Russian Road of Bones on a Harley
Extreme Adventure Riding – Converted Harley Sportster to ride the Russian Road of Bones
Road of Bones on a Harley
One of the holy grails of adventure riding is the Siberian journey known as the “Road of Bones”. Commenced in the Stalin era of the USSR in 1932, the road got its name from the shocking practice of burying the dead workers in the road base as it was constructed in the harsh Eastern Russian conditions.
The isolated 2000 odd kilometre stretch of broken bridges and random hazards is no place for the weak of heart.
You may remember Doug Wothke from a story we ran a while ago, in which he took his chopped rigid frame Harley for a jaunt around Europe, and Eastern Europe, including a spin around Iraq. If not, take a look here.
Well Doug’s at it again, this time he’s decided the most suitable adventure bike for the harsh Siberian trip wasn’t available commercially, so he’s made his own, out of a Harley Davidson 1200 Sportster.
Nicknamed the “Dirtster”, the 2003 model Sportster has suspension and wheels more suitable for the conditions, along with the usual long distance modifications. While the Road of Bones is a few thousand kilometres long, Doug is going to ride across Europe, and subject to visas, make a run across Iran, and probably several other countries a sane man wouldn’t go.
Not content with reaching Magadan at the end of the Road of Bones, the bike will be then put on a ship for a small southern journey to Vladivostok, and from there Doug will ride clear across Russia back to Europe. This would probably around 30,000 kilometres all up.
Red line is approximate route to Madagan on the East coast, dotted green is ship, followed by the run home.
If you haven’t already, take a look at Doug’s site motosapiens.org. The Eastern Europe trip on the Shovel is really something to see. This next adventure should take things to a whole new level, and we look forward to the stories and pictures to come.
About the Road of Bones:
Constructed in the Stalin era of the USSR, the Highway was constructed using forced labour by inmates of the gulag camps, commencing in 1932. By the time it was completed in 1952, tens of thousands of workers had died on the project.
The road runs for 2000 kilometres through the harshest terrain of the Asian continent, connecting Magadan and Yakutsk, looping through the Siberian mountains in order to reach the gold mines that once operated there. Two towns on the highway, Tomtor and Oymyakon, both claim to be the coldest inhabited place on earth outside of Antarctica. The average temperature in Oymyakon in January is -46°C.
Ewan MacGregor and Charley Boorman traversed the road in Long Way Round, albeit with a large support contingent.
Source and images: Motosapiens.org (check it out, the forum is full of great pictures)