The BAM Road is one of the toughest adventure roads left on this planet. It’s a real test of physical and mental endurance. The BAM road is an old railway service track that runs roughly alongside the railway track, in extreme Siberia, Russia. It's filled with everything from rickety old bridges to waist high water crossings and at points being miles from civilization.
The road is mostly unpaved, with broken wood bridges and extreme weather conditions. This unmaintained road was constructed in the early 1970’s to build the BAM railway, from Vanino on the Russian pacific coast through Komsomolsk, Fevralsk, Tynda, Severobaikalsk, Ust Kut, Bratsk and back to the Trans-Siberian Highway near Taishet. It has seen little if any maintenance since then, so it is said to be in a very poor state. This railway service track runs approximately alongside the 4,324 km (2,687 mi) Baikal–Amur Mainline railway. The road is passable only by the most extreme off-road vehicles and adventure motorcycles. Riding the BAM road in Russia is not an experience that can be accurately described in words alone. It is possibly one of the most exciting adventure roads left in the world.
BAM Road is one of the world's most arduous adventure motorcycling routes
The unpaved sections of the road can be impassable when wet. The road is in dreadful condition and requires strong nerves to negotiate it. The road has fallen into disrepair and many of the bridges have collapsed. The road has been called the Ultimate Test of Man and Machine and has become a magnet for adventure motorcyclists and 4×4 drivers. After rain, sections of road can become decidedly hazardous when fast-flowing creek crossings and slippery mud can cause road closures. The main hazards of the road are rickety, bogs, decaying bridges with huge holes, deep and fast moving rivers, gravel tracks, broken or collapsed bridges, dangerous river crossings, severe potholes, "unrelenting energy-sapping bogs" and train bridges you must ride over, with no idea when the next train is coming.
The road still remains an adrenaline-pumping journey and is definitely not for the faint of lungs, heart, or legs. Very few people have ridden this remote, poorly maintained dirt road, and it is one of the world's most arduous adventure motorcycling routes. This is one for the adventurers, though few have successfully completed the entire route. The road is inaccessible for much of the year, due to sub freezing temperatures. It’s best ridden during the summer months, between June and August. Conditions can be unpredictable. Rain and storms can bubble up out of nowhere and are normally extreme. Rain can transform a dirt track into a near impassable bog in minutes.
Vitim River Bridge, an old railway bridge, is 570 meters (1870 feet) long and only 50 feet above the water
The BAM road is lightly used, muddy, and crosses thousands of rivers and streams. The bridges are in disrepair, with some partially erect while others have completely disintegrated. One of the most challenging parts of the road is the famous Vitim River Bridge, a challenging bridge crossing the Vitim River, a major tributary of the Lena River.