Sibirsky Extreme » SIBERIAN EXTREME 2010

Magadan – Baikal

Hot on the heels of the Sibirsky Extreme Project to explore new routes across Siberia, and following a few requests, I have decided to put together an organised motorcycle trip for 2010, from Magadan to Lake Baikal.

This is a fantastic chance to experience the journey of a lifetime, conquer the legendary Road of Bones, ride across the vast and varied territory of Yakutia and explore one of the great wonders of the world, the amazing Lake Baikal; all in the company of a Russian speaking guide who has good knowledge of the roads, language, history and culture of the region.

The regions through which we travel rarely see foreigners and the locals in these regions are fantastically friendly and hospitable. The locals have a real appreciation of the challenges and adventures we are undertaking and riders will be stunned by the hospitality afforded to them. Riders will discover that while the territory is rugged and extreme, the Siberian people are fantastically warm, kind and hospitable.

This is a real adventure through challenging, isolated regions of Siberia. It requires determination, drive and an acceptance that some days will be hard, while other days will be glorious. At the end of the trip will be a sense of achievement par excellence; an achievement thru truly extreme regions of Siberia. They don’t get much more extreme than the Kolyma and Yakutia.

Some of the roads we will ride, such as the Vilyuisky Trakt across Yakutia have only been ridden three times; once by Walter and Tony in the original 2009 Sibirsky Extreme Project and once 2 months later by Arnaud (a czech couple also did the route after Walter and Tony’s crossing).  Siberian Extreme 2010 riders will join this tiny band of 5 riders who have ridden across all of Yakutia. This will not be a hand-holding tour, but a tough, genuine adventure for those seeking a real personal challenge though amazing landscapes.

The Route
Siberian Extreme 2010 begins in the Gulag port city of Magadan, built in 1939 to service the needs of the nearby Gulag Archipelago.

The route from Magadan to Khandyga will be along roads all originally built in the 1930′s and 40’s by the Gulag prisoners. The bodies of many of the estimated 2 million people who died in the Kolyma Gulags were used as landfill for the next section of road, thus the name Road of Bones was given to this network of roads.

We will take the Road of Bones past the Gulags and the ghost city of Kadykchan to the major Gulag town of Ust-Nera, and on to Khandyga from where we join up with a new road completed in the last ten years to bring us into Yakutsk, the capital of Yakutia. On the way we take two significant ferry journeys across the large Aldan River and the 7 mile wide Lena River.

After a couple of days rest, relaxation and entertainment in Yakutsk, during which we will visit the permafrost caves, the ride continues, heading west along the Vilyuisky Trakt to the heart of Yakutia, the Vilyui valley, stopping for a visit at an Even reindeer herding village.

Until 2009, much of the Vilyuisky Trakt was a ‘winter road’ a muddy bog unable to be used in summer, but recent roadworks have opened up this most Yakut of areas. We pass the Yakut towns of Vilyuisk, Nyurba, and Suntar on our way to Mirny, the centre of the Russian diamond industry, and home to the largest hole in the world. From Mirny, a short ride takes us to Lensk on the impressive River Lena, where we board boat for a 3 day river cruise bound for Kirensk.

The final stage of the journey sees us ride from Kirensk down along part of the BAM Road and turning south to Zhigalovo and onto the beautiful Olkhon Island on Lake Baikal. Lake Baikal promises to be a beautiful and relaxing way to wind down from the northern motorcycling. The ride finishes in the Siberian city of Irkutsk.
We will be heading down through Mongolia following the trip and would be happy to continue on after Irkutsk with other riders through Mongolia to Ulaanbaatar, from where bikes can be containered back to Europe.

Siberian Extreme 2010 will depart Magadan July 30, 2010, arriving in Irkutsk 4 weeks later on August 27.  It will be an additional 10 days or so to Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia for people who want to continue on.


What kind of motorcycles are suitable?
The route we have chosen is suitable for all off-road capable bikes, from 400cc bikes up to and including the larger BMW GS and Africa Twin bikes, but do bear in mind that lighter is obviously better. (I will again be on my X-Challenge. ) Suitable tyres are ESSENTIAL. I strongly recommend Michelin Deserts rears and Desert or T63 front tyres for these roads – one set will get you from Magadan to Irkutsk. We can arrange to have new tyres sent ahead to Magadan for fitting on arrival, and new tyres waiting in Irkutsk for anyone riding home.

