Riding a Ural sidecar across the world’s deepest lake

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You know life is good when you’re using frozen chunks of ice as a wind break for a fire and sleeping on ice with 5,600 feet of water underneath. Frenchman Hubert Kriegel is seven years into a 10-year multiple circumnavigation of the globe on a Ural sidecar. These photos and this video were taken last winter as he rode across Lake Baikal.

Lake Baikal is the oldest, deepest and most voluminous fresh water lake in the world. It contains 20% of the Earth’s unfrozen fresh water. Located between Russia and Mongolia, it’s 395 miles long and 49 miles wide. It freezes solid in the winter, but it’s not a uniformly smooth surface. As the water underneath flows, huge cracks appear and plate of ice are lifted up, forming unsurpassable obstacles. Hubert describes this as an “ice maze.” It took him several attempts just to make it through.

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No studs were necessary in the sidecar’s tires. The Ural’s 2WD was enough.

Do yourself a favor and devote a couple hours to Hubert’s website, The Timeless Ride.

Thanks, Ilya.

  • Kevin

    That picture of him starting a fire on a frozen lake is a sight to see.

    Love this freaking magazine. You guys rock.

  • Nick

    That ice looks terrifying. I’ll be honest, it would be real hard for me to ride across 50 miles of that.
    Did anyone see Top Gear last night? :)

  • Devin

    The spiderwebs on that ice make me nervous. He was also travelling at a far speed, considering how impaired his stopping distance would be on ice if he came accross a pressure crack.

    Cool video – the creepy music set the scene nicely.

    • Ilya

      The ice in the central part of the lake is actually 3 to 4 feet thick this time of a year

  • markbvt

    A few years back I heard about this guy camping on the ice of Lake Champlain in the middle of winter. Glad to see his ride’s moving along!

  • DoctorNine

    Amazing. Thanks for the tip on the site.

  • aristurtle

    I think I want a Ural now.

  • http://vtbmwmov.org Eben

    He’s actually riding a Ural now? I remember he started on an R100GS with a Ural sidecar. It looks like Ural might have given him a specially built bike at some point along the way.

    • Ilya

      This explains why Hubert switched to Ural (old Hubert’s bike is on 2:12 of this video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2tQXXnytfqc
      His current bike is regular 2008 2wd Ural Patrol he bought himself in France.

  • Core

    That’s crazy. It really is. It’s so freaking cold you can set chunks of ice next to a fire for a wind break and they not melt?

    The only good thing about this trip from my perspective, is he doesn’t have to worry about being mugged or robbed out there.

  • James

    Any chance of the first picture in high-res? That’s a stunning photo and would make staring at my laptop wallpaper seem all the more adventurous.


    • Ilya

      James, e-mail Madina at madina@imz-ural.com

      • James

        Good shout, didn’t see the link at the bottom.

        Cheers dude!


  • T Diver

    The pics are cool but for some reason it looks unsafe.

    • Ilya

      So you’ll never cross Baikal on Ural, that’s it.