A 5-person Venezuelan-American team plans to complete the first-ever human-powered circumnavigation of Lake Baikal on mountain bikes. In addition, we hope to create a film documentary of the expedition which will showcase the incredible beauty of Lake Baikal in winter as well as feature an overview of the environmental concerns in the region, interviews with local environmental activists and other residents, and some of the unique attributes of Lake Baikal such as the world’s only fresh water seals and the shamans that live and practice on Ol’hon Island.
The trip will begin in mid-February and end in early April. The lake will be frozen during this time and the riding will be entirely on snow and ice for an estimated 43 days.
We will begin our trip in the city of Irkutsk, where we will purchase any necessary food and supplies. From there we will ride along the frozen Angara River to Lake Baikal. Once we reach the lake we will begin to circumnavigate the lake in a counter clockwise direction.
We will continue along the southern shore of Lake Baikal, where there will be an increasing number of towns and villages to visit. We will pass by the small ski resort town of Baikalsk, where former President Putin is known to make turns, to Sludyanka and Kultuk. From there we will begin to travel north to Ust Barguzin.
From Ust Barguzin we will ride along some of Lake Baikal's most remote shoreline. We will pass Holy Nose, Ushgani Islands, Davsha Nature Preserve and the Trans-Baikal National Park en route to Severobaikalsk. There are very few settlements in this area of the lake, and we can expect to see Nerpa, the world's only fresh water seal in its natural habitat.
After reaching Severobaikalsk we will turn south and ride to Olhon Island, the spiritual center of Lake Baikal and the home of Buryat Shamanism.
From Olhon only a few hundred kilometers will remain to reach our last destination on Lake Baikal, the picturesque town of Listvyanka, where we hope to celebrate by eating some freshly smoked Omul, an indiginous fish that is quite tasty. From Listvyanka we will pedal the final 200 kilometers along the frozen Angara River back to Irkutsk.