The BAM Road

The BAM road in the far east of Russia is not for the faint hearted nor for the adventurer motorcyclist looking for a few hours of tough off road challenge’s. What you have instead is 1380 kilometres of obstacles which nature has created over time, to ensure that only the very determined, fit and mentally strong, reach the end of this track that was once called a road. There is also an element of luck, as one strong down pour of rain, a fall from the motorcycle, an impassable river, can bring your adventure and dreams to an abrupt end.

We thank our five companions for their unconditional support, friendship, and many many laughs during this unforgettable eight day adventure!!!

We also take with us many fond memories of the Russian people who live in the forgotten BAM villages along the way (only connected by rail). Although they have very little, they are amongst some of the most helpful, generous and friendly people, we have come across in all our travels.

Blog Video 97 from SAMt & Bike Without Borders on Vimeo.

The Vitim Bridge

It is every adventure motorcyclists dream to  ride the BAM road in the far East of  Russia but only a few dare to try each year.   We we’re fortunate to be able to team up with 5 other motorcyiclsts to try our luck at completing this 1380km epic journey on a gravel road which has not be maintained since 1996.

It took us 6 days to complete it, riding 12 hours each day and have only just arrive to the end (a town called Tynda).  As we are both too exhausted to compile a video of this adventure just yet, we have instead provided a little taster of us crossing the Vitim bridge two up.

To the best of our knowledge and from what we’ve been told, we are the first couple (two up on the twin cylinder motorcycle) to ever complete the BAM road.

We hope to get the full video up sometime soon.

 

 

Blog Video 96 from SAMt & Bike Without Borders on Vimeo.

The Gobi

After spending the past week riding through the Gobi Desert in Mongolia we are now preparing for our next challenge; To ride the Road of Bones (two up) all the way to Magadan which is located in the very North East of Russia. This journey will see us ride roughly 5000km on a one way road which is predominately unsealed to reach this iconic city.

If we’re lucky upon reach Magadan, we’ll be able to find a cargo ship to transport our motorcycle “principessa” all the way down to Vladivostok so we won’t have to re-ride 3000km of the very same road.

From Vladivostok we head to Japan.

Blog Video 95 from SAMt & Bike Without Borders on Vimeo.

Mongolian Mud and Wrestling

We were lucky to be in Mongolia during the Naadam Festival. Three sporting passions of Mongolians, horse racing, wrestling and archery, are played out over 2 days in festivals all over the country.

Wrestling is definitely the most interesting and entertaining of the three sports and every Mongolian understands it and follows it with passion.

Legend has it that wrestlers once wore full jackets, until a woman entered a competition and won. To deter any similar future incidents, the jacket style was modified and now has an open front.

As for the Mongolian roads, the further away from the small villages we got the worse the roads became. The scenery however, made every bump, water hole and river crossing worth every bit of it!

Blog Video 94 from SAMt & Bike Without Borders on Vimeo.

Mongolia – not all roads lead to Rome

You learn quickly how to navigate in Mongolia and it works a little like this:

– you drive on a dirt track for a while and suddenly it splits into two – no signs, nothing.
– you check the GPS and it looks more confuse that you (if that is possible) so you choose one path and eventually that splits in three – one path joins another path, the second follows a similar course, and the third goes in the opposite direction??
– just because you’re riding towards your destination, it doesn’t mean the road will take you there.
– ask only one person at a time for directions.

Most of our first days riding in Mongolia was based on choosing the track that appeared the best to ride. Unfortunately sometimes tracks run for kilómetres without merging back onto the main path and you end up in the middle of nowhere at some random ger (a Mongolian nomad tent) and upon asking directions you’re encountered with many fingers pointing in different directions.

As you’ll see in the video, it was a long day, full of breathtaking scenery, tricky roads and amazing encounters that eventually lead us to our final destination : and old monastery located in a beautiful isolated valley.

Blog Video 93 from SAMt & Bike Without Borders on Vimeo.

A Siberian Summer

Siberia´s hot temperatures in summer push locals to bath in any water they can find, even if it’s located on the shores in front of a large working factory.

Another interesting feature of Siberia are the traditional wooden houses, built by the working class people before the Russian Revolution in 1917.

The story tells of artisans who discovered that wood could be carved into intricate designs similar to what the wealthy did with stone.

Unfortunately with the rise of communism, private property ownership ceased and many of these houses became government property, but were not well-maintained and fell into disrepair.

Blog Video 92 from SAMt & Bike Without Borders on Vimeo.

Bordering Afghanistan

Lost in the south west corner of Tajikistan you’ll find the Pamirs and the Wakhan Corridor.   You’ll also find hardship, remoteness, poverty, unforgivingness, survival, hope and the list goes on and on…………….

If you look hard enough though, you’ll also find a special place, a peaceful place, full of warm people begging to have the outside world come and visit them.

If your hardy enough and don’t mind sleeping with the locals instead of your 4 star hotel, eating what they eat and putting up with the endless diarrhoea whilst squatting over the village pit toilet, you’ll have the adventure of your life!

We certainly did!

Blog Video 90 (L) from SAMt & Bike Without Borders on Vimeo.

Liveable Streets in Uzbekistan

We watched the kids play in the streets, smart phones were replaced with sticks, ropes and balls. The girls would skip, chat and giggle while the boys kicked the ball to each other in their favourite Leonel Messi shirt.

We could not help but go back 40 years to remember what it was like to be out on the street with the neighbours until you heard your mum scream to come inside for dinner.

In this part of the world, doors of homes are always open, the streets filled with children playing.  The many aromas from the kitchens find their way to the streets as you wander through them as locals greet with a hello and where are you from.  For us, those streets were a journey back to our childhood and those unforgettable memories .

Blog Video 89 (L) from SAMt & Bike Without Borders on Vimeo.