PART 1 – BIKERAFTING IN RUSSIA – THE RETURN OF THE TADCHICKS
It has probably been little over a year, since we started planning this endeavour. Not really a last minute flight, I guess. But spontaneity won´t be our benchmark for this journey. Unless the dear road decides to wash away with the river. Maybe.
Seems like a lot of time, but considering the amount of details you need to think and rethink, it´s actually quite short. A few dozen plans and routes were scrapped and redone over and over again. (I will be going into detail further along.)
I don´t even know, how many times we have been asked, why in the world we would choose Yakutia for this next travel. There are cheaper flights to Ibiza, or the Balkans, did you know? You can even rent bikes there – no need to import them.Chewing through travel blogs, military maps and various weird sites along the internet, we found the far far east of Russia to be our next place of interest. So far, it´ll be easy to touch Trumps America, but who would want that.
Our first idea was to cycle in Kamtchatka from north to south. But even that place seemed too bear infested. Not the small ones. And the peninsula seems to be one big swamp during summer. Yay.
Then we pointed fingers onto the border region between Mongolia and Russia. A network of mountain ranges, rivers and untouched land lingering for adventure. Though with too many travel blogs entries it seemed overcrowded to our taste. The less humans the better, was our concept along the way.
We found old Russian military maps from the 1950ies which might not be up to date anymore, but rivers and mountain ranges still somewhat stay put. In endless night sessions after work we arrange the maps to get a complete overview of this vast region full of, you guessed it: trees, swamps, rivers, mountains and bears. Oh beautiful Sacha – that´s the name of this far off place.
The perfect spot to combine rugged bike tours with rafting for the odd lot of character building activities. Our moms know already, so we are ready to go.
The Tadchicks – Who’s behind this nonsense?
Roman, the elderly guy to the right here, inspecting an fine drop of Tajik goodness. He´s a marketing guy at a local company, were he get´s money for doing what he does best: talking. And at the same time he is allowed five weeks off from work. Crazy. Oh and he can diminish two kilos of sweets in a half an hour.
Me here, I´m the guy in the middle between two Tajik melon sellers. I´m a lot, I mean A LOT younger than Roman. So I´m kind of a greenhorn – or at least not a greyhorn, like him.
As you could have guessed, I´m a freelance photographer and filmmaker and responsible for the visual mess you will witness on this blog.
Cycling through the Pamirs – How it all began.
In the late 2014, I was working at a local climbing gym, in which Roman was a climbing guest, or drinking beer. I don’t remember. Anyways, we got to chat and honestly speaking, we didn´t even know each other before, but we decided to, after finding some sympathy for each other, go on a trip together. Shortly after, we booked flights to Tajikistan to go on our first cycling adventure.
Under somewhat unknown circumstances we were named “The Tadchicks”, and the trendy name stuck to us for quite a while.
Entering Russia, this name doesn’t really seem contemporary anymore. Entries are now open for new name suggestions. Winners will receive a big bottle of Siberian wodk äh, water and never ending thankfulness.
Looking back, I’m not sure, if I didn’t swear to myself to never go on a trip with Roman again. We had just arrived in Dushanbe, the Tajik capital, and we both had a rather big argument. I can’t remember the reason, but we both just had lost around seven kilos of bodyweight, four weeks of freedom and work was screaming back home.
We probably both had hoped for a warm welcome party. Instead, we had to bribe our way out of the country, as the airport police officers had mistaken our joyfulness for being drunk. Ok they, were right. But I never knew how cheap Roman would be in the end. 10 Dollars bribe. Wow.
At this point, I could probably release some of the funny smart phone footage I took, but Roman would kill me.
If you missed our multivision shows, go grab a brief view into our Tajikstan trip here: Tadchicks – Cycling the Pamirs
Bike Rafting. So what’s the plan?
The plan is, to use this blog (www.tadchicks.com) to tell you about our failures, sponsors, equipment and planning. You can find a German version of this blog here: www.storyfutter.de
Feel free to share with family and friends. Detailed blog entries on our route, the setup, gear and all the rest will follow.
Unfortunately the Siberian trees don’t emit wifi signal, so we won’t be posting much during our trip from the 28th of July to the 2nd of September. Feel free to drop us a line or say hi anyway.
Back in Tajikistan, both our mothers had large doubts about our journey, especially the trip along the border to Afghanistan. Nothing ever happened. Let´s hope our “fortune favours fools” strategy works again in Siberia. At least bears don´t carry Kalashnikows.