Russia-Scandinavia - solo riding for beginners

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by AlpineGuerrilla, Feb 8, 2012.

  1. *wookie*

    *wookie* Learning fast…

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    Excellent ride report!

    I'm planning a solo trip up to Nordkapp from London in May and I'm debating whether to get the ferry from Estonia to Finland and straight up, or head over into Russia and go via Murmansk. I think you've convinced me to consider the Murmansk route a bit more (has been 'Plan B' for a while). :1drink

    Your reports so far have answered a bunch of questions I had, but I'm wondering - what sort of fuel range do you think necessary for this sort of trip? My KTM 950SE craps out after about 120 miles and I'm looking into options for carrying more fuel but don't want to overdo it…?

    T.
    #81
  2. *wookie*

    *wookie* Learning fast…

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    Incidentally, I noticed a couple of inmates mentioned similar plans this year - I'd be happy to hook up for stretch (the Russian bit?) if anyone is up for it? Lemme know. T.
    #82
  3. mattt

    mattt Adventurer

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    :clap:clap:clap THANK YOU FOR SHARING :clap:clap:clap And I agree with everybody... you're video is just awesome !!!!

    (and I really enjoyed your ride in the italian-swiss alps !!!!) :super
    #83
  4. Doubleplay

    Doubleplay Been here awhile

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    Great report with awesome pictures.:clap
    Unfortunately spending some time in Norway myself I found it to be one of the most expensive places in the world.
    #84
  5. okoyote

    okoyote vigilant adventurer

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    Outstanding video!! I'm very jealous of your adventure. Well done!
    #85
  6. AlpineGuerrilla

    AlpineGuerrilla Been here awhile

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    Somehow missed your post the last time.
    It might be a bit obvious, but I love water and what it does to a landscape (or carve out the whole landscape for that matter). And there are a lot more pictures of water coming up.
    Appreciate your offer for staying with you, but I'm already at home, writing up last summers ride. I'm sure we would have had a lot to talk about. Maybe you are around Switzerland sometime? :1drink

    Thank you, it has been a lot of fun setting up the camera and reviewing hours of footage and relive the ride when I was home. Non-riding friends wondered why I would bother to put that effort into it. :lol3

    40 Pounds are probably average for a hut, only 'relatively' cheap. I too camped most of time, but after days of rain and cold, I'd pay for a bit for the luxury of warmth. But what's a Statoil cup? Google comes up with the handball world cup sponsored by Statoil. :huh

    I didn't think it's that much of an issue what bike to take. I love my SV and feel very comfortable riding it, both in terms of ergonomics and roadworthiness. I didn't know if I really am into motorcycle travel before I went on this trip (how could I doubt that?), so buying a dual sport or the like for one trip seemed a bit over the top.

    Although Norway is way more impressive with all it's mountains and landscape, my major highlight of the trip was definitely the russian leg. I would highly recommend taking this detour. Even more on a dual sport bike - you don't have to take the boring St. Petersburg - Murmansk "Autobahn" as I did. If I would go there again on a proper offroad bike, two things would be on the top of my list: Kuzomen desert on the Kola peninsula,the northernmost desert of the world and a trip to Teriberka at the Barents Sea. I met a few people on adventure bikes talking about a motorcycle meeting that is held in Teriberka in the first week of July.
    And of course, learn a few russian phrases, it pays off. :lol3

    Fuel coverage was my main concern when planning this trip, having no idea what to expect. I found this site listing all gas station, but not only directly along M18. If I remember correctly, the farthest stretch without any gas station (or other facility for that matter) along M18 was around 220km after Medvezhyegorsk (Медвежьегорск). No idea though what is the case away from the M18.

    One last suggestion: if you want to eat good and cheap Shashlik in Monchegorsk, here's a good place: http://g.co/maps/s5mfa

    There is an amazing ride report on here of some guys riding almost non-existent dirt tracks around Murmansk and Kola peninsula. Can't seem to find it right now, but it's worth a read.
    #86
  7. Tseta

    Tseta Lost

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    You are probably referring to either this excellent report by Donogh or this one by randel. In any case, both are worth a read.

