THERE are adventurers and there is Declan McEvoy.
His combined passion for motorcycling and his fearless sense of exploration have led the Quin man on many voyages across many harsh climates but this time he is taking things to the next level.
In March, Declan will attempt to ride 634km [394 miles] across the frozen surface of the deepest freshwater lake in the world, Lake Baikal, in the Russian region of Siberia.
While motorbikes and long journeys are Declan’s bread and butter his planned solo ice ride attempt will see him unite both, but with temperatures set to hit minus 30 degrees Celsius in the midst of the harsh Siberian winter, he is under no illusions ahead of the mammoth task.
While the idea has been at the forefront of his mind for a couple of years now, Declan’s decision to complete the journey as a solo motorcyclist took traction in recent months.
Following a planned expedition with two fellow motorcyclists, one from India and one from Lithuania, in 2020, Declan’s live in the moment attitude pushed him to bring the once in a lifetime trip forward.
Simultaneously they had intended, with the backing of Indian motorcycle company, Bajaj, to attempt the Guinness World Record next year but now Declan is gearing up all on his own.
“Who only knows what is going to happen in the space of a year?
“I thought about it a lot over the Christmas, will I won’t I revert to my initial plan of a solo ride and I spoke to my friend in Lithuania,” explained Declan.
“It was funny conversation because he said how are your plans going for your solo ride on Lake Baikal?
“I said I don’t know really because time is very little, I don’t have a motorcycle and I have no money.
“He replied to me as only Eastern Europeans would and he said ‘so far you have given me no reason why you can’t do this’,” he smiled.
“If you really want to do something you can do,” Declan added.
With this mind, Declan decided to go for it and he is just back from the UK where he purchased a motorcycle, which he is currently modifying for the trip.
“My biggest fear really is not being able to logistically get everything in place in time.
“Getting a motorcycle out to Siberia and getting everything prepared for the cold weather climate and doing all the modifications and even buying it [the motorbike] in the first instance is a lot of work to do in such a short space of time,” he said.
Declan recently brought the bike back to Quin but the preparation doesn’t stop there.
“There is a lot of work that has to be done for cold weather protection so that even the bike itself can survive.
“When you are riding by day, although it can be minus 20 [degrees Celsius] by day and minus 30 by night, but if you are riding at minus 20 at 50 kilometres an hour it feels like minus 60.
“So, the worry is, can the motorcycle perform in those conditions?”
Declan has to also think of the toll that the cold weather will take on his own body, and as he heads further north along his challenge, the more isolated he will get.
“I haven’t even had an ounce to think about what clothing I will wear myself.
“From previous trips I am very fortunate to have very good contacts all across Russia to help me with the logistics and one very good contact in Finland to help me with clothing, a guy who has got some really serious cold weather expertise in clothing.
“I need to go to Finland in two or three and link in with him for a weekend and get kitted out,” he said.
Declan McEvoy’s upcoming world record attempt is a result of many years of a love for adventure and an interest in bikes, which started at a very young age.
Despite this, family life took over when the Quin man’s children were growing up but his passion for motorcycling has been rekindled in recent years.
“I got back into it about ten years ago, had a colleague in work who passed away quite suddenly at 50 years of age and that was kind of the prompt.
“Your life is now it is not planned way off into the future.
“It prompted me to get back into biking about ten years ago,” Declan concluded.
The total surface area of Lake Baikal is 31,722 square kilometres.
To put things into perspective, the total area of the island of Ireland is nearly 85,000 square kilometres and the total surface of Lough Derg is just over 118 square kilometres.
Declan’s planned journey has never been completed by a solo motorcycle but it is expected that it may take up to 10 days to finish.
Following the trip, Declan will make himself available, at no cost, for a full year to local fundraising events in a bid to share his story and thank those who have made donations.