Inveterate dabbler in business, travel, gadgets & life

RCTC Russia tour Borisoglebsky to Uglich & The Volga

A good weather day with only a brief shower around midday and warm temperature we were on the road to Uglich for 10 hours or so but only riding for 4.5 hours to cycle the 53miles. Sergey’s rear axle snapped in two on his Russian bike and Alexander had a mishap which meant a short visit to Uglich hospital.

I slept OK on the very soft bed after my two White Russian beers. Breakfast was two fried eggs 4 small pancakes & bread and we left Borisoglebsky just before 9am. The road was tarmacced in a fashion some stretches of a decent surface but many patches of huge potholes 🙁 I found the huge variation interesting to ponder over their causes.

Our first pop up break was next to the van parked in a bus shelter layby after some food we then rode on too just outside Ulrika for another break and for a few of us a very enjoyable swim in a small lake interesting all the different water temperatures in the lake but overall only a two white finger experience so about <20C

Then we dashed up the hill to the very dilapidated monastery to escape the shower before cycling onto Uglich to meet The Volga, staggering to see so many tourists in such a small place all due to the huge river tourist boats bringing in the hordes puts our little group of 24 into perspective. We heard another recital with one of the group playing a massive balalaika, great singing but not in the sane league as yesterday’s soprano performance. This was followed by a visit to the totally rammed church overloaded with tour parties. Great to finally see The Volga which is pretty big here even though it has another 2000km to go!

The highlight of the day was a visit to the museum of unusual bikes where you can actually attempt to ride them very interactive and really makes you appreciate how straightforward modern bikes are with the invention of the freewheel & brakes!

A quick visit to the well stocked supermarket with its dinky trolleys and we were off again riding again across the massive dam where you could appreciate the large flow rate of the river and onto our overnight stay in two large wooden cabins.

The Strata is below pictures to follow eventually

RCTC tour – Voronino to Borisoglebsky

I woke upto a thunderstorm and heavy rain on this our first days cycling on the RCTC Golden Ring tour After my breakfast of porridge and what they called an omelette but more like a slice of cake in appearance it was time to reassemble the bike.

There seemed to be a lack of urgency of opening the van as Vladimir was hoping for the rain to die down – which it duly did. I assembled the bike OK apart from having to slacken the rear brake blocks.

We managed to get away just before 10.30 after the obligatory group photo – with everyone clamouring to get the guy to take one with their camera 🙁  One great use for social media is to have the group pics uploaded to a central site.

initially the ride was a little tough quite hilly on wet sand/gravel with lots of unknown depth puddles. I was pleased to have my knobbly tyres on and on my ancient Schwinn.

We arrived on the very decrepit tarmac road – even worse than the UK before going down a gravel lane to see our first church of the day near Ishnya, unique in this area as it’s more of a Finnish design built of timber with no nails in the 1700’s. Also nearby is an Interesting well still in use with a capstan & bucket – delicious taste too.

Over the level crossing we soon reached Rostov and its stunning Kremlin with its highly decorated churches we listened to an amazing soprano & two male singers under the dome truly brilliant and moving. I will try & Post my crude recording here at some point.

We had an al fresco lunch in the neighbouring car park and my first taste of Kvass soft drink it’s yeasty odour immediately bringing back childhood memories of eating yeast.

Then a short bit along Lake Nero to yet another huge church this one in active use!

A dash of 20km or so on a busy road bought as to Borisoglebsky (quite apt as our Boris resigned today) a quick ride around another dilapidated church and we made it to Hôtel Kobyet.

loads of photos & rubbish internet means photos not here as yet 🙁

Strava says 30 miles at 11.1mph




Transfer to Voronino

i awoke to the sound of heavy rain, fortunately today was spent in a minibus with trailer driving the 140 miles to the Voronino country estate.

A leisurely start at 12.17 due to Finnair deciding the Norwegian guys luggage was needed in Helsinki rather than Moscow! But gave me time to part assemble the bike so I could leave the box in Moscow.

The ride was mostly on motorways, very smooth, apart from the torrential downpours. Interesting to see they use the hard shoulder for undertaking (pun intended). Halfway we had a cafe stop where I was introduced to the delights of sweet pancakes filled with quark and a thick yogurt topping with a black tea, very yummy.

The others seem a very interesting bunch of people so perhaps the tour won’t be as bad as I anticipated.

Tonight we are staying on an old nobles country estate which was recently re-purchased by an ancestor of the pre-revolution owners as we learnt from a tour of the place. Also discovering the huge significance of the St Gotthard pass in Switzerland for the Russians. The estate Is now called Hôtel Usad’ ba

Tonight’s meal was excellent apart from the small portion size.Tomorrow is the first riding day :-)Some pictures of the day are here

Another adventure starts

Well the adventure had a poor start as whilst waiting for the airport taxi at 7am I discovered my flight was at 8.35 not the midday I thought 🙁 with many expletives muttered I finally got through to BA to change my flight for Sunday at huge expense.

I decided to go to the airport anyway & arrived in T5 at 8.30 and went straight to the ticketing desk where the helpful guy said I could get on the next flight at 10.55 and since their system hadn’t fully registered my earlier change he would just make one charge 🙂 one slight gain from this mistake is he checked my bike in thus avoiding the huge queue at the regular check in desks and also gave me a seat on the emergency exit row.

The flight was uneventful apart from the meal being just an eggy bun! Immigration in Moscow was very efficient and speedy with the bike soon appearing,. Boris the driver from RCTC who are organising my first week on their Golden Ring tour, was waiting for me and after a brief stop at Megaton to get a data SIM (1300 RUB for 30GB) and to hit the cash machine Max 5000RUB a time of we went.

The ride was one hour on beautiful smooth roads, in fact the Moscow circular seems to have 5 lanes, we arrived at the Maxima Irbis hotel.

The hotel is good and I enjoyed dinner sitting with Ian & Catherine from Skeggy who are also doing the ride Next Week.

Hopefully some pictures will appear here