Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Biking Lake Baikal

A Eugene, OR-based crew is now exactly half-way through the first ever human-powered winter circumnavigation of Lake Baikal in northern Russia. The lake - which is surrounded by mountains and boasts an average winter temperature of -19°C - is completely frozen at this time. The team of 5 bicyclists is riding entirely on snow and ice for an estimated 43 days.

Lake Baikal is the world’s deepest lake, holding nearly a fifth of the world’s fresh water supply, and is also assumed to be the oldest, with an age of over 25 million years. It is home to 1,200 indigenous animal species, and is the focal point of the environmental movement in Russia. In addition to simply challenging themselves to a super human feat, the cyclists are riding in support of an international effort to build a recreational trail system around the lake.

The team website is chock full of equipment specs and technical information, covering everything from gearing ("One of the unique features about our bikes is the 2-speed single speed drive-train...The chain is tensioned with adjustable sliders in the frame and there are no derailleurs.") to clothing choices ("While we expect some days of moderate temperatures around -15 degrees C, we must also be prepared for winter storms and periods of cold down to -40 degrees.") to the fact that normal bicycle grease freezes around -15 Centigrade. Fascinating stuff.

You can follow their progress on this map, or on Twitter, or on their Facebook page, where they also regularly post gorgeous photos, like the one above.

I caught wind of this story via Bike Juju, a terrific blog on the cultural and artistic impact of bicycles. Made right here in Seattle! Kudos!

1 comment:

Bikejuju said...

Thanks for reposting! Hi from Pretoria South Africa, security-industry capitol of the world! More cool stuff on Bikejuju soon!