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Welcome to RussiaCrossing.org. This site reports on the 9000km bicycle journey covered by Damien, Sorouche, Zack, Sasha and Nathan from August 1, 2007 to October 21, 2007. The journey took these individuals though multiple adventurous episodes ranging from running out of water in the Gobi desert to encounters with not-so-friendly drunken Russian teenagers in remote Siberia.

The video available below is a good source of memories. You can also relive key moments of the trip by reading the blog posts.

Many thanks again to all made this possible. If you wish to obtain any information about this trip, please don't hesitate to contact us at: info[at]russiacrossing.org.

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Last night, at the gates of the Forbidden City in Beijing, Sorouche and Damien completed their trip.

It's been an adventure of some 9200 km jam-packed with adventure, awesome people, fantastic scenery and loads of learning of all sorts.

For Sorouche, this is mission accomplished: Moscow to Beijing. For Damien, this was the final leg of his world cycling circumnavigation.

Many thanks are needed but in particular, to Sasha, Nathan and Zack for participating in various segments of the trip. Thanks also to all others who contributed in various ways to both the planning and the delivery of this most wonderful of adventures.

It's now time to rest a little until the next big adventure begins!

Damien & Sorouche, Beijing

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Well, it's now cycled… that is, the Gobi desert is now covered on our itinerary. We considered it to be our last real challenge but never thought it would turn out to be as challenging as it ended up being. Imagine: one giant land (the most sparsely populated state in the world), an incredibly dry climate (it is - well - a desert), awfully rare opportunities for provisions and absolutely no roads (at best, jeep tracks in the desert). Granted, we took some high risks: no GPS, no maps, lots of bike punishment, etc but we managed successfully to cover the full 430 km of corrugated, sandy, bumpy terrain and, thankfully, our touring bikes survived (partially) the experience.

Ah yes… and what an experience it was. There were camels, herdsmen with their horses, nomads scattered throughout nearby their Gers (Mongolian traditional houses), some occasional vehicle traffic (good safety net), lotsa sun, frosty mornings (that's below zero), many flat tires, a seemingly ever-changing vegetation, a guiding line of electricity posts, a never-ending series of small rolling hills, etc but eventually a little border town, adjacent to the Chinese border, appeared as an oasis would in the middle of the desert. Clearly, one much better appreciates the availability of anything, even the most simplest and typically most available of goods after a few days alone in the desert. The fragility of life and our vulnerability to the elements becomes dangerously evident.

That said, we did have to face some serious challenges. About 120 km to the end (a day, a day and a half of cycling in the desert), a new highway under development splits from our guiding line of telephone post and railway line. We followed it, reasoning that it would reach every, albeit rare, village along the way. Well, we were wrong and ran out of provisions. Meals were skipped and liquids became quite scarce but thankfully, we magically bumped into Cynthia and Dominique who, filled with provisions, generously offered to help us for the next little while until the border. To them, we will remain forever grateful and we wish them the best of luck on their cycling adventure (cnouskonpedale.wordpress.com). But eh, drama aside, a little adventure in the desert makes for lovely story-telling afterwards 😉 All is very well now and we are incredibly excited to finish in Beijing in a matter of days now.

China, here we come.

Damien, Mongolia / China Border

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It was most definately a very tortuous and eventful last 32 days. Indeed, a full month of everyday riding, a few mountain ranges, solid coldness, scarcity alongside complete isolation, 70 km of muddy unpaved Siberian roads, bike breakdowns and then bike breakdowns again, physical attacks involving minor theft and punches by drunken Russians and so much more - but we've made it! It took some effort, patience, determination and every bike shop between Omsk and Irkutsk but it's quite something to have rolled 7,000,000 consecutive meters on Russian territory!

At last, it's now time to treat ourselves to a quasi-rest day (might I say - well-deserved!) as we anchor down here in Irkutsk to acquire our Mongolian visas. Then, we'll be off toward Ulan Ude, along the shores of the World's deepest & oldest lake as we try to catch our other 2 team mates currently rolling ahead towards the Mongolian border.

'till next time,

Damien, Irkutsk

Where to begin.

Perhaps by noting that the halfway point is now passed: we have crossed the 4500 km mark. 41 days of daily unpredictable adventure, 1 mountain chain, thousands of kilometers of swamp land, countless liters of juice, water and other booster liquids, etc... it's been quite a ride! Even if pages would be written using the most descriptive of terms, it would remain impossible for anyone to convey the fullness of the experience to anyone not living it first hand.

There have already been so many beautiful moments: pure untouched Siberian fields, dark skies rich in stars, friendly bike store staff, amazingly kind Russian new friends and some courteous drivers. But, as expected on a trip of this magnitude and difficulty, the trip also presented many physical and psychological challenges: bike breakdowns of all sorts and for all team members as well as the difficulties that often accompany a far too well rehearsed daily routine in the wildness of nature!

The road ahead is bright.

Ciao for now,

Damien, Novobirisk