Start: Obninsk, Russia
End: Moscow, Russia
Elevation Gain: 2222ft
Elevation Loss: 2294ft
Reading Material:Ukraine: A History, 4th Edition – Orest Subtelny
Audio Material: Russia: The Wild East – BBC4/Martin Sixsmith
Moscow is the biggest metro area I approach on this tour and it lived up to expectations today. The day began with a drenching from some remnants of yesterday’s storms. Luckily, cloud cover remained for most of the morning keeping temps somewhat reasonable. Stopped for a roadside instant coffee from one of several small stands right before the urban sprawl began.
The approach to the city started a good 30km from the center — makes sense for a metropolis with 12M people. And, then the traffic started. Nearly 15km of full-on stopped traffic until I crossed the inner Garden Ring. At least on bike, I was able to make better time than many of the cars, but it was still an insane ride. At one point in a massive merge I got a bit squeezed between a car and a truck. They knew I was there, so didn’t risk getting completely squished but first time on the trip when I got to actually rub shoulders with the vehicles.
Biking in the city itself is not much fun. Bike culture has been increasing in Moscow, but the city is full of 8 lane roads with no stop lights or intersections (pedestrians cross underground allowing the cars to move nonstop…I guess this counts as pedestrian friendly but it’s not a very bike friendly way to build a city). Dodging cars and several times getting off the rig to play frogger crossing these massive roads, I eventually made it safely to my place on posh Novvy Arbat.
I’ll be here several days exploring Moscow before riding off to do part of the Golden Ring and then aiming north to Saint Petersburg!