    Cheers,

    Tseta
    #87
  8. AlpineGuerrilla

    AlpineGuerrilla Been here awhile

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    Both these reports are great reads and source for good information. Thanks for finding them. :thumb
    #88
  9. achesley

    achesley Old Motorcyclist

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    :clap:clap:clap Thanks very much for a great ride report and pictures. Super great video for sure. The only way I'll probably ever see this country is though rides reports and pictures such as yours. :clap:clap:clap
    #89
  10. wildy

    wildy The Highwayman

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    I was advised the first thing you do when you enter Norway is go to yout first Statoil petrol station. There you buy a statoil cup and lid ( around £20 pounds). This entitles you to free coffee for the rest of the year. In 10 days riding I drank about 50 coffees ( keeps you alert and keeps:1drink the cost down).
    #90
  11. AlpineGuerrilla

    AlpineGuerrilla Been here awhile

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    There is something about this air that makes me sleep like a baby. Or maybe it's because sitting around on your bike all day IS tiring after all. My sleeping-times are out of sync for a few days now, so it's noon when I finally get up. I hastily pack my stuff and hit the road. Too hastily as it seems, 200 km later I notice that I left my point-and-shoot in the hut. It's a tough decision, but I abandon it and decide not to ride all the way back through the rain. Since I just got my first DSLR, I hesitated to take it out and shoot a lot of pictures in the rain, hence not everything got photographed what I would have liked to from now on.

    Riding south from Larvik, I'm getting close to Finland. Town names are in both norwegian and finnish, most of the norwegian names are painted over.

    Crossing the border to Finland is easy. You just have to sit on your bike, hold on to the handlebar and ride like it's a normal stretch of road with nothing but signs.
    Because it is.

    In the border town of Karigasniemi I take a right onto a gravel road. I found this route somewhere on ADV when preparing, so I thought I should follow it. 120km through the nothingness of finnish Lapland along a calm river. A few houses seam the road in the Sami village of Angeli.

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    These gravel roads are different than what I've ridden before. With firm clay as foundation, this provides some surprisingly good traction, although the gravel on top keeps it interesting in curves. I try my luck a few times on straight stretches going over 100km/h, but give up when a local blows past me with a 4x4 at insane speed.

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    That looks quite good. :evil

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    Being not that much a fan of game, I still thought I should give Reindeer a try. And I'm surprised. Boy is this some good meat. :clap

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    Can you say "Fischers Fritz fischt frische Fische"?

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    A mandatory shot. Not that easy as I had to find out. Somehow they learned an important lesson: as long as you are riding past them, no matter how close, they don't care about you. But as soon as you stop, they sense danger and leg it.

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    Yes, that's how crossing EU borders look like. I'm not that much used to it, because the swiss borders are still being policed.

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    Heading towards Kiruna, Sweden.

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    My view from the camping spot. I almost forget how mosquitoe-infested this place was looking at the picture now.

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    Walking on this underground with bare feet is amazing. Somehow, a sea shell made it here.

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    Another day, and I am riding towards the coast again. Having had problems with adjusting the chain for myself, I look for a mechanic in Kiruna, but only car mechanics are around.

    On the way to the Lofoten, I follow two locals on sportbikes going slightly too fast. After a few minutes of following them, they aknowledge me behind them and wave me past. As soon as I am past them, they stick to me and seem to have fun chasing me. This is good. Adrenaline is rushing through my veins. Left turn, right, right, and left again. Getting closer to the asphalt and flying through the landscape, I feel alive.

    We part our ways at an intersection after about half an hour riding together. These two blokes were good travel companions, I think. Having never spoken to them, heck, not even seen their face, we wave goodbye like we knew each other for ages. :freaky

    This makes me realize, that the only words I spoke in the last days were to clerks at gas stations and in super markets. Having more than small talk is difficult, it really is a difference. Here I am only another tourist.

    Beautiful Lofoten. What is there to say?

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    The Lofoten are at the perfect latitude. Sunset fades seamless into sunrise. It's no wonder I can't stop riding, enjoying lonesome roads through these mountains protruding out of the ocean.

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    It's 4 AM when I finally decide to get some rest and sleep under the moon. This place is a dream.

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    #91
  12. Klay

    Klay dreaming adventurer

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    It does look like a dream.
    #92
  13. GB

    GB . Administrator

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    and it doesn't get much better than this :clap Thanks for sharing your outstanding ride, report and pics.
    #93
  14. IceCreamSoldier

    IceCreamSoldier suffering somewhere

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    absolutely stunning :clap
    #94
  15. wildy

    wildy The Highwayman

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    Fab pics. Reminds me of my trip to the Lofoten Islands last June. No doubt the jewel of Norway
    [​IMG]
    #95
  16. Saso

    Saso chronically restless

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    This one really captures what it's all about. Thanks for sharing your amazing trip.
    #96
  17. blitheringidiot

    blitheringidiot Regurgitated User

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    Wow! Many thanks!! :thumb:thumb
    #97
  18. Countvonaltibar

    Countvonaltibar Adventurer

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    Great trip & nice report, makes me want to ride in Russia!
    #98
  19. Schwer

    Schwer Adventurer

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    ... whoa.

    Every bit of this journey looks amazing. I'm going to be around Scandinavia around July this year and I might just give Murmansk a go.

    Might listen to some russian tapes first though :/.
    #99
  20. fonsecarlos

    fonsecarlos Adventurer

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    Fantastic.:clap

    Keep it coming