If you’re somebody who keeps up to date with our blog, you’ll know exactly who we’re talking about when we say ‘Bandits on Ice’. These guys have just returned to Australia after completing their biggest (and craziest) adventure yet – the 2015 Ice Run where they travelled across a frozen Lake Baikal on vintage Ural motorcycles during the extreme winter conditions in Siberia. We caught up with them to hear all about what they got up to and it sounds like they certainly had more than their fair share of adventure. Luckily for them, they had a stack of I/O Merino to keep them warm and comfortable along the way.
According to the team, they came face to face with some serious setbacks during the run. These included broken down Ural motorcycles, a major plunge into the lake itself after mistakenly driving over the wrong crack, (thankfully there was a layer of thick ice about one meter down), and learning how to say ‘Yes! We’re crazy’ in Russian. But the biggest setback of all? The extreme weather conditions.
“We all camped on the ice this night and found a patch of snow on the surface to test their snow camping skills. This task would have been daunting to most on any occasion, however the earthquakes that rocked the camp site brought a new phwoar factor. The ice boomed and cracked under their feet and massive wedges of ice dislodged and broke through the surface near the shore” they said.
With temperatures ranging from -5 C during the day and plummeting to -25 C at night, they packed a range of our base layers and accessories to stay warm and alive and well during their journey. Considering the extreme conditions, they are unsurprisingly grateful. “We were looking for love and found it in I/O Merino. The Pilot Suit that stayed so close, never leaving our side even when plunged into the icy depths of the lake. She warmed us and cared for us, loving us so much that the zippered crutch meant we never had to part.” We’ve never heard anyone speak quite so fondly about our trusty Pilot Suit, but under the circumstances, we’re more than prepared to accept such lofty praise.
“The Vital Long Sleeve Base Layer was like a permanent compliment. It was like ‘Hey, how you doin’?’ all the time and all we could do was smile. It encouraged swagger. Even back into the relative civilization of the city, the Vital was the top of choice throughout the day and night – it also looked damn fine on our bedraggled frames as we replenished our vodka levels in the classiest of Irkutsk establishments.”
And the praise didn’t end there. “The Limitless Bandana and Peak Headbands provided protection and I was able to ride with more cool than cold. I mean c’mon people! These are the most awesome striped bandanas I have ever seen! Along with the AzTech Beanies, which have been nominated for bravery awards in the next Australia Day celebrations, these true champions of warmth and durability mean that our brains didn’t fall out onto the frozen beauty of the lake.”
At I/O Merino, we love nothing more than hearing about where our gear ends up, and that it’s served the wearer well. While many I/O wearers have enjoyed some pretty awesome adventures over the years, there’s been none quite like this. So it puts a massive smile on our faces to hear it’s served its purpose so well.
And their parting words? “Wherever we roamed, the beanies were with us and their capacity to care and hold us tight was a true indication of love. I, for one, have been leaving the freezer open at home just so I can wear my beanie around the kitchen and can’t wait to get back onto a cold environment just to have it close to my skull once again. Thanks for your love I/O Merino, we can’t wait to get comfy with you again soon”.
Here’s a little taste of what The Ice Run was really like…