Well, we’re back in Newcastle after a fantastic mountain bike tour in Russia. It was different and eventful but we love the unexpected and we were pleased to have had perfect weather.
The ride itself is not onerous - its nearly all flat but the surfaces are varied - dirt roads, sandy tracks, grass tracks, mud, rocks, pot holes, corrugations. We passed along the river banks, river flats, pine forests, country roads, villages, some bitumen and cement. We forded a thigh high river with Sasha carrying the bikes for us above his head. On one or two occasions we departed from the city so had some cars and trucks to contend with but it was done with care and very safe. Otherwise it was just us - hardly saw a sole during the day. We covered between 35 - 45 kms a day on good sturdy mountain bikes with front shock absorbers and disk brakes.
Accommodation was excellent, the food was good and the guides (there were 3 Russians for 4 of us) were fantastic. Natalia, who owns the company and plotted the route was energetic and enthusiastic and she came along because the other couple with us were German and she speaks that language. Sasha, a nice young man looked after Marie and I and we learnt quite a lot from him about history, tradition, culture and present day Russia.
Of particular note were the guided tours through many of the cities and towns we stayed in. We did not expect that - we even painted Matryoshka Dolls in a small traditional factory. Each morning before riding we walked to significant places, visited museums and heard about the history of the town/region. It made for some late starts on the bikes and that was different for us because we are early morning exercisers.
To improve things, and I will be mentioning this to Natalia, it would have been good to have had more snacks, particularly fruit along the way. We’d have liked to have known the day’s arrangements, including expected times for lunch and finish. We often felt that we didn’t know what was happening. But maybe that’s just us in our Western organised ways. When I mentioned it to Natalia she said “Phil - this is Russia!” so we accepted it and went with the flow.
Overall it was a unique and excellent experience. We would recommend it to anyone interested in this sort of thing
Thanks again Michele.
Phil and Marie Williams
__ Our Answer _____________________________________________________________________________
Dear Michele and Kate, Dear Phillip,
thanks for the feedback!
In the review from Bruce from Australia I have already left my comments about our plans for 2020.
And note that when Phillip has been here (he was with Marie in May), already in June and July for our groups we tried to offer a large selection of fruits and vegetables.
We are learning fast! But unfortunately, we still have to «fight» with the roads.
But maybe this is not the main thing?)
Kate, I want to thank you for the wonderful page on your website - «Cycling Moscow And Beyond» that you dedicated to our tour!
Also in 2020 we will release Brochures in English and German, which will contain maps, a description of the tour program with attractions. Every morning a group will have a briefing! Thanks Phil for your comment!