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Route PlanningWhere to go, when, what are the interesting places to see
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Ok, so in a brief period/episode of madness I suddenly thought to myself, could it, might it, would it be possible to travel around the world from the Uk, on a motorbike staying predominantly within the arctic circle?
Before any responses detailing my insanity appear, let me just say at the moment that this is purely hypothetical and that I am not about to embark tomorrow. Having said that, I am a great believer in sparking ideas from nowhere and seeing them through, so maybe insanity might prevail, eventually.
To make it even harder, has anyone had experience of travelling in this area in Winter? Clearly many roads are shut down and the locals will go elsewhere but to some, and me in particular, the idea of such a challenge is enough to get me excited beyond belief.
So starting the UK, ending in New York staying within the arctic circle, absolutely ridiculous ( goes without saying ) but at all possible?!?
"If you have a massive expedition budget, for fuel drops etc and massive bureaucratic wrangling, it may be possible. Otherwise this really is a daft question"
Like I said, just an idea, perhaps not 100 % of what's written in this forum is achievable...in any case, innovation, pioneering whatever you want to call it I agree maybe hauling a motorcycle across floating ice packs waving to polar bears is not realistic .... so how about an obvious and considerable compromise.
Clearly I don't want to encourage world war III from the back of a motorcycle- how far inland does the Russian Military Zone extend?
I would, of course, be thinking of towns, fuel and supplies so Stanfords I think beckons.
Perhaps I'll skidoo naked across the arctic instead....
Skidooing naked across the ice pack is frankly far more sensible.
Have you any idea of the environment in the far north of the Eurasian continent? Tundra, huge rivers. It's not a vast expanse of flat ice. And you talk of towns.... what towns? There's a reason people don't live here... You can get up to the Arctic on (expensive) cruise boars and ferries in summer, but your bike will be and expensive inconvenience.
I think perhaps you've underestimated how far north the Arctic Circle is. Although Siberian towns like Novosibirsk may inspire notions of Arctic cold and the northern lights, they are no further north than Sheffield. North of here there are very few people, almost no towns and NO ROADS.
Have a look at HUBB member 'colebatchtech'. He's done considerable expeditions in Siberia, but very little (if any) above the Arctic Circle, and for good reason.
I think you could cross Russia on the trans-Siberian Highway then take roads across the northern North American continent, though i doubt much of it would be above the Arctic Circle, and in summer it's really not that 'extreme'.
I'm not sure if you're thinking of a major ($$$) expedition or you're just unaware of the terrain.
Fortunately I have done a bit of driving around novosibirsk and I agree, not alot to see if anything, couldn't wait to get to Mongolia. Maybe I thought I'd fall into a volcano if I went a bit further north...
Perhaps I have just been bitten by the bug, and now everywhere I look routes appear...needless to say the first time I got my michelin 1(9)53 I was dead set to travel flat unsupported across the middle of the sahara with a bottle of coke and suncream, took a while for me to find a way around that!
I shall have a look into it in the meantime see if can at least get close to 66 degrees north.
Getting round the world is maybe unachievable in the far North but you can have a great ride out just heading North through Norway and get way above the arctic circle which is less than half way up in road miles, Northern Finland is also a vast wilderness worth looking at and crossing in to Russia along to Murmansk head south and you can get back north to Arkangel all of this will take lots of time and the roads are difficult but will give you quite a bit of the flavour of what you want. You don't need to go round the world to have a great adventure.
20 years ago two Norwegian bikers had the same idea.
They left Norway with petrol-trailers attached to each bike and they had arranged a few fuel-drops by plane (they worked for SAS). I can't remember their range but it was huge.
Their bikes was a bit special, one Honda XLV750 and one BMW K100, both heavy modified.
One of the guys turned around after an episode with armed robbery in Russia, the other one continued but 500kms from Magadan he crashed badly and was stuck under his bike for a few days before someone found him. They robbed him and left him stuck under the bike....
Finally he got help and got to a "hospital" where everyone (incl the doctors) was drunk, he ran away before the operations and took a train to Moscow where he left his bike and got a plane back to Norway where he spend some time in a hospital.
He has been back to Siberia with a bike numerous times but I don't think he will make another try around the artic circle.
They made a video from the trip (in both VHS and Beta if I remember correct) but I haven't seen it.
In North America there are roads above the arctic circle, but just a few, and they do tend to run north-south. There are a few winter ice routes as well, which take advantage of open freshwater once it's frozen, and there are vehicles designed offroad travel on frozen tundra but they sure don't look anything like motorcycles.
Further south you can certainly ride east-west on a network of gravel roads, regardless of the season. Most of these roads are not very interesting, and they are a long way from the arctic. At times you'd need to duck south as far as nearly 50 degrees if following actual roads. This would take you quite near some very good re-supply points.....like Edmonton and Winnipeg.
Basically, the kind of person who goes on the internet to ask about doing such a thing without any awareness of what's involved is not the kind of person who will ever do it. Some folks like to entertain themselves by fantasizing about all manner of adventure. This is probably fine. However, taking these fantasies seriously, as if they represent more than fleeting dreams, is a mistake.
People like the SAS adventurers Alibaba describes are another breed entirely. They may succeed or not, but they stand a good chance of accomplishing amazing things and/or having incredible adventures. Most of us are not like that, and I have to say I've got no particular interest in becoming more so.
I have no knowledge of Alaska/Canada but the Russian/Asian Arctic Circle I have tried to get to, with no less a warrior than Colebatch.
We aimed to just reach it and be the first motos ever to ride to and enter the Arctic Circle in Asia. That was at a very carefully researched and selected point - just one spot, to get the GPS reading, then turn round for the 250 miles back to the nearest reasonably sized town.
We failed, albeit by a measly 5 miles. Colebatch returned solo to the same spot later in the season - he only managed to ride a mile further!
And all this was at the technically easiest point to just get there!
In summer, realistically, I would rule out the Arctic Circle in Russia east of the Kolski Peninsular (immediatly next door to Norway/Finland) other than a quick, and long, excursion north in maybe 3 or 4 places - and back again via the same route.
In winter much more is theoretically possible as the ground is frozen hard, rivers and lakes frozen solid. But by motorbike? In temperatutes as low as -50C for weeks on end, and in permanant darkness? On a bike? Hmmm...
But sadly not even worth further thought.
And I say that even being more optimistic than most of what the Spirit can achieve when others say no.
There was a well funded trip in 2007 by well known (and well sponsored) Austrian dirt biker / rally rider Helly Frauwallner.
The trip was made with the sponsorship of Touratech, Red Bull and KTM for Austrian TV and purports to be a journey around the world via the Arctic Circle. There is a DVD available from Touratech of the trip, called "Tour Nordlicht" ... Video DVD "Tour Nordlicht" Helly Frauwallner<br>
I haven't seen the DVD but have been told by Austrian friends who have seen it that apart from popping up to the Arctic Circle in Norway and Alaska that its almost nothing to do with the Arctic Circle, disappointing and unimaginative. His route across Russia for example was simply across to Vladivostok by the main Trans-Siberian Highway.
So I guess it comes down to what you mean by "RTW by Arctic Circle". One or two visits to the Arctic Circle? Or sticking to it as closely as possible?
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