The Coldest Ride - Karolis Mieliauskas

Image and Cover Image: Karolis Mieliauskas - The Coldest Ride

From Yakutsk to Oymyakon - One of the Coldest Places on Earth

In February, 2019, Karolis Mieliauskas, an adventure motorcycle rider from Lithuania, covered a distance of 1000 km riding from Yakutsk to Oymyakon, which is considered the coldest inhabited place on earth.

Image: Karolis Mieliauskas - The Coldest Ride

His motorcycle and crew flew to Yakutsk on January 31, then after some final preparations on the bike and doing a test run, he left Yakutsk on February 4. He completed the trip in just four days on his Yamaha XT660Z Tenere, with some mods done to his bike to aid with the cold weather riding in a land where temperatures reach below -50C in winter. Even with a breakdown on the second day, he still managed to complete the adventure ahead of schedule. Karolis’ ride also took him on a section of the Road of Bones, a road through the Russian Far East that serves as a memorial to the people who built it. An epic adventure of the coldest kind.

Back from his adventure for a couple of weeks, we talked to him about the trip, and what it was that kept him riding in frigid winter temperatures.


Image: Karolis Mieliauskas - The Coldest Ride

Images: Karolis Mieliauskas - The Coldest Ride

What does it take to get a motorcycle ready for temperatures reaching as low as -50C? Karolis and his technician explain that they counted close to 40 modifications to his Yamaha XT660Z Tenere.

About Road of Bones:

Built during the Stalin era, it was started on in 1932 by inmates from the Sevvostlag labour camp, and worked on until it’s completion in 1953 by what was known as gulag, forced labour camps that housed inmates that were everything from small time criminals to political prisoners. When those working on the road died, their bones were put beneath the road or along side of it. Digging holes in the permafrost for the dead was considered impractical, it was easier to make them part of the road. When you ride the Road of Bones, you are literally driving on the bones of the dead.

Since 1995, the road has become a destination for adventurers including motorcyclists Helge Pedersen, Austin Vince (Mondo Enduro), Walter Colebatch, Sherri-Jo Wilkins and others. Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman who rode it in 2004 for their documentary series, “Long Way Round”.

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