Incredible Photos From the Longest Bike Race in the World

Marcelo Florentino Soares
Marcelo Florentino Soares | © Red Bull Content Pool

The Tour de France is the toughest race in cycling, but even the iconic French spectacle has to doff its cap to the Trans-Siberian Extreme – the longest bike race in the world.

The Trans-Siberian Extreme sees its competitors race across Russia, given the task of making it from one side of the world’s biggest country to the other in a little over three weeks. Riders begin in the country’s capital, Moscow, and finish in Vladivostok, near the border with North Korea on the Pacific coast. Using only pedal power, cyclists must ride 9,103km in just 25 days. It may not have the relentless team tactics, sheer number of riders or hotly contested sprints as cycling’s grand tours, but it is a test of endurance in its purest form.

Pierre Bischoff on the ninth stage: Tomsk to Krasnoyarsk.

By way of comparison, the 2018 Giro D’Italia was 3,572km. The Tour de France that followed just a few weeks later was 3,349km, meaning you could ride the equivalent of both races back to back and you’d still be only two-thirds of the way through this Russian monolith. The entire route is split into just 15 stages, and one stage is a crippling 1,400km on its own.

The race goes through the likes of Nizhniy Novgorod, Kazan, Yekaterinburg, Irkutsk and Khabarovsk. It is run across eight separate time zones, five climate zones, covers nearly 8,000m of ascent and crosses the Ural mountains and four of the longest rivers in the world. The 25-day limit means that there is very little time to rest, with riders often racing through the night to make the deadline. In the 2016 race, no one finished.

This year – the race’s fourth edition – just six athletes (each from a different country) will race and those that reach the finish can expect to spend an astonishing 350 hours in the saddle. The competition is as gruelling and savage as any in the sporting world, and in a country with one of the most varied environments on the planet, provides a challenge like no other.

Amit Samarth from India during the 2nd stage: Nizhniy Novgorod to Kazan.
Russia’s Vladimir Gusev during the third stage: Kazan-Perm.
Patricio Doucet from Argentina after the fourth stage: Perm to Ekaterinburg.
(L-R) Michael Knudsen, Amit Samarth and Marcelo Florentino Soares from Brazil at the Trans-Siberian Extreme.
Competitors perform during the sixth stage: Tyumen to Omsk.
Marcelo Florentino Soares after the tenth stage.
(L-R) Michael Knudsen and Pierre Bischoff during the ninth stage: Tomsk to Krasnoyarsk.
A group of riders including Patricio Doucet on stage ten.
landscape with balloons floating in the air

KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?

Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Edit article