Ural Motorcycles Ice Run 2015 Underway at Lake Baikal

Ural Motorcycles Ice Run 2015 Underway

When speaking of themselves, The Adventurists says “We’re The Adventurists. Fighting to make the world less boring.” But they do more than this – they also raise loads of money for charity – over $7 million so far.

And the latest is the Ural Motorcycles Ice Run 2015, which got underway Monday, March 23, at Listvyanka, Russia.

The challenge? Ride the entire length of the frozen Lake Baikal, which is nearly 400 miles, aboard 650cc Ural motorcycles with sidecars while looking down through a quarter-mile of water.

Similar events were completed along the zimniks (ice roads) of the Ob River, but for 2015 the adventure has been shifted east so teams can take on the “oldest, deepest and biggest frozen lake in the world; Lake Baikal in Siberia.”

This year’s Ural Motorcycles Ice Run features nine international teams from the USA, UK, Australia, India, Ireland, Italy and Spain. The teams consist of eight pairs and one soloist.

Following are the official details of The Adventurists Ural Motorcycle Ice Run Challenge 2015:

The Un-Route

Each winter the lake freezes with a new icy landscape to navigate. We give teams GPS data for essential waypoints such as fuel, food stops and any hazards they need to avoid… but everything in between is where the adventure begins. The launch and finish are in Irkutsk, the “Paris of Siberia”.

Teams will ride on remote forest tracks, open steppes and finally the ice of the lake, as they make their way up the western shore to Severobaikalsk. From there they will cross to the eastern shore and race south down the main zimnik (winter road) to Ust Barguziyn and some welcome tarmac, back to Irkutsk.

The Bikes

In 1940 the Russian army took the German BMW R71, pulled it apart, copied it and slapped a Ural badge on. Rod and sheet metal went into the Ural factory, and complete motorcycles came out, in huge volumes. Built like a tank, magnificent looking and notoriously unreliable, vintage Urals are obviously the all-round perfect adventuring machine. The Adventurists’ fleet were all minted in the 1980s and 1990s when build quality remained endearingly erratic. No Japanese pre-made in these old beauties.


Two days of test driving and training on key ice-riding skills, mechanical briefings plus nightly Q&A sessions cover the basics of how to ride and fix a Ural motorcycle, and how to survive on the ice of Lake Baikal, navigating cracks in the ice and other hazards. Teams are provided with a mapping file for their GPS, the necessary spares and tools to fix and maintain their bike, and snow chains and ice spears for pushing relentlessly forwards once they hit the crevasse fields and cracks on the ice. A ground crew and 4×4 emergency support vehicle track teams in case of genuine emergency.

Saving the World

All riders are asked to raise at least £1000 for charity, £500 of which goes to our nominated charity Cool Earth – an environmental charity that works with indigenous communities to halt rainforest destruction. The Ice Run has raised over £45,000 since it started in 2012.

The Ural Motorcycle Ice Run 2015 Details

– Where: Lake Baikal, Siberia
– When: March 23 – April 2 2015
– Distance: 1800 km
– Teams: 9
– Ural specs: Engine: 4 stroke, two cylinder, 650cc; Power to weight ratio: 0.16 HP per kg; Air cooled, drum brakes; Fuel capacity: 19 liters 2 liters reserve; Fuel range: max 200 km; 4 speed gearbox with reverse gear

For additional information, and to following the Ice Run, visit The Adventurists.