What riding experience is required?
Over 90% of the 3000 mile route will be dirt roads, so some off-road experience is ESSENTIAL. I would strongly recommend the BMW Off-Road-Skills level 1 course in Wales or the BMW 2-day course in Hechlingen (Germany) for riders with limited off-road experience. We will often be riding at a brisk pace. Riders will need to have inner strength and determination as well as technical skills and experience.

What are the roads like?
Generally speaking, the road conditions on Siberian dirt roads depend very much on the recent weather. After 2 or 3 days of rain, any unpaved Siberian road can become a boggy, muddy nightmare. We are traveling when the weather should be good, on graded roads and hopefully that means we will have good high speed dirt roads. There are some sandy patches around Vilyuisk, also expect sections of loose gravel. It’s impossible to guarantee what the roads will be like at the time of travel, but do expect challenging conditions. Average distance per riding day will be around 250km / 160 miles but one or two days will require double that. Fuel will typically be 92 octane.

What will the food be like?
There is some choice available in Magadan, Yakutsk and Irkutsk, but generally the food will be simple but filling – without a great deal of choice. The food is however generally clean and I am unaware of anyone who has become sick from the food. Importantly, the beer is fine, although it can be hard to find it ‘on tap’.

What luggage should I take?
It is essential to avoid bringing an excess of luggage. This is not a sealed road based tour to the South of France or even a trip across Russia on the Trans-Siberian Highway. This is travel on unpredicatable roads in EXTREME parts of Siberia. Luggage MUST be minimized. You do not want to struggle with an overly heavy bike on slippery muddy deserted roads, in the rain, when axle deep in mud, with 200 miles to the next village.

Everybody begins a trip carrying too much luggage and later realizes 50% was not necessary. It’s an important part of the preparation process to cull as much unessential luggage as possible BEFORE the trip as an overly heavy load will soon become a nightmare in mud, sand, and gravel. A tent is essential and can be carried in the support vehicle. Other than that, bring a small selection of clothes, sleeping bag, mattress, small medical kit, any camera gear, phone chargers etc and spare parts / tools. Apart from the tent, all gear should be carried on the motorcycle. If something is forgotten, Yakutsk is a city that will allow you to buy almost anything, 6 days into the ride.

Recommended Inventory:

  • tent (sub 2.5 kg recommended)
  • sleeping bag (synthethic, with compression bag)
  • air mattress (light, small)
  • mosquito hat

  • 1 riding jacket (with protection)
  • 1 riding trousers (with protection)
  • 1 pr boots (off road suitable)
  • 1 helmet (open face preferred, with clear visor; e.g. Nolan N41)
  • 1 pr cold weather gloves (e.g. EXO2 gloves)
  • 1 pr off road gloves (e.g. Klim Dakar gloves)
  • 1 pr waterproof socks (e.g. Seal Skins)
  • 1 thick warm fleece
  • 1 waterproof liner / rain jacket
  • 1 neck warmer
  • 2 t-shirts / polo shirts (we will give you a 3rd)
  • 3 boxer shorts
  • 1 spare light trainers (all black preferable – as they can can still get you into nightclubs)
  • 2 pairs normal socks
  • 1 pair chino type trousers (chino’s dry faster than jeans)
  • 1 pair shorts

  • towel (cut in half)
  • toilet bag
  • 1 roll of your favorite toilet paper
  • power adapters (Russia has European plugs)
  • head torch
  • MP3 player
  • unlocked mobile phone (to take a Russian SIM card)
  • sunglasses (large)
  • compact camera.

What preparation, modifications and spares are required for my motorcycle?

  • A service and oil and filter change before departure.
  • A new air filter fitted plus one spare, or washable air filter … we will do many miles on dusty roads.
  • A simple system for carrying your luggage – simple meaning you don’t want to be faffing about for 30 minutes at the start and end of each day loading and unloading.
  • Fit the thickest tubes you can lay your hands on. No-one likes being on the side of the road changing tubes in bear country – and Yakutia is bear country. Bib-Mousse is also an option.

  • Fit a new chain and consider a smaller front sprocket (essential for larger capacity chain driven bikes) prior to departure.
  • It your bike is a carburettored bike, fit an inline fuel filter. If your bike is a fuel injected bike, change the fuel filter prior to departure.
  • Each motorcycle must have fuel capacity sufficient to enable a range of 400 km (250 miles) on normal roads. This need not come through modifications – the cheaper option is to carry a small additional canister.
  • Bikes WILL be dropped. It’s important to have whatever protection is necessary to minimize damage to the bike from being dropped. Engine protection plates and hand guards are an absolute minimum.

