Gena, The Long Crocodile

Gena's name came from some Russian friends in Magadan deciding to call it as such.

Gena is a Surly Big Dummy. The Big Dummy is a well-reputed truck on 2 wheels. With its extended LongTail Xtracycle cargo frame and wheel base, as well as its Xtracyle WideLoaders, Dimitri can comfortably carry up to 70 kg of camping and survival gear in addition to his personal weight. A sensible well-designed utilitarian bike, it is still manageable even while carrying all that weight and riding through rough, remote roads and trails.

Things always break when pushed to the limit, and beyond - but when that happened to Dimitri, the steel frame and the beefy components permitted quick field fixes to let him reach the next town, where the local welder could effect reliable permanent repairs. Beefy Schwalbe Marathon Plus MTB off-road tires, with inner tubes filled with slime, to provide traction and a measure of comfort. Low gearing is essential when tackling the backcountry with so much weight - and riding is actually easier than pushing that big loaded-down crocodile up a rough steep slope.

The Ortlieb front paniers, handlebar bags and duffle bags strapped to the rear carrier have proven reliably waterproof, and have survived both the rough handling of airline baggage gorillas and countless not-too-soft landings on mud, rocks and blacktop.

Over the last 6000 kms (3730 miles) of rough roads, the only problems encountered with the Big Dummy were:
(1) 1 broken FH-M775 Shimano Freewheel body hub. Not having apparently used the proper "-20C safe" type chain lubricant, my hub/gears rapidly started to clog up and as a result the cogs in myFH-M775 Shimano freewheel body hub broke, leaving me with no ride-able gear at all!
(2) 2 flat tires. For tires, we had Schwalbe Marathon Plus MTB. For tubes, we used tubes pre-filled with slime.
(3) Had to weld twice my Rolling Jack Ass center stand in Tynda and Kharakhorin, because of the condition of the trails I rode and the excessive weight I was carrying.
(4) The Xtracycle Wideloaders had to be reinforced with an internal metal rod to sustain the cargo weight.
(5) My back wheel splitted once near three spokes holes and therefore needed to be replaced.
(6) My Nova Tubus rack had to be replaced because a brace fractured. In addition, once, a screw on my front rack splitted in 1/2 and could no longer be removed to be replaced, until we drilled through it.
(7) The lower hook attachment to my front Ortlieb panier went missing and needed to be replaced with a metal piece, since I was at the time without a replacement piece.

Additional Info & Links for Gena:
Surly Big Dummy
Ortlieb Panniers
Rolling Jack Ass

Gulnara's bike is called "Cheburashka" because of its ears and because he is a buddy with Gena.

Click Here for some notes and history on Cheburashka...

Cheburashka is a Surly Long Haul Trucker. The Long Haul Trucker can be seen as the "Lite" version of the Big Dummy - but it is by no stretch of the imagination a lightweight. It sports a standard frame geometry, so provides less carrying capacity, but Gulnara still typically longhauls 35 kg of gear. Surly puts as much thought into its design as for the Big Dummy, and fitted the bike with sturdy equipment. Similarly to the Big Dummy, it makes the steepest hills manageable. So far, it has survived (frantically knocking on wood...) 2170 kms / 1350 miles of backcountry travelling, and Gulnara is still smiling. Now, that's sayin' something.

Additional Info & Links for Gena:
Surly Long Haul Trucker
North Face 4 Seasons Mountain 25 Tent

This robust tent provided countless peaceful nights of shelter while facing numerous strong storms across the Bering Strait, throughout Far Eastern Russia and thunderstorms in Mongolia. Under one of those frightening thunderstorms near the Russo-Mongolian border, the tent actually witnessed the engagement of Dimitri and Gulnara... However, the tent had to be replaced twice in Far Eastern Russia, when it was first accidentally burnt down and blown away on a separate occasion.

History of unfortunate tent incidents:
Cycling Gear

Gear shot taken in September of 2013 in Altay.
Bering Strait Crossing

Here is the entire spread of gear taken on the Bering Strait Crossing by Karl Bushby and Dimitri Kieffer.

The expedition continued into Russia with a somewhat similar assortment for Dimitri, with few notable exceptions such as new Acapulka Scandic Tour 210 sleds and new skis with dual binding systems allowing us to either use 3 pins back country ski bindings or Berwyn bindings which was provided to me by snowsled. The dual system was set up in Seattle with the help of the crew at 2d Ascent and Pro Ski Services. The Berwyn bindings allowed us to use our Baffin Doug Stop boots on colder days!

Additional Info & Links:
Light & Motion
Mountain House
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