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-   -   Road of Bones: Who's done it? (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/northern-asia/road-of-bones-whos-done-21067)

MarkCh 14 Apr 2006 19:36

Road of Bones: Who's done it?
 
I know of three journey's within the last few years on motorbikes; Adrian Scott's solo, a group of riders (Blue-dunes.com), and of course the three guys in the long way round (counting the Swiss cameraman, as he deserves as much credit). I'm about to ride this same route traveling Westward from Magadan in mid-late June~early July, and wonder if perhaps I'm a bit insane to do this without any company. Wonder what the chances are that I'll find another riding this same route and direction around the same time frame? Any tips?
Thanks, Mark

simmo 15 Apr 2006 14:21

Of course you are insane, have you seen siberian mosquitoes, the mud, the rain, but thats not got anything to do with it. It must be one of the worlds more challenging rides, especially if you like Taiga. You know it can and has been done solo or in a group, it just depends on how you choose to do it.

liketoride2 15 Apr 2006 17:02

I can add one rider to the Road of Bones list. Last summer somewhere west of Birobidzhan I encountered a young woman named Sasha Melnikova (I hope I have her last name right), 23 years old, who had ridden solo from her home in St. Petersburg to Magadan, shipped from there to Vladivostok, and was in the process of riding back to St. Petersburg (which she successfully did). The amazing thing was her motorcycle, a 10 year old 350 cc Russian made two stroke piled high with luggage and gear. It would do about 45 - 50 mph maximum on level ground, slowed down badly on any incline, appeared to have a bent frame since it didn't track straight, and a worn out shock causing it to bounce badly over any bump of significance. And, she bent a rim during the four days we rode together, which she pounded out somewhat with a big hammer borrowed from a tire repair shop.

More details, and pictures, about Sasha and riding with her are on my website, www.rtwrider.net. After hearing of her adventures I couldn't help but feel very sheepish about all the time, preparation and money I had put into my motorcycle for this trip (although I'm glad I did). She is an amazing rider.

Regarding the biting insects, I found them to be much less a problem than most Siberian travelers have described because I went during the last half of August. By then the nights were getting chilly (apparently killing most of the bugs) but the days were sunny and pleasant and there was no mud.

Mike
Idaho

Adrian 16 Apr 2006 12:55

insane?
 
I do not consider myself (technically) insane, although there were moments alone in the taiga/swamp/bog/frozen rivers when I did lose my sanity temporarily. Thoughts like "what the **ck do you think you're doing here you idiot" flashed through my mind quite often...

I just looked at the map, saw a red line and knew others - including the now departed SImon Milward http://www.millennium-ride.com/ had done it. Simon also went solo, although his state of mind at the time can be questioned (refer to the poems he wrote about the road of bones.....).

I was naive, didn't know any better and certainly would not have got through without the help of others (truck drivers, kind villagers, etc etc). So, of course it's possible, just frikkin hard. Depends how much you like your own company and can manage your bike alone in the mud and rivers. I reckon the acid test is being able to pick it up fully loaded from when it falls down and down and down and down (including underwater) and also being able to push it through for long distances through the bogs by yourself. In reality the hardest stretch is the 400kms or so from Kadykchan to Tomtor. The rest is off road gravel and no sooo bad, although the 100kms east of Khandyga, beyond the Aldan River is awful if its been raining.

Go for it. Good luck finding others. I asked a couple of friends and they all laughed in my face....

Let me know if you have specific questions. I know some great places to get arc welding done and fractured bones fixed.

Adrian

www.users.bigpond.net.au/AdrianScott

Hi Alec!

Chris Scott 22 Apr 2006 16:51

Let's not forget Mondo Enduro did it, but at least 10 years ago when it was in much better shape (they tell me). With little or no maintenance since then it gets worse and worse, so get in there before it turns back into taiga. A brilliant book on the area is 'Kolyma Tales' - absolutely chilling...

Ch

KJ 23 Apr 2006 15:19

Hi Mark

I read about a couple of polish guys who went through last summer as well and they said the going was "favourable" - not sure what that means !!

I've sent you an email as well to run an idea by you - I'm doing a loop similar to the Long way round guys but out Vladivostok, your post made me think about reversing the direction - see what you think !

Kevin

MarkCh 24 Apr 2006 03:25

Thanks for all your replies and my apologies for not replying sooner. I've been very busy trying to get the bike sorted (still in parts, and only has 21 miles on it-It's a KLR650) and getting all the stuff I'll need for the trip.

