Cycling Moscow And Beyond

Taking a break from the bikes in Russia | Phillip Williams
Taking a break from the bikes in Russia | Phillip Williams

Choosing Russia for a cycling tour may not be the first option for a lot of people. But this intrigue is exactly what sparked traveller Phillip Williams to make the Moscow and Beyond Guided Cycle his latest trip. Here he shares his experiences of cycling a country so rich in history, culture, nature and mystery.

Unexpected encounters while cycling the Russian countryside |  <i>Phillip Williams</i>

Why did you choose Russia?

We chose Russia for cycling because it provides insight into a different culture and political system. We wanted to experience something that is different to the other popular European countries which we feel have become too crowded and overused by tourists.


How did you prepare for your trip?

We prepared for the trip by reading novels about the history of the country and by watching documentaries. It helped us to understand what to expect however having a guide for a week was so much better.

 
Getting to know the locals in Russia |  <i>Phillip Williams</i>

What was the cycling like in Russia?

 

The cycling was challenging and invigorating - not so much in a physical sense but we weren’t prepared for the variety of surfaces, landscapes and surprises we encountered.

 

Visiting Moscow's iconic Saint Basil's Cathedral is a must |  <i>Phillip Williams</i>
Much of the ride was flat as we followed the path of the wide Volga River. It was very pleasant cycling along dusty tracks through majestic wine forests while listening to the ever present cuckoos.

At one point we had to ford a small river by wading through waist deep which was unexpected but exciting.

We hardly came upon another soul on the rides when we were in the countryside, apart from villages. We liked the feeling of remoteness and peacefulness.

 

The Russian cycle trail has some surprising encounters |  <i>Phillip Williams</i>

How were your local guides?

 

We stayed in very good hotels in small cities. A highlight was a city tour each morning with our Russian guide. We learnt so much from them.

We’d begin riding mid to late morning so there was no pressure to be out of bed at dawn, ready to jump on bikes.

Our guides were knowledgeable, understanding and helpful. We were sad to see them go when the tour ended. They went out of their way to make our trip comfortable and memorable.

 

The local guides are cycling experts |  <i>Phillip Williams</i>

What were your trip highlights?

 

There were many highlights.

We painted Matryoshka (traditional Russian Dolls) and visited the Centre of Education for the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Along the way we’d stop at small churches to admire the onion domes, icons and beautifully kept structures - all pretty special.

 

Taking a break from cycling to paint Matryoshka (traditional Russian dolls) |  <i>Phillip Williams</i>

What were the meals like?

 

We ate everything presented to us. We loved the different grains used in Russian cuisine: buckwheat, barley, millet.

We made and cooked Russian pasta and pelmeni (dumplings). Plus we ate lots of potatoes because we needed them after our days in the saddle. There were plenty of salads and vegetables too.

 
Crafting your own delicious pelmeni (Russian dumplings) |  <i>Phillip Williams</i>

Which part was the most challenging?

The most challenging thing for us was the language but we found many people, especially young people, anxious to help if we were stuck.


Do you have any advice for future travellers?

It was a trip that gave us a unique perspective on Russian life outside of Moscow and St Petersburg. We are very happy to recommend this tour to our friends. I’m sure there will be more trips to come.

 

Russian cow herder causing traffic on the cycle trail |  <i>Phillip Williams</i>
 
>> Find out more about the Moscow and Beyond Guided Cycle
>> Learn more about Guided Cycling Tours in Eastern Europe

 

 
Russia, Cycling, Guided, Eastern Europe, Cycling Holiday, Moscow

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