A Spanish traveler, who rides through different corners of the world on a bicycle, got caught off guard by extreme weather in Siberia. The man suffered frostbite, with the near-death experience forcing him to abandon his journey.
The traveler, Andres Abian Pajares, was planning to ride from Magadan to Irkutsk, covering over 4,600 kilometers (2,858 miles) on his bicycle. He was aware that temperatures in Siberia could hit as low as minus 60 degrees Celsius, yet was expecting it to be ‘just’ minus 30 degrees at worst, according to his blog.
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The Siberian weather proved him wrong however, as the night temperature plunged to almost minus 50 degrees Celsius (-58 Fahrenheit). Pajares made only about 100 km on the road, before narrowly escaping death in the middle of the ‘Great White Lady’ – Siberia – as he poetically described it.
The traveler was first spotted on the road by locals last week. Among them were three brothers, travelling from the small town of Susuman to Magadan by car, local media reported. They tried to discourage Pajares from carrying on with his trip, yet the language barrier and the traveler’s desire to get in touch with Siberia prevented them from doing so.
On their way back, the trio kept a close eye on the road, expecting that Pajares might have already got into trouble – and they were right. The brothers discovered the Spanish man in a tiny tent, as he was trying to sleep on the side of the road while the temperatures were freezing out there.
This time the brothers picked up the traveler and drove him to their home in Susaman. Pajares was tended to by local doctors – it turned out he suffered frostbite on his hand – and was later sent by bus back to Magadan. If the trio did not pick up the traveler, he would likely be dead, officials told local media.
Pajares, however, said that the whole endeavor was actually not that bad.
“I enjoyed the solitude, the energy of Siberia, yet did not like lack of sun,” he told Russian media. “I got down from the mountain pass. I did not want to sleep on top of it, it was colder there. Everything was ideal: both the bike and the clothing. Yet I’ve lost a glove in my sleep and just in five minutes my hand was frozen.”
The man, however, appears to be not that sure about re-attempting his journey, and will return home in a more comfortable fashion – by plane. It’s quite probable, however, that Pajares will have to celebrate the New Year in Magadan, since all the plane tickets from there are already sold out.
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