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Old 02-05-2013, 03:33 PM   #3436
lipsee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nachtflug View Post
Christ that is freaking high I get dizzy just loking at it. Anyone who rode across that bridge with no rails on the side is a freaking major stud and there is no shame in pushing across I would have done the same thing and would have had a hard time doing that.

Me too,,it was hard enough watching the vids,,,
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Old 02-05-2013, 03:57 PM   #3437
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Me too,,it was hard enough watching the vids,,,

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Old 02-05-2013, 04:12 PM   #3438
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lipsee
Me too,,it was hard enough watching the vids,,,
No joke. My palms started to get a little clammy.
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Old 02-05-2013, 04:17 PM   #3439
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nachtflug View Post
Christ that is freaking high I get dizzy just loking at it.

Let us not forget the current.
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Old 02-05-2013, 05:46 PM   #3440
ADKbeemer
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Originally Posted by BordenBmw View Post
....Its funny how we will think nothing of walking along a sidewalk with cars going by at 60 mph a few feet away, yet add in the exposure and the fear of falling we freak out.

The thing that gets me is not the exposure, but the idea of having a wheel hit one of those parallel ties or metal plates just the wrong way - yikes! No question the look straight ahead at your line, not at whats right in front of you is good advise anywhere, especially here.

You guys (and gal ) have been awesome....bring on more of the BAM!

We can't get enough of this trip!
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Old 02-05-2013, 09:04 PM   #3441
Colebatch OP
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Originally Posted by agentsteel53 View Post
I can't really tell how long that gap is where the cylindrical transverse posts are missing. does a truck (6wd or the like) need to very carefully tread on the longitudinal planks, or can it just power through without getting a wheel stuck?


The gap in the pic above, is the same gap as the gap in the pic below.



A bike could fall through it. I got to this particular bridge first ... found a few loose planks nearby ... put a couple together in the middle for the wheels, then spaced a couple of outriggers for feet to use to balance on. Thats pretty normal on the BAM ... you are responsible for the track you take so often have to adjust what can be adjusted to suit you.

No vehicle that uses that bridge could ignore that gap .... you would need to use planks. Reality is the big heavy 6WD trucks wouldnt use the bridge ... they would detour through the river. For every rotting bridge, there is also a ford nearby that the big trucks use.
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Old 02-05-2013, 09:08 PM   #3442
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Originally Posted by rick3foxes View Post
Walter, my curoisity is killing me...

When you come up on these "rustic" bridges, do you stop and cross by foot to plan a route between the cracks/joints/gaps, or do you just tell one of your companions to "GO FOR IT, YOU BIG SISSY!" and then follow if he survives?
No. You often stop if there are obvious hazards like the one above, then walk across it first and plan the line. Often there are 4-5 "hazards" on one bridge, so the line is a zig zag path around the hazards.

On easier bridges like these ones below, you just ride them. For these you dont stop.



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Old 02-05-2013, 09:11 PM   #3443
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I am checking in several times a day if I can!!! There seems to be a lot of spikes in those rotted bridges that could snag a tire. Was that a problem or did that happen at all?
loads of spikes and nails yes ... you learn to ignore them after a while as they dont seem to cause any problems. touch wood.
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Old 02-05-2013, 09:38 PM   #3444
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Originally Posted by Pamirski View Post
The major obstacle on the western BAM seems to me not the Kuanda bridge, as this one has alternatives, but the Oljokma bridge. The river is bigger than Kuanda and I think even than Witim. Therefore you have no alternative by truck (only in winter). We'll see how they get over it this year
Well the guards at the Olyokma are friendly ... the guys at Kuanda are not.

Vitim Bridge is 570 metres, Olyokma 380.
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Old 02-05-2013, 10:04 PM   #3445
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The Chara River Bridge

We rode through some pretty countryside


(pic courtesy of Steve)

... before reaching the Chara river bridge, on the outskirts of Chara. For some, its the Gnarliest bridge on the western BAM. Personally I dont mind it. Its 270 metres long, very rough surface, no edges and you have to ride along a raised ridge of 3 sleeper widths. But for me, my issue with the Vitim Bridge is its height. I dont feel good about the exposed height at all.

The Chara bridge by comparison, is normal bridge height. Maybe 20 feet (6 metres) above the ground / water. Most of the bridge is over ground that floods in season, but is usually just ground. Sure, care and precision is still essential, and a mistake can mean the end of your trip, but somehow for me, the lack of that 15 metre (50 foot) drop makes it feel tame in comparison.

Check out the exposed nails and stuff on the left side of the bridge.



EtronX and I rode over ... but the other guys were having issues ... so EtronX (whose confidence had been sky high ever since the Vitim Bridge) went back and volunteered to ride Terry's bike over. Bongo accepted faster than you can say - "oi, get me a truck".



EtronX had his helmet cam running at the time ... so this is his first crossing (first of three):

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Old 02-05-2013, 11:35 PM   #3446
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BAM and Road of Bones

Quote:
Originally Posted by Colebatch View Post
Yes ... the greedy fu@ker on the bridge could have made an easy 5000 rubles in 2 minutes ... but he wanted to screw us for 25,000. It was enjoyable seeing him staring at us as we rode the truck over.

