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Old 02-02-2013, 08:00 AM   #3271
GiorgioXT
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After seeing the videos, the idea of survive 43 minutes on the bridge during a storm is much more haunting than riding it.
Hats off !
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Old 02-02-2013, 08:31 AM   #3272
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that last video is awesome, but the music..... sheesh, almost gave me a seizure!
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Old 02-02-2013, 09:07 AM   #3273
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I would at best dare to cross it like the 690 guy did. Or maybe on foot pushing the bike


What are the steel "balconies" every 30 or so meters?

Is the train bridge next to the wooden bridge every one takes, a better option/alternative? Is it in better/worst condition, is it accessible?
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Old 02-02-2013, 09:14 AM   #3274
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Cultural question

I look at these decrepit brideges and have to ask - absent any Government attention to these structures, why the locals don't simply go out and repair them on a volunteer basis?

After all they are mostly the ones who use them....and then again looking at the pictures peraps they are the ones who do the work...

Epic report - love it!
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Old 02-02-2013, 09:25 AM   #3275
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I wouldnt be able to do the bridge either. Even if my buddies pushed me off and said just ''go'', I would stop in the middle freeze up and soil myself!
Hats off to all the crazy adventurers that do it though.
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Old 02-02-2013, 09:47 AM   #3276
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Northstar Beemer View Post
I look at these decrepit brideges and have to ask - absent any Government attention to these structures, why the locals don't simply go out and repair them on a volunteer basis?

After all they are mostly the ones who use them....and then again looking at the pictures peraps they are the ones who do the work...

Epic report - love it!
I think they probably have

It looked like this at one stage ... I suspect about 2005

Anyone who would take a bike across it then deserves a medal

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Old 02-02-2013, 10:59 AM   #3277
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Originally Posted by littlebike View Post
This crossing really looks scary especially when filmed from helmet camera
Wonder how much chance you have to recover any unbalance mistake or loose focus only 1 sec towards end of this deadly long bridge
The helmet cameras demonstrate Rod's mantra "Look where you want to go" which I also recited regularly throughout 2009 but added "and not at the front wheel". But not on THAT bridge!

Iker is the 'exception that proves the rule'.

Not only did he spend agonisingly long periods (for me!) looking at the scenery but his left hand was waving around far from the grip, riding one handed, pointing things out to add to his commentary.
If he concentrated maybe he would have been quicker!!!!

Crazy, crazy Guy.
One of the very greatest I have had the privilege of meeting.

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Old 02-02-2013, 11:55 AM   #3278
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Dear Walter!

I believe you once said the Tenere was too heavy and therefore not suitable for this kind of traveling, but hey in several of these Vitim videos I saw the same Tenere. I suppose itīs all a matter of attitude and willpower, isnīt it?
Anyway, I dig your RR's, they're the best! Only hope that kind of sceneries won't be spoiled by mass-tourism, like touringcar-busses going over the Vitim bridge....
Greetz, Hans.
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Old 02-02-2013, 12:07 PM   #3279
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Possibly a stupid question here, but why not take that shiny new(er) rail bridge off to the side? You did rail bridges in other sections and I assume there are emergency pullouts as there were on those other bridges?

Oh course, then you wouldn't have bragging rights. But that bridge makes me stones shrivel just a bit.
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Old 02-02-2013, 12:19 PM   #3280
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scribe View Post
Possibly a stupid question here, but why not take that shiny new(er) rail bridge off to the side? You did rail bridges in other sections and I assume there are emergency pullouts as there were on those other bridges?

Oh course, then you wouldn't have bragging rights. But that bridge makes me stones shrivel just a bit.
Some bridges are guarded, I assume Vitim bridge is among the guarded ones. So they wouldn't let you over the bridge, you could probably take the elektritschka, which stops at Vitim and then get off in Kuanda. Wasn't there a talk of dissmantling the second Vitim bridge, what would probably result in closing the BAM for throughgoing traffic.
btw, when I crossed the Jenissey-bridge in Kransoyarsk, I think it was much more heavily guarded, with dogs running around.

As for the bridges, I also wondered, but more on the road of bones. They are building a lot of new bridges and upgrading heavily the surface, meanwhile the relics of the bridge in Kyubeme stay as they are. It would make much more sense to get an allweather-proof crossing at Kyubeme, than building new bridges on the federal highway, while the old ones are still ok. But Tomtor and Omjakon are not lying at a federal highway.
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Old 02-02-2013, 12:52 PM   #3281
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dallastx View Post
Dear Walter!

I believe you once said the Tenere was too heavy and therefore not suitable for this kind of traveling, but hey in several of these Vitim videos I saw the same Tenere. I suppose itīs all a matter of attitude and willpower, isnīt it?
Well you can take a 1200 Adventure on these roads too (no one has yet I believe) ... the point is the heavier the bike is, the less fun it is. And the more willpower you need. 3 years ago Tony P took a dakar with metal boxes ... only a little bit lighter than a Tenere with metal boxes. And he was 67 years old.

I said before I wouldnt take a Tenere because its too similar to my bike, just a load heavier, less power and drinks more fuel. Same reason I wouldnt take a Dakar ... tho obviously Dakars can and have done this road. I wouldnt tell someone to get one for a trip like this when they can get something much lighter.

Terry took an XT660 3 years ago on these roads - the very basis for the XTZ660, without the fairing and big tank ... and he swapped it for a 30 kg ligher X-country when he got back. Like TonyP, the point is not that you cant do it on a heavier single ... the point is if you have a choice, try and choose something lighter. Even reading Ikers blog once he got to Tynda, he said a 690 KTM would have been a far more sensible choice for the BAM Road than his 990, and the guy is a riding god.

