taking Urals Across the Bering Strait

 Photos: leavinghomefunktion


Ground travel by Ural is already an adventure, but taking four of them the long way around from Germany to New York is a task set for themselves by four German artists looking for adventure. Leaving East Germany in September 2014, Anne Knödler, Elisabeth Oertel, Efy Zeniou and Johannes Fötsch headed their Urals east, heading towards the Bering Strait with the intention to take them into Alaska and then across the continent to New York.  The Urals, as old Soviet motorcycles, are fussy and difficult and have helped the group - expanded from the original four t includ an Estonian free-rider Kaupo Holmberg, and several other international travelers inspired by the project  - come together to find solutions to the inevitable breakdowns and challenges.

STAGE 1 of the journey led the artists 5000 km eastwards to the Georgian Republic where they set up winter camp near the Tserovani settlement.

During the 5 months of STAGE 2, leavinghomefunktion covered a distance of more than 20.000 km eastwards. The abundance of mechanical breakdowns has only brought the riders closer to people who they’ve met along the way and have helped form an social networking system.

From Russia they entered Kazakhstan. After managing the steppes, characterized by a surround system of ceaseless buzzing winds, the travelers arrived in the Siberian city of Barnaul before making their way towards the golden mountain ranges of Altai. From Mongolia they entered Far East Russia. Akin to Ewan McGregor's The Long Way Round they went down a path they had been warned off by locals: The Old Road of Bones. Understanding for this warning became clear a few days later when more and more swamps began emerging - sucking the 400kg motorcycles into the ground - with food and petrol becoming scarce.

STAGE 3 of their route will be the greatest challenge of their project: The crossing of the Kolyma River and the Bering strait - the most Northern point of Far East Russia. Due to the predominant continental climate over there crossing by motorcycle in wintertime where temperatures reach close to -50 °C seems highly unlikely. Last year´s winter camp was in the Caucasian region - this year it´s the upbeat modernity of the Vancouver metropolis. Until the end of May 2016 they will stay in Vancouver working - planning reconstructions for the Kolyma challenge and finding new sponsors.

The schedule is tight: Within 1 month of arriving in Canada the travelers have found jobs as Santa's helpers, butchers, construction workers, artist's assistants. Reaching home late at night means creating and developing funding opportunities, contacting sponsors, organizing international exhibitions, handling their social media –not to mention the greatest challenge: Finding the right people to make the crossing of the Kolyma river and Bering Strait possible!

To support the effort:  or


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Mechanic's weekend I



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