Lawrence Bransby is no stranger to Russia and the former Soviet Republics, but the infamous ‘Kolymer Highway’ to Magadan in Russia’s far east, held a particular allure. As an area that’s barely populated, lawless, disease-ridden and lacking infrastructure, what better vehicle to tackle it on than a knackered DR350, that had previously languished for two years in a shed in Kyrgyzstan, and was already a veteran of many tough overland campaigns?
This is a tale of what seems like a perpetual battle against unrelenting rainfall through a desolate landscape. Mother Russia seems determined that he should suffer for having the audacity to attempt to ride the ‘Road of Bones’, not once, but twice. It’s a boys own adventure especially if you like reading of changing punctures in the mud and struggling through swollen rivers.
But this book also contains perhaps the most moving opening chapter of any motorcycle travel book I’ve read. And Bransby’s way with words continues unabated as his observation, whether social or geographical, leaves you wondering if there could ever be a better way of encapsulating what has just been said.
This is a 20,000km adventure story, a battle of endurance through a hostile landscape, one peppered with people of immense generosity who understand the rigours, not of life, but of survival. It’s also about getting to know this massive country and the struggles it has faced and continues to face, not due to climate, but leadership. A highly recommended read.
Review by Paddy Tyson
Published by author (2018)