  • Check clutch cable, headset bearings, fork seals, fork oil and replace if necessary, or if in even the slightest doubt.
  • Replace wheel bearings and seals before departure. Bring spare wheel bearings and seals.
  • Spare brake pads, oil filter and any known likely failure items, particularly on more electronic motorcycles would be wise to bring along.
  • 12v power outlets … make sure you have enough accessory sockets to power whatever devices you want to power from the motorcycle. Also if your bike does not have one, seriously consider adding a very easy to access positive terminal. This will enable quick access for jump starting.

  • Lock and chain – the simplest security is the best. Consider de-activating any immobilizers before the trip as failure of them so far away from a technical service centre will leave you ‘immobilised’. Bring spare keys for anything on the bike that requires them.

  • A GPS is very useful as Garmin GPS waypoints and routes will be supplied for the journey.

Motorcycle maintenance and problems?
We do not have a motorcycle mechanic with us, so it’s essential the bike is well prepared prior to the journey. Maintenance is the responsibility of the rider.

It would be wise to know what can go wrong with your particular motorcycle and how to remedy any likely problems. Reassuringly, Russians have an excellent general mechanical knowledge and have the ability to repair almost any non-electronic components, manufacturing new parts when necessary, as we have found in the past on many occasions.

Wild Animals?
Siberia is a tough part of the world. Bears are all over the region we travel, and are particularly common around the Magadan area. Further into Yakutia and the Arctic Wolf, one of the largest dogs (weighing close to 100kg / 220 lbs) and known as a particularly ferocious hunter is common. Reindeer and Elk are the main targets of the wolves.  It has even been known to encounter the occasional mosquito in Yakutia and we would strongly recommend a mosquito proof hat.

No vaccinations are necessary. I myself will be taking the encephalitis vaccine as we are traveling in July and August, well past the tick season.
Sibirsky Extreme 2010 will cost £1250 – including Russian visas.
What is not included in the price?

  • Transportation to Magadan
  • Transportation after Irkutsk
  • Food, Drinks
  • Fuel
  • Accommodation
  • All transportation expenses
  • Other miscellaneous items not listed above.

Finally , enjoy a SLIDE SHOW of the sights and people along the Siberian Extreme 2010 route.
If that lot tickles your fancy, contact me on


About brexians

Demetrios Georgalas (A Surviving Globalization Consultant) was born in 1961 in Bern and grew up in Athens. In1985, graduated from Surrey University with a Tourism Management BSc (Hons). In 1998, graduated from LMTB under Freie Universitat Berlin, with a Diploma Lasers in Medicine. His professional career was started in the private sector and at the same time he created his first consulting company D+G Consultants Inc. Worked for major multinationals in Greece and abroad (FMCGs / Pharmaceuticals / Tourism). Demetrios Georgalas, having established also Travelling 2 Greece a destination management company, while with the D+G Consultants working in the areas of BTL and special marketing projects. He is activated except from Greece in the Balkans and in Turkey, consulting his clientele with new innovative proposals. Apart from his enterprising activities, he dabbles at blogging, travelling and cooking while he is married and has two children. In conclusion Demetrios Georgalas is an Athenian, Greek, Agnostic, Traveller, & Liberal he likes sci-fi, photography, blogging, travelling and cooking and if you like fascism or any kind of dogma, keep out! Δημήτρης Κ. Γεωργαλάς Γεννήθηκε στην Αθήνα το 1961, σπούδασε Τουριστική Διαχείριση στο Ηνωμένο Βασίλειο και κατέχει μεταπτυχιακό τίτλο στην Βιοτεχνολογία. Έχει εργαστεί σε μεγάλα τουριστικά γραφεία του εσωτερικού, και σε πολυεθνικές σε Ελλάδα και Εξωτερικό, στο χώρο των φαρμάκων, των ιατρικών μηχανημάτων και των FMCG’s. Από το 2001 είναι ελεύθερος επαγγελματίας, με δραστηριότητα στην διαχείριση προορισμού, τον θεματικό τουρισμό και τις ειδικές ενέργειες marketing. Είναι παντρεμένος και πατέρας δυο παιδιών, διδάσκει ειδικά θέματα εξωτερικού εμπορίου και κοινωνικής δικτύωσης, σε επιχειρήσεις και οργανισμούς. Ασχολείται ενεργά με το διαδίκτυο από το 1993 με άμεση εμπλοκή στα κοινωνικά δίκτυα και στο «ιστολογείν». Φανατικός ταξιδευτής, ερασιτέχνης φωτογράφος, μαχόμενος αγνωστικός και φιλελεύθερος. Όραμά του μια Ευρωπαϊκή Ελλάδα.
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