Siberia … just the thought is intimidating … particularly in winter time. Imagine attempting to ride a tadpole trike across frozen Lake Baikal some 700 or so kilometers (approximately 435 miles) with average temps around 14 degrees F (-10 C) and snow storms where the temperatures plummet down to about -22 degrees F (-30 C). Then there are the terrifying earthquakes which frequent the area. In short, it is no picnic.
Lake Baikal is the largest (by volume) freshwater lake in the world, containing roughly 20% of the world’s unfrozen surface fresh water. With a maximum depth of 1,642 m (5,387 ft), Baikal is the world’s deepest lake. By surface area it is the 7th largest lake in the world. It contains more water than all the North American Great Lakes combined. It is located in southern Siberia.
Honza “Jan” Zdansky is Azub’s main test rider of their prototype FAT-Tris trike and made the attempt to cross the frozen lake against such impossible odds. He found himself walking much more than he did riding.
Here he is riding down onto the frozen surface of the lake at the start of his journey.
He started out riding, but he found himself doing more walking than riding as his journey progressed ever so slowly it was quite challenging. He found that he was not able to ride across/thru much of the surface of the frozen lake. He had no choice but to pull, push, lift and just plain struggle and wrestle with the trike to move it forward across the frozen lake’s surface.
Sometimes it was impossible to pull the trike and he had to push and steer the trike which, of course, is even more tiring.
Having to do this so much of the time was taking its toll on him and requiring periods of rest trying to recuperate.
He also lifted it numerous times to sit it back upright after it tipped over several times from being loaded down and quite top heavy causing it tip over readily especially when he was not seated on it to help hold it down. Out there for several days all by himself he had to carry quite a bit of equipment and supplies some of which were loaded up high on the trike resulting in a high center of gravity. In this picture below the trike just tipped over all by itself when he let go of it while it was sitting on an uneven surface.
Here is a look at some of the all too typical surface he was dealing with.
Several times he dealt with serious and scary dangers. Eventually earthquakes brought his attempt to cross the lake to an end. Most of the videos have English subtitles which can be read. If they do not appear you may have to turn them on.
Here is a short “trailer” about his expedition:
And here is the full video:
And here is Jan’s discussion about his expedition:
Brrrr! I am cold just looking at this picture.
If it were a Catrike he could say “Here Kitty Kitty”.
He had to deal with crevices in the ice which, of course, are always dangerous. As you can see he had to lift the trike up and literally throw it across. And some of them he chose not to attempt to cross over as the ice was bad and unstable. Consequently he was forced to go way around them adding considerable distance and frustration to his expedition … not to mention further exhaustion. When this occurred he lost an entire day and spent the day absolutely tiring himself for nothing. It took its toll on his mental and emotional condition.
Each and every day was physically exhausting as he struggled to make headway. Several times he found he could no longer go further where he was at and had to turn back to find another way.
He often fell down in his struggle trying to move the trike along, but occasionally he did get to ride the trike. However, even when he could ride he still had to get off the trike to check out the surface to figure out which is the best and safest path to take.
But not nearly as much as he would have liked.
Just looking at some of the areas where he was pushing or pulling the trike it looks like it would not have been a problem riding it, but I wasn’t there so I have to believe that there were always reasons why he was not riding at the particular point in time. Perhaps some of it was simply a matter of the immediate danger where he was at and the need to be able to see and react standing up on foot rather than being seated on the trike. I have no idea. I am just guessing concerning this.
I know in just the off road riding I have done I have some times found myself getting into places and situations where the going got very difficult and I had to get off and push, pull, lift, carry, etc. and sometimes regretting I did whatever I did to get myself into that situation/predicament.
I can only assume that this last picture I am sharing here was taken early on since it appears to be an expression of joy and triumph. With the attempt ending in having to give up I would not think that this picture was taken at the end.
I certainly have to give him great credit for trying. It was surely a difficult, dangerous and challenging adventure. The thing I come away with in this story is that as neat as FAT trikes are and superior to a standard tadpole trike for off road riding they too have their limitations and just perhaps people need to recognize this and keep it in mind lest they find themselves in imminent danger which could end tragically. Regardless of what we ride and where we ride we all need to be safe and …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’