From Moscow to St. Petersburg By Bicycle
It takes simply 4 hours to get to St. Petersburg from Moscow by high-speed practice, a pair extra hours by automotive, however what about 16 days by bike? Twelve volunteers, primarily Muscovites, completed their 1,100-kilometer expedition on the Hermitage museum final Sunday. This journey wasn’t the primary one in Russia’s biking motion, however has a possible to turn into a turning level for the nation’s bike tourism.
Vladimir Kumov instructed The Moscow Occasions that all of it started when “I used to be invited to have lunch with Varvara Melnikova, the director of Strelka Institute, who requested me if I used to be able to cycle to St. Petersburg.”
The 35-year-old Kumov is a traveler, bike activist and Let’s Bike It! founder. In 2010 he established this non-commercial group to advertise city biking and advocate for a biking infrastructure in Moscow and Russia. For this journey he stated, “The purpose was to drag collectively a fully numerous group —from a newbie to an expert bicycle owner. Take fully totally different bikes and see how all of them do,” Vladimir stated. The venture was initiated by the Moscow primarily based Strelka KB consulting firm and sponsored by Millhouse firm and Rostourism (The Federal Company for Tourism). Kumov discovered all his fellow biking vacationers via social networks and buddies.
On the group’s final assembly in St. Petersburg, the individuals shared their impressions. For Yuri and Natalia it was a honeymoon journey, though they weren’t certain in the event that they have been going to make it. “I am most likely an instance of a small, fragile woman, who by no means wears sneakers in her unusual life, however who can really cycle this route,” 24-year-old Natalia stated. “For me it was very profound to commune with nature, as a result of we spent so many hours outdoors. With each little leaf we felt autumn coming and watched timber turning yellow. It was merely superb!”
Anna Kuzmina, 29, works at Yandex and is a Let’s Bike It! Activist. She was additionally actually moved by nature. “I went loopy in a great way from the sky on Seliger Lake within the Tver area. We jumped into the lake after the banya. I felt I used to be swimming in an area with stars above and round me, reflecting at midnight water,” Anna stated. Though she admits that there have been tensions within the group and folks needed to be very affected person with one another, she stated, “In the long run, you bought used to being very open and speaking candidly about your personal wants.”
Athletic Alexander Ganzer, 32, was a bit pissed off with the sluggish individuals. He wished the common pace would have been 15 kilometers per hour as a substitute of 10. His most vivid reminiscence was the 182 kilometers bike day between Veliky Novgorod and Siversky settlement. That was considered one of his best experiences, he stated. “I additionally appreciated that folks opened up and did not put on masks,” he stated. “It is very cool to get to know one another progressively. And we had two pretty unplanned conferences: one with the banya grasp Albert on the Stary Sig visitor home, and the second with Zinaida Ivanovna within the Leningrad area,” he stated. The cyclists simply requested her if they may decide a few of her apples, however the hospitable babushka invited them in for tea.
However it wasn’t all enjoyable. The individuals had a listing of complaints: Russian roads, heavy visitors, mud, sand, dangerous service and hostility to cyclists. Strelka KB urbanist Andrei Yelbayev regretted not with the ability to do correct sightseeing in cities. He stated the route supplied church buildings, nation mansions, pure sights, historic cities, World Battle II memorial monuments (each Soviet and German), troublesome terrains, and a few bizarre and sudden websites like a brightly ornamented fence or a cheese farm within the Tver area run by an Italian expat. “I believe that bell towers have an enormous potential as remark factors,” Yelbayev stated. He additionally famous that many areas lacked vacationer info, snug relaxation stops, or simply appear to be very uninteresting. “It might be nice if sooner or later the route might be landscaped and stuffed with land artwork by well-known or native artists,” he stated.
Representatives of Strelka KB made it clear on the assembly that their venture was simply starting. The principle a part of their analysis, fundraising and planning for the route can be held over the subsequent 5 years. Ilya Gurevich, the pinnacle of Velopiter biking motion, was moderately skeptical concerning the future. Gurevich, a tour information with 20 years’ expertise, has cycled from St. Petersburg to Moscow 5 occasions. “However I’ve to confess — I didn’t need to. I used to be pushed by teams of British and French cyclists who requested for the tour.” All the identical, the biking veteran supplied his assist, noting that nationwide bike routes are self-sustaining and assist the native financial system.
For extra info on the venture and route map, see the website.