuous looking puddle in Siberia eh! " He's not wrong! Felix takes the right hand rut and just makes it. I think I'll take the left. Big mistake!
Bollox! I'm well and truly stuck! Get the luggage off and start digging
We had spotted a hut on the other side of the bridge. Felix found an axe in the hut. 3 hours that evening until it got too cold scraping with the axe and a tyre lever to help removing the cement like sludge by hand. This picture is taken the following morning during the next 2 or 3 hour shift. Luckily the air intake, carb and exhaust are so high on this bike! Often the tip of my nose was touching the water as I reached down to get another handful of mud
Are you enjoying this Mr Bright? No, not exactly.
What a great idea to have a good mate along for the ride and to have purchased a tow rope in Severobaykalsk
I was particularly weary of toasting another clutch (we didn't have a spare XC one with us), so made sure the bike was completely free before Felix gave me a tow. He apologises for me flying through the air and falling when the bike launched forwards. I was very happy and really didn't give a toss.
Our boudoir for the night between attempts trying to dig out the MarkII. Felix had some tasty freeze-dried food and kindly cooked. I wasn't in any state to help. We got the wood-burning heater going and learnt that bits of railway sleeper coated in weather preserving kerosene burn really well
*** Am I the first person to ride a bike with Magadan panniers to Magadan?!! Sorry I digress!
Please, continue regardless; and don't get upset...
Not even a bit upset?
I wasn't even the first Magadan pannier bike to Magadan in 2013! That honour went to Adam Lewis/ Mr Short Way Round.
Somebody told me a long time ago I'm the first person to ride a BMW GS into the ground, literally: http://www.thebrightstuff.com/ch26.htm
the answer is simple: $$$ :)
I'm glad you liked here in Bucharest.
Bob / Cristian