Polar Ice Ride 2013 Day by day

# 1

20 January 2013
Ready to go…
Wheels will be used only when Sjaak reaches land near Inuvik, Canada.
Photo by: Ronald Brandsma BV, the company which did the electrical for the R1 and sledge.
PIR Klaar

25 January 2013
The Polar Ice Ride R1 and sledge are on their way to Alaska now.
Mainport Forwarding B.V. takes charge for the air transport and Van Veelen took care of packing.
PIR Packed

31 January 2013
Sjaak left from Amsterdam airport early this morning.
At 16.30 p.m. the plane will land in Anchorage, Alaska !
PIR Speech
Sjaak gave a short speech at the farewell party last Saturday. [26 Jan.] 

Logo PIR

1 February 2013
The customs lady in Anchorage remembered Sjaak from 2005 when he flew his bike out to Magadan in Russia during the world travel.
Like then, she was very friendly and helpful and without any difficulties the cargo, which was flown to Alaska by Mainport Forwarding got released.
PIR Customs Anchorage

1 February 2013
Thanks to the help of Yamaha Anchorage the Polar Ice Ride R1 and sledge were picked up at the airport.
PIR Yamaha Anchorage

5 February 2013
The first view on the polar ice near Barrow.
People say its much rougher than in other years!!!
Can he ride this…
PIR First sight at PolarIce

# 2

9 February 2013
The first ride in Barrow was a bit unaccustomed but went okay.
Luckily the ice north of Barrow is flat!
The first cold start will be tomorrow.
PIR First ride

12 February 2013
The first test ride with the sledge after a very successful cold start at -32ºC.
Tomorrow Sjaak’s plan is to ride to the ice, take the wheels off the sledge and do a test run.
A few more preparations need to be done and then the adventure will start!!!
PIR First ride with sled

13 February 2013
Yesterday, Sjaak got to see the polar ice at the point from where he’ll start the ride.
When he got there it was too late to take the wheels of the sledge and try it.
Because some very friendly locals who are helping him had a four wheel drive with them to pull him out if necessary, he went on the ice with the wheels on.
The wheels of the sledge where digging in the deep snow and got stuck a few times.
But it went much better than he had hoped for.

It looks very promising.
The R1 had no problems at all riding the terrain.
The big wheels rolled straight over it.

Today the plan was to tow the sledge to Point Barrow.
Due to ice in the fuel system and a coolant leak this is set to tomorrow.
PIR Ride

18 February 2013
First test with the sledge on the polar ice north of Barrow.
When Sjaak turns the bike the sledge wants to go in a straight line.
It resulted in hitting the ice/snow a few times. That’s why he is going to use a long rope between the R1 and the sledge during the Polar Ice Ride.
PIR Test ride on PolarIce

19 February 2013
Today the adventure from the northernmost point of continental USA to the southernmost point started at Point Barrow.
To get there Sjaak had to adapt the bike and the sledge to the climate and ice conditions. This was only possible thanks to his new friends who live here and who know this environment.
Clifford, Nelson, Michael, Jacob, Charles and others, thank you guys!
PIR Point Barrow
(photo by Michael Donovan)

# 3

21 February 2013
“Dear Polar Ice Ride Adventure followers.
A few days ago I succeeded in reaching Point Barrow, the northernmost point of continental USA.
After doing a few more preparations I will leave Barrow tomorrow 21 February 2013 and head in the direction of Canada.

Tests showed that the sledge and what I carry inside is far too heavy.
But I have good hope we make it. I’ll just start and see how it goes.
It’s good to know that if it really doesn’t work I can always get off the ice near Deadhorse, still about 500 km / 310 mi ice riding from here. From there roads lead down to Key West in Florida, the southernmost point of continental USA where my journey will end.

Until I get off the ice you won’t see me on Facebook. But the plan is to give daily updates via satellite phone which will be put on FaceBook and my website by my sister. Also YouTube videos will still be added by Clymer Repair Manuals.


All the best,


PIR Top of the world

24 February 2013
Unfortunately I had to give up on the first attempt. The sledge, fuel and all the luggage was far too heavy to pull. To get less weight I have send 80kg/200lbs by air to Nuiqsut, the first town where I can get off the ice and can go on the road system. Plan was to have a fresh start today. A severe weather alert caused another delay. Hopefully tomorrow afternoon I can go on my way.
PIR Fallen

26 February 2013
Every day there is something new that is withholding Sjaak from leaving Barrow and getting on the polar ice. After bad weather before, it was a coolant leak yesterday and today the generator which is necessary to preheat the bike failed due to dirt in the fuel system.
PIR Damage

3 March 2013
Yesterday the oil filter got so much pressure that it deformed and lost one litre of oil at once, before I could turn off the engine.
Another delay…

4 March 2013
The deformed oil filter.
PIR Deformed oil filter

9 March 2013
Dear Polar Ice Ride Adventure followers.
Finally the moment of leaving the Top of the World is in sight.
The wind which blows the snow over the ice will soon go down. This same wind brought movement in the ice on the west coast of Barrow and what was a thick layer of ice before, turned into open water over night. But I go to the east, together with Lioyd, a guide which I hired to escort me with his snow machine. Apart from bringing safety he could also tow my sled if necessary. This way I can spare my motorcycle which can barely pull the heavy load.
As soon as Lioyd gives the okay we leave from the Top of the World.
Will it happen this time?
PIR Open water

# 4

10 March 2013
Satellite phone message:

Covered 47mi / 77km in bird’s-eye view on the ice, today.
Final 6mi / 10km very difficult, took hours.

Coordinates of the spot where we sleep N71.01.938 W154.39.281
(Click map!)

Good to know…
PIR Search and Rescue

11 March 2013
Satellite phone message:

Had to replace oil filter again.
Still rode 24mi / 40km today.
Snow has hardened a bit now, but its a struggle.
Fell once today.
Front part of the R1 is now in tent to keep the engine ‘warm’.

Overnight stop at: N70.53.078 W153.35.345
(Click map!)

12 March 2013
Satellite phone message:

Covered 39 mi / 63 km in bird’s-eye view today.
Fell once.
Via the Harrison Bay we’re heading for Nuiqsut.
Hope to reach it tomorrow.

Overnight stop at N70.35.522 W152.06.290
(Click map!)

13 March 2013
Satellite phone message:

We made it to Nuiqsut!
But it was a struggle, fell twice and I am totally exhausted!
It is -27.4°F / -33°C as we go to sleep now.

Hope to get the axle for the sled and my other stuff tomorrow, so I can continue my trip on land!

17 March 2013
Today Sjaak put the sled on wheels behind the R1 and rode from Nuiqsut to Deadhorse.
Everything went okay!
Spontaneously he got invited at the MagTec Camp to stay overnight.
Tomorrow he will head south and if all goes well, cross the Attigun Pass.

Sponsors 2013 Polar Ice Ride