I would encourage any readers planning a BAM trip to stop in Kuanda town and ask around for a truck.
Hello all - I was one of the travelers with the kudu team in 2012. Its great to find this site and incredible we were only a few days ahead of you and didnt know. thought i would put my 2 cents in about our trip. We also got stopped at the Kuanda bridge and there was no way that guy was letting us across. So we had to go back and arrange for a train float thing to get all our bikes from Kuanda to the next station past the bridge. Anyway, although we lost a few days at Kuanda, the stay in Kuanda turned out to be a highlight actually, everyone was so friendly and helpful. Had a great time.

I did put together a video of the trip - here it is. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PdmC3QxSzbg

I also did a quick write up of my experience with Kudu: http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...editions-65523

I dont want to send readers to another site etc, but a quick summary is that overall, it was a dream come true. For me, there was no way i was going to be able to do this by myself unsupported - kids, family, work - so i only had a small window of 4-5 weeks. So, i paid Kudu some cash, turned up in Mongolia and away i went. The logistics were all taken care of so I just had to focus on getting myself to Magadan, via the BAM and ROB in one piece. Definitely hard work and a grind for a lot of the days, but was outstanding!

Highly recommend it to anyone! Outstanding trip!
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:40 PM   #3447
stemic01
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Originally Posted by Schannulleke View Post
Steve, it strikes me that every picture you are in, you always have the biggest smile on your face

2012 Norway, Europe, Turkey, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan
- The Pamir Highway, Tadjikistan, Kyrgistan, Kazakhstan

- BAM road, Road of bones, Russia to Magadan
- USA, Mexico, Central America, Columbia, Equador, Peru.


Are we going to get a ride report with nice pictures of the rest of your trip as well?
Smiling:
What is there not to be happy about? Here I am with a great bunch of people, do something I really like and fullfilling one of my dreams! There would not be a smile on my face on all the railroad bridges which were quite stressfull for me.

Rest of the trip:
I have been thinking of writing a ride report from the whole trip, but did think it was not that interesting. But if it is like that people think it is interesting I might just do that.
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Old 02-06-2013, 12:01 AM   #3448
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Originally Posted by stemic01 View Post
Rest of the trip:
I have been thinking of writing a ride report from the whole trip, but did think it was not that interesting. But if it is like that people think it is interesting I might just do that.
Please do that! And thank you all for this fantastic report.

Steve, one more question: what jacket and trousers are you wearing? And how did you like them?
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Old 02-06-2013, 12:05 AM   #3449
Colebatch OP
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Originally Posted by cgvaughan View Post
Hello all - I was one of the travelers with the kudu team in 2012. Its great to find this site and incredible we were only a few days ahead of you and didnt know.
It might have been your video I linked to on page 219 ... it was one of the Kudu guys.
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Old 02-06-2013, 01:00 AM   #3450
stemic01
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Suite

Quote:
Originally Posted by SunnyJH View Post
Please do that! And thank you all for this fantastic report.

Steve, one more question: what jacket and trousers are you wearing? And how did you like them?
I was wearing the Touratech Companero suite for this part of the trip. I kind of like it, but I might prefer the KLIM badlands for this kind of trip due to less components to drag around. But the suite worked out very well and seems to be well engineered and well made. The main advantages of this suite is that you have a two layer system. The first layer is the "summer suite" which you put on first. This also contain all the protection, several pockets and is made with sections of very breathable materials. This actually makes it a bit too cold when it gets below 20'C which tells you how efficient this ventilation is. Thumbs up for ventilation on the hot days! When it gets cold or rainy you put on the second layer Goretex suit. This gives you good protection and this part of the suit can be zipped/buttoned to the inner part of the suite if you want it to act more like one unit. What I don't like too much is that most of the time I would drive with the summer suite only which is nice, but the problem is that you than have to store the goretex suite somewhere. Remember - you want to travel as light as possible and you might not have the extra space it takes to store the goretex part of it on your bike. If you need to wear the both layers with the goretex on a warm and rainy day I guess it will be quite warm and damp on the inside.
KLIM: I also have a KLIM Badlands suite which I like too. The klim is a Goretex suite with large ventilation. Main advantage is that it is a one unit suit and you don't have to transport the outer part of the suite, and if it starts to rain you don't need to stop to put on a extra layer. You just close a couple of zippers and you are waterproof and fine. The quality of the KLIM feels very good. The disadvantage on the KLIM is that in low-speed scenarios on a warm day - it can get too damp and hot inside the suit. Especially if you get stuck in traffic in a city on a warm day on red lights and slow traffic it can be very warm. I bought a cool west to put inside my KLIM which turned out to be a perfect combination.
I feel that the protection on the KLIM trousers were a little bit "too loose" and it felt like they could move out of place in case of an accident. I would like the knee and hip pads placement to be customizable and also how "tight" you want them to stay in place. The protection on the touretech seems to be more adjustable and you could tighten it to stay more in place. Maybe it is not a problem.

If I'd were about to do the same trip again I guess my choice would be the KLIM suite - due to less hazzle with fewer parts, more user friendly regarding rain and less to carry around and pack down.

PS! I would like the manufacturers to make trousers with more adjustments or better belts to keep'em in the right place. I lost some weight and ended up using a touratech strap around my waist to keep the trousers on. I guess a set of suspenders would have been a better solution. You take what you got :)


The rest of our team had other gear than me and I guess they all have opinions about it and what they prefer. Walter and Terry riding the KLIM suits, Erik and Geir riding the BMW Rallye suit. How did your gear hold up guys?

*************
That said - Please don't turn into another long off-topic discussion about riding gear and what is better or worse - there should be many threads in the forum about riding gear. Guess there are as many opinions as riders :)
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