Mike and Adrian; I’ve read each of your web sites a few months back with great interest. Your web pages offer considerable amounts of valuable information, not only in regard to the ride itself, but the people and the customs first hand. Adrian; it was your experience on the Road of Bones that made me decide on Magadan, I look forward to the challenging riding. I must admit though, I'm a bit apprehensive about the waist deep mud holes, river crossings and possible encounters with hungry bears emerging out of hibernation.
Mark

Mick O'Malley 24 Apr 2006 08:37

Mika Kuhn has also ridden this road.

Regards, Mick

simmo 24 Apr 2006 22:35

Mark, remember that waist deep for Adrian is neck deep for the rest of us.

Shustrik 25 Apr 2006 02:50

Quote:

Originally Posted by liketoride2
I can add one rider to the Road of Bones list. Last summer somewhere west of Birobidzhan I encountered a young woman named Sasha Melnikova (I hope I have her last name right), 23 years old, who had ridden solo from her home in St. Petersburg to Magadan, shipped from there to Vladivostok, and was in the process of riding back to St. Petersburg (which she successfully did). The amazing thing was her motorcycle, a 10 year old 350 cc Russian made two stroke piled high with luggage and gear. It would do about 45 - 50 mph maximum on level ground, slowed down badly on any incline, appeared to have a bent frame since it didn't track straight, and a worn out shock causing it to bounce badly over any bump of significance. And, she bent a rim during the four days we rode together, which she pounded out somewhat with a big hammer borrowed from a tire repair shop.

More details, and pictures, about Sasha and riding with her are on my website, www.rtwrider.net. After hearing of her adventures I couldn't help but feel very sheepish about all the time, preparation and money I had put into my motorcycle for this trip (although I'm glad I did). She is an amazing rider.

Regarding the biting insects, I found them to be much less a problem than most Siberian travelers have described because I went during the last half of August. By then the nights were getting chilly (apparently killing most of the bugs) but the days were sunny and pleasant and there was no mud.

Mike
Idaho

Right lastname - Teplyakova. Alexandra (Sasha) Teplyakova :-)

petefromberkeley 25 Apr 2006 19:22

I think more people have done it than we know. I rode from Vlad. to Ulan Ude and met some Germans on the way that were heading to Magadan. I've never heard from them again or read stories on the internet. They had all their information from friends of theirs who had done it that I have also never heard about online. I wouldn't do it myself mind you, but I bet it is done more often than we think.

ScottM 26 Apr 2006 04:22

Many unknown trips
 
We also met 3 riders from Canada 1 up and 2up on Kawasakis who arrived in Chita the same time we did, they had come from Magadan. We never heard from them again. They had some great photos of sucken bikes and mud. It looked great. Dont know if they are known of or not. Many people are on these roads that never come to light.
Ill keep that trip for a later date.

Adrian 28 Apr 2006 10:18

Others on the Road of Bones
 
The "Canadians" recorded their journey at www.motodreamers.com If you like mud and mud and water and taiga and mosquitos, there are many many photos here, videos and some stories. These guys went in 2005 two weeks ahead of me, before it rained a lot.......

Re: the bears, according to the locals they are really hungry in Spring time when they wake up (about May), less so in "Summer" in July, although I saw plenty of evidence of them along the road (apparently Russian bears do not s**t in the woods....)

Adrian

MarkCh 2 May 2006 14:02

Excellent info., thanks! Lots of interesting pics and info, still need to review it all. Rather than going through a shipper, Jacek and Greg & Natasha shipped their bikes as checked-in luggage. I tried contacting Magadan airlines directly but the phone number is not in service.

Adrian 3 May 2006 12:33

Shipping to Magadan
 
Forget it. Too hard to line up the shipping schedules and there's not so much traffic anyway. I also got my Bike to Magadan on an airplane (from Vladivostok). They made me pull the wheels off and lots of other stuff then I wrapped it in cardboard then they stuck on top of the mail bags inside the hold of the plane...

I tried and tried to organize shipping, even via Anchorage without success. I also tried Air Alaska but it was all too hard.....I would recommend Magadan Airlines ("Mavial"). Money talks and anything is possible....

I ended up dealing directly with the president of the Airline (in Vladivostok) and he was most helpful.

Good luck.

I have a contact in Vladivostok who helped me do all this. Let me know if you want his contact details.

www.users.bigpond.net.au/AdrianScott


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