PART 3 – BIKERAFTING IN SIBERIA – OUR GEAR
Super non technical tech-talk.
So, let’s do a little bit oft tech-talk in this third article. Tech-talk? Yes, well, talking nonsense about our gear. I mean, we are far from being experts. Unfortunately, I wasn`t able to write an article last week, so to apologize I`ll post two vlogs. Except for a few missing things and the whole lot of expedition food all our equipment is ready for testing. God, I´m looking forward to four weeks of freeze-dried crap food. Fortunately we still have one month to go, so we´ll do plenty of field tests. Strapping the bike to the boat and the other way round. We even made a highly professional boaty boat test. Check this:
Tout Terrain bikes, waterproof pannier bags, Anfibio Packrafts, Alpina Sports helmets. Sounds more like some kind of advertising tour instead of vacation. But let´s face it. Sponsorships help us to properly do an expedition of this calibre without having to worry about bikes falling apart or stuff not being reliable.
Financially we would quickly reach a higher four digit figure if we’d have to pay for everything ourselves. The two boats with life vests and paddles cost 2700 €, the bikes 4000€ each, the bike- and equipment bags add up to 2000€, the helmets each 150€.
To top it off, there are 1200€ for flights, 500€ for food and additional material 400€. Quite a decent sum, ha? Roman, why do we do this again?
For sure, we could go on a exclusive vacation to the Maledives for the same price. The torture of a multi-week-all-inclusive hotel trip would be similar to cycling the road of bones. Comparable the pain of a bear attack and the visual appearance of german leather-skinned nudists with shaved pubes. Wüärks. The Russian version of diving and cocktails would just be bikerafting and vodka.
The sponsorships are definitely not a one way benefit. We both, per contract agree to document the entire journey. A daily duty of Instagram, photography and filming. So sponsorings are for sure connected to effort and must-do. The pressure is deceiving especially when you know you’re the first runner up to the new Tout Terrain adventure team. So close to being a professional athlete. Maybe we should be more serious about this.
Ok, so I drifted afar from the original tech–talk idea.
After realising that Romans old bike would survive Russia, we scrambled through online ads on the lookout for a new bike. Useless to say, we didn’t find anything in his price range, or were too slow in purchasing the right ones.
Accidentally I found the sponsoring announcement by Tout Terrain and immediately applied without Roman knowing. I wanted to surprise him, but also wasn’t sure if it would work out. My idea was to try and get the Tout Terrain Outback, a 27,5 inch hard tail mountain bike. A beast, no question about it. A few weeks later we got notice that we would get support and so we placed the order.
The bike itself might not be the right choice for long distance cycling trips but is definitely the best choice for our technically demanding trip through the forests of Siberia. Why? Big wheels ease cycling and pushing the bike over bad terrain, fat tires prevent the bike from sinking into swampy ground and a closed housing for the gear system stops the dirt and water from entering.
I recently went down to Freiburg, to collect the two bikes. Because Damian, the super friendly marketing manager preferred to speak English, I did this third v-log in English.
So we will ride on 27,5 inch wheels, a Pinion Transmission system with Gates Carbon belt, Shimano SLX brakes and optional plus sized tires. All in all components which are mainly impossible to replace at remoter places on the globe. We are aware of that. But on the other hand, there won’t even be a bike shop were we are going. So it might be better to have a reliable, low maintenance system that will survive Russian mud and river crossings. Big shoes, Pinion and a belt drive seem to be a good option for this little tour.
The two boats offer us a loading capacity of 250 kilograms each: So ourselves (80kgs), the gear (50kgs) and one bike (20kgs). Before everybody starts asking: Yes, we will strap the bikes with detached wheels onto the boat and the other way round: the deflated boat onto the bike. Here quickly tested with the Tout Terrain Silkroad GT:
The boat, to be more precise, the MRS Adventure X2 is around 3 metres long, one metre wide and fits, with packing measurements of 50cm x 20cm x 40 cm into an Ortlieb bag. Together with the demountable paddle and the ultra light life vest. Thanks to Sven from packrafting.de who, with a lot of patience advised us to use this boat.
So nothing can go wrong anymore? Fully packed, navigating our boat through white water passages is far from safe. So carrying the boat and gear around difficult parts along the river will always be a good option. Imitating the Titanic is definitely the wrong choice.
We’ll tell you more of the final setup of steed and yacht in the next episode. Now we’re off to buy some comfy waders.