Steve was a beginner off road and took a F800GS and thats even a few kgs heavier than a Tenere ... and I fully approved of him coming with us, despite the fact he was on a heavy bike and was new to off road. I never told him his bike wasnt suitable so dont come. I just told him its going to be harder work for him. He just had to work a lot harder doing it than the rest of us.

And he switched bikes to an XC as soon as he finished in Siberia.

I never said these roads (Western BAM) arent feasible on a Tenere. Eastern BAM maybe ... Eastern BAM is much much more difficult. If I was going back to the Eastern BAM again, then I would definitely take a bike even lighter than my XC.
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Old 02-02-2013, 12:58 PM   #3282
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Originally Posted by Pamirski View Post
Some bridges are guarded, I assume Vitim bridge is among the guarded ones. So they wouldn't let you over the bridge, you could probably take the elektritschka, which stops at Vitim and then get off in Kuanda. Wasn't there a talk of dissmantling the second Vitim bridge, what would probably result in closing the BAM for throughgoing traffic.
btw, when I crossed the Jenissey-bridge in Kransoyarsk, I think it was much more heavily guarded, with dogs running around.

As for the bridges, I also wondered, but more on the road of bones. They are building a lot of new bridges and upgrading heavily the surface, meanwhile the relics of the bridge in Kyubeme stay as they are. It would make much more sense to get an allweather-proof crossing at Kyubeme, than building new bridges on the federal highway, while the old ones are still ok. But Tomtor and Omjakon are not lying at a federal highway.
There is no electrishkas after Taksimo. Its the Eastern end of electrification on the BAM. You would be able to put the bikes on a local diesel train with a flatbed at Taksimo and get off at Kuanda or Chara .... bearing in mind you also have to cross the Kuanda river.

There is not a lot of point building an all weather crossing at Kyubeme on the Road of Bones, because there is almost no population it serves. Basically Tomtor and Oymyakon are served OK without a bridge there. Trucks go thru the river to bring fuel, food and whatever else to the 1500 people of Tomtor and Oymayakon.

The Federal Road further north also serves mines, and bigger towns. It all comes down to economics. There is no economic justification for Tomtor and Oymyakon. There is a lot of economic justification in keeping all weather roads to Ust Nera from both the coast (Magadan) and from the regional capital (Yakutsk).
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Old 02-02-2013, 01:16 PM   #3283
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Originally Posted by Scribe View Post
Possibly a stupid question here, but why not take that shiny new(er) rail bridge off to the side? You did rail bridges in other sections and I assume there are emergency pullouts as there were on those other bridges?
Yep! It was guarded my armed military.

Amost all of the longer bridges (more than a couple of 'section units') on the BAM were heavily guarded. The nearer to International borders even shorter ones.

The only way a bike crosses those bridges is as freight on a train.


On the eastern BAM in 2009 we were stuck at a deep river for over 24 hours. The Commandant at the adjacent bridge came and met us. He was friendly, sympathetic and enthusiastic towards us. He allowed us to use a semi-abandoned building just outside of the compound to 'camp' in. In the evening he even came with his Son and presented us with a bottle of vodka.
BUT, no way would he let us ride the bridge, otherwise he would lose his rank and position in the military.


The pullout balconies occurred only on longer bridges and alternated from side to side every second or third 'section'
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Old 02-02-2013, 01:47 PM   #3284
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Originally Posted by Colebatch View Post
There is no electrishkas after Taksimo. Its the Eastern end of electrification on the BAM. You would be able to put the bikes on a local diesel train with a flatbed at Taksimo and get off at Kuanda or Chara .... bearing in mind you also have to cross the Kuanda river.
Right, I just got accustomed to calling those short trains, that are running on the BAM elektritschka (irrespective if they are electric driven), but locals often say rabotschnik or so to it. They consist of one engine and one passenger wagon and sometimes a plattform for the tools of the worksmen (which basically use them). Allthough they do not run big distances, you can travel the whole BAM with them (I only know the stretch up to Tynda). So you have every day at least two trains at the smaller stations to get out, if you have a problem (I wouldn't count on taking motor bikes with them from a small station, where it has only 2 minutes). The larger trains might not take you at every point. I have spent once a night at a station, where two truck drivers with a broken down truck where waiting for the next train. The Moscow train stopped for some minutes, but did not let them in.
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Old 02-02-2013, 03:53 PM   #3285
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Originally Posted by littlebike View Post
This crossing really looks scary especially when filmed from helmet camera
Wonder how much chance you have to recover any unbalance mistake or loose focus only 1 sec towards end of this deadly long bridge

Respect to the finishers
Due to the fact that three very experienced guys walked the Vitim in 2009 I had a pretty open mind about what to do when I came to the bridge. I had a low threshold for walking the bridge. I have a wife and a few kids back home. No stupid heroics here

I had been riding shotgun with Terry the whole day. We had crossed some bridges and it all felt good. When we came to the start of the bridge I took a quick look at it and felt this was doable. I asked Terry to double check that my GoPro was on and saddled up. I started easy. Got the bike into second gear and stood up. It felt good. I was very focused. My eyes were locked about 20 - 30 meters ahead. I listened to my breathing. It was very calm and very deep. I actually heard it.

When I came to the bump in the middle I just had to stop in order to shoot some pictures




Things got a bit more interesting towards the end. I now had to drive between parallel planks that were about 4 cm high I felt relaxed though. I am not a very seasoned off road driver, but this felt completely normal that day




We all had a good start in Taksimo. That helps For the record, I only bought motor oil from that girl

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