On 15 May, a well-known Russian artist and bicycle traveller, Pavel Konyukhov, visited VSU. He told the university students and staff about his trips and adventures. Travelling is the greatest part of his life, and he is always glad to talk about it.
He made his first journey in 1983. He didn’t tell his parents where he was going. It was his elder sister who softly told their parents that they had got one more traveller in their family. Pavel Konyukhov made all his journeys (over 30 of them) on his bicycle. He visited over 50 countries, having covered about 200 thousand kilometres, and has crossed Russia seven times. So far, he is the only person who has managed to repeat the journey of Gleb Travin, a bicycle traveller who cycled along the Arctic Ocean in the 30-s – from Arkhangelsk to Uelen village, the farthest populated place in the East of Russia. He has crossed Australian deserts and the Gobi Desert, and reached the cold pole in Verkhoyansk (at –72°C) twice.
Trips to the North are a real challenge for any traveller. You should know how to keep warm and prevent chilblains, as well as how to prepare your bike and equipment.
“My friend and I both dreamed of reaching the North Pole,” – said Pavel. “But it is not that easy. First you need a lot of training on how to cycle on ice. So we decided to try on Lake Baikal. When we came to Baikal, the ice was not strong enough yet, so we had to wait for three days. After three days we took our first try. We stepped on the ice and it cracked. They said it was supposed to be this way. But the ice was too thin, just 3–4 cm, and it broke. I yelled to my friends to go back to the shore, but one of them fell into the water. The few second before he emerged on the surface seemed endless to us. We tried to pull him out, but it was extremely hard. It appeared he had his bicycle tied to himself so it would not sink.”
Despite all the difficulties, Pavel and his friends managed to cycle across Baikal’s ice and make a journey from Vladivostok to the Arctic Ocean.
In 1995, Pavel Konukhov together with one of his friends made a cycling tour around the world. They went through Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Russia, Europe, Africa, and North America.
“We went on this tour together with my friend, Anatoly Konyukhov. In parallel with them, Fedor Konyukhov (Pavel’s brother) went sailing around the globe. “Back then newspapers used to say that there were a lot of Konyukhovs, but only one globe,” – joked the traveller.