A Lithuanian motorcycle rider by the name of Karolis Mieliauskas is preparing to set out on what he calls The Coldest Ride. Considering where and when he is going, its tough to argue with that moniker, as the 37-year old adventurer hopes to reach the coldest place on the planet by motorbike.
In just a few short weeks, Mieliauskas will climb aboard his trusty motorcycle –– which is mainly a stock bike with very few modifications –– and set out for Oymyakon in Russian Siberia. The small town is often called “the coldest place on Earth” because temperatures routinely drop to -60ºC/-76ºF during the winter. Throughout the ride, which is expected to take about a week to complete, he’ll face -40ºC/F temperatures on an almost constant basis, traveling more than 1000 km (621 miles) across the entirety of Siberia in the dead of winter on the infamous Road of Bones.
Mieliauskas is no stranger to long distance motorcycle adventures, although the extremely cold temperatures will certainly introduce a new variable to his ride. Back in July of 2016 he rode more 11,000 km (6835 miles) from Vilnius to Vladivostok in just 12 days. Then in March 2017 he also rode 785 km (487 miles) across the ice of Lake Baikal, the deepest lake in the world. Each of his rides is done without any support, camping gear, or satellite phone as well.
The Lithuanian rider is looking to challenge himself along the way in an effort to learn about what the human body can withstand. He says, “The Coldest Ride is an exploration of the connection between the body and how the mind plays with the cold in these situations.” Karolis goes on to add, “In tough conditions such as these, I have a number of devices to show me where are my theoretical limits and going beyond them is something I think that we should all do. For example, swimming in icy water without a warm up is one of my hobbies and it is an example of our minds being restrictive – I get into the water, but my mind is telling me to not do it because it has been conditioned to believe that it is too cold, or that I may get sick. I continue going in despite being told that I should not. I then dip my head under the water and come up completely fine because the body starts to heat itself. Each time in moments like these, the realisation that not everything the mind believes is necessarily true happens. I hope that The Coldest Ride will push all of us to challenge our own perceptions of things, whatever they may be.”
We’ll see if his mind can overcome these temperatures soon enough. Riding in a regular vehicle in -40º temperatures can be cold and challenging enough. Doing so on a motorcycle sounds like it could be agonizing. We wish him luck on his Coldest Ride.
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