The Beginning…

Posted: February 10, 2013 by geeza11 in Uncategorized

So it has almost begun…

Tomorrow we ride out of Irbit at 12pm on our late 1970s Desert Sand coloured Ural Motorcycle that apparently has been completely refurbished and is as good as new, but then a new bike doesn’t take 10 kicks to get it going and isn’t noted to be “the most difficult to start” it may be a long trip to say the least.

The past weekend has been a drop in the deep end of riding motorcycles through ice and snow. If you use the front brake, the wheel instantly locks up and you have no steering, so that is out of the question. The back break is on its way out and as before applying breaks means skidding a lot. So pretty much stopping quickly is something of a dream. But the bikes are an amazing amount of fun to drive. Today we took them through their paces at a motocross track, sliding around corners and getting stuck in snow drifts. One major problem with having a sidecar is that when turning right (it is on the right side of the bike) the sidecar wants to flip you all the way over and turn you into a road and Ural sandwich, something that isn’t fun! But it can be overcome by the person in the sidecar leaning over to move the weight further out and make it more stable. Ruts are also a big problem and so are hills, as the rear tyre begins to slip!

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Don’t let that worry you though, as long as you drive sensibly the bike will try and behave itself and respect your decision not to plough into a snow drift or large russian truck. The weekend hasnt all been about riding motorcycles. We visited the Ural factory as well as the museum and were stunned that literally one guy was making the whole bike. We’ve seen Russian folk dancing whilst eating a traditional Russian meal and we’ve gone ice swimming and sleigh riding. It certainly has been a packed weekend!

It all gets serious tomorrow though. We leave at 12 and are hoping to make a 300km journey to just past a town called Tavda where we hope to camp for the night. Should be interesting! We’re the only team with a map so have been lending a hand to try and work out the best possible route. It will take us in a Northeast direction and from Tavda we follow a railway up to Uray before main roads again up until Nyagan. From there we meet up with the ice road and then it is 600km of no petrol stations to Salekhard. We’ll be finishing in a ski resort just outside Salekhard where the two week forecast has shown temperatures form -30 to -40 for the days when we will arrive. How fun!

For now, we both feel prepared and are confident that, with common sense and determination we will be able to make it and live to tell the tale. We’ll try and keep you updated, remember this is Europe so there’s better telephone signal than some major cities in Australia. We can also leave a voice recording either from our phones or even the sat phone, so be ready for those. We’ll be sure to update you and tell you where we’ve been so keep on checking up on us. There’s also a live tracking that you can follow if you just click on Tracking at the top of the page and follow that to the adventurists website. But now I must get sleep so I will be alert and ready for the big day tomorrow!

Thanks everyone for your support, and we’ll see you on the other side!

Guy and Patrick

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