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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Colebatch, May 14, 2010.
Looks like the early morning gas emissions have killed the bushes.....
What kind of use and ownership is this steppe land under? You do not ordinarily see such expanses of grazable, arable land in the U.S. without seeing fences. Publicly owned land is often under grazing. You can ride across it, but you have to stick to the roads, and close gates behind you. Here it looks like you are free to ride anywhere. What's the deal?
I agree Jud,but our so called wide open spaces/freedom is nothing compared to the area Walt and friends are riding. I think from my limited knowledge we are seeing/enjoying what free and open country is all about.
I thank Walt and the Russians that shared this wide open challenges with me for opening my eyes.
my 0.02 .
Yes, that is what I was getting at, "here" being the steppe, not the U.S. It is amazing.
There needs to be some lovely Russian ladies in this playground to rival the BAM thread.
Another great Colebatch thread.
There are already too many pictures, that are "front page" worthy, to nominate.
My absolute fave (so far):
The Steppes encompass quite an area.
A small portion of Poland, the Ukraine, Belorussia, into Russia. Think of the prairies of Kansas, and stretch that out across the US from Atlantic to the Pacific, and you'll get the idea.
Home to thousands and thousands of battles.... Rich in History.
I too would be interested in learning how it is "managed"....
Its kinda ironic, but the sense of freedom one enjoys is Russia is the total opposite to what you might think. I get fu@ked every time I come back to western europe (speeding and parking tickets galore) and end up feeling very restricted by rules and regulations. There you just have to worry about the odd traffic cop or border guard - and there is a different technique to dealing with that than in the west.
After the fall of communism, the title on land kinda reverted all to local authorities. Even in the cities they are the default freeholders, though leasehold title is easy enough to arrange in the cities. Buying real land outside of the cities (apart from just getting leases on it) is still not such a simple process.
The punchline ... the land is still (as far as I am aware) owned by local government. Many areas were completely underutilized. Some areas were farmed (I assume on leased land). There were no gates or fences in 3500km
Next time I watch Leningrad Cowboys it will be through new eyes.
Grom will be pleased
I did mention to the guys when the route was unveiled to me
"Uhh ... that looks pretty close to the Kazakh border ... it will be a border zone ... we arent supposed to go there".
The reply was emphatic ... "Dont worry about it ...it wont be a problem!".
And here we were on a barely used goat trail across the steppe and suddenly a Border Zone warning sign pops up - very recently concreted into the ground..... hmmmm
Border Zones are only for local residents and international border transport ... other than that its theoretically a closed area.
So, Grom takes a load off his mind:
Well this was a good chance for me to review the KTM 690... a bike I have been considering as an alternative to the X-challenge for the past 12-18 months. This off road challenge would be a tough test, away from pampering service facilities and covered a wide variety of terrain.
We had been riding fast for over a day now. 80-125 km/h over the steppe. The F800s and their lower suspension had bottomed out many times on dips, but now it was time for the first technical failure ... and it was on the newest bike in the field. The 690.
The 690 has no subframe. A triangular plastic fuel tank IS the subframe, and is attached at four points ... 2 lower bushings and 2 upper bolts. On Gelos' bike, BOTH upper bolts failed in the middle of a field.
Gelos prepared to tie the bike together with luggage straps and limp to the nearest village to fix the problem.
The 2 days in which he had the fastest bike were clearly over ... and it showed upon his face. Das ist no longer fantastisch.
All the other riders caught up with Pate, Grom, Gelos and myself and while Gelos and I prepared his bike for a ride to the nearest village, Pate refused to be beaten by cheap nuts.
After some time, Pate had removed the sheared bolts, and had begun scouring all other bikes for M8 bolts of suitable lengths, that could be sacrificed on the altar of the KTM missing subframe.
Badly designed and / or specced bolt.
Colebatch, amazing pics once again!
What tires were you running three? What about the 800?
So I take it the ktm isn't a suitable replacement for your old xchallenge? What else would you replace it with? Since I've been reading your rr's I'd consider an xchallenge for a next bike, but would always consider something else if it's better for the job.
While we waited for a resolution to the broken KTM rear end ....
Flowers were a-growin ...
And Che was a-sleepin ...
Pate, meanwhile, was a-hammerin'