Russia-Scandinavia - solo riding for beginners

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

  1. AlpineGuerrilla

    AlpineGuerrilla Been here awhile

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    Thanks Ghostyman and to everyone who followed and took part in my report. :thumb My next trip was to the Balkans, and I just started the ride report here if you're interested.
  2. pumpe3

    pumpe3 lazy Swede

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    Great RR, nice pics and nice movie. About the Statoil cup it's a coffe cup you buy for 199NOK and then you fill it up for free att Statoils in Norway.
    And I don't think you missed so much with not going to Sweden (or Finland, Finland eastern part should be nice have'nt been there yet), Sweden is nice and cheap by Norwegian standrads, but Norway what a sight.
  3. MustTourEurope

    MustTourEurope Adventurer

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    Very entertaining...and hat's down for taking so much pictures (read: hardwork):wink:
  4. glenn2926

    glenn2926 Been here awhile

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    What a video!! Quite possibly the best ride report video I have seen. You have a great way of telling a story and your photography is very very good. You seem to have an eye for what will make a great image. If you enjoyed your ride as much as I enjoyed reading about it then it must have been brilliant. Once again thanks for the report.

    Glenn.
  5. Rutabaga

    Rutabaga Been here awhile

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    You are good. Very good. Thanks for all your fine hard work in putting that ride report together.
  6. Direktor

    Direktor Been here awhile

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    Great RR! Hope I will do similar trip this year! Any rider to join?
  7. Dilligaf0220

    Dilligaf0220 Miserablist

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    Great RR from an accessible (more or less) part of the world that doesn't seem to get much attention.

    The Northern part of Scandinavia & Russia always remind me of Northern Canada where I spend so much of my time, so much so it almost seems familiar. We even have our own nickel mine that has poisoned a good part of the landscape over the decades, so much so when the US was getting ready to go to the moon they tested the Lunar Rover there! I can almost smell the pine & spruce and hear the bugs! :lol3

    [​IMG]

    I am jealous of Noraway's roads now, but not their taxes.

    The SV has a funny depression on the front cylinder head where the plug is, it collects water and kills spark plugs. But you've found that out already. :lol3
    The fix is easy, coat the front plug & spark plug boot with dielectric grease. It is a common problem with SV's.
  8. Rango

    Rango Phaneropter

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    Congratulations on a very entertaining report. You brought back some fine nature pictures from Norway, artcard quality.

    Along your report a sentiment came across of not having enough interaction with locals. Comparing to ride reports with intense local contact learns that it often is triggered by an ailing motorcycle. Yours proved most reliable, would you consider a trade-off? :wink:

    Your final remarks were a good addition to the report. All of them. And indeed, how to answer "how was it" but with "have a seat, it may take a while!" :1drink
  9. AlpineGuerrilla

    AlpineGuerrilla Been here awhile

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    Cheers guys, thank you for all the feedback. :thumb

    That's a very interesting thought. Reliability is important to me, but reading this, maybe it wouldn't be too bad if something actually broke and I needed local help. Touch wood.
    The sometimes missing interaction was at times deliberate - I enjoyed the solitude and freedom on this trip. The experience of having the possibility to take every turn, both in thought and the real world, really opened up a lot for me.

    Interacting with people is something I am practising since and maybe one day I can overcome feeling uncomfortable taking pictures of people. :norton
    Very good comeback, I will use it if I may. Being ready for this question (and the short answering time) after the second trip, I prepared a few anecdotes I would tell interested folks. For example, border crossing stories always get a chuckle from guys not familiar with this kind of travel. :D
  10. Mika S

    Mika S JC & MC: Double Freedom

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    Great adventure, great report! :clap Are you a professional photographer? You've got the eye!
  11. Mika S

    Mika S JC & MC: Double Freedom

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    Which maps did you use? :ear
  12. AlpineGuerrilla

    AlpineGuerrilla Been here awhile

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    Thanks Mika. :norton I'm not anything close to that, no. I wish. In my opinion, taking some decent shots has a lot to do with knowing your camera, taking lots of pictures (so you can sort out 90% before showing them) and analysing pictures (taken by others) you like to find out what caught your attention and what makes that picture what it is.

    One of my favourite web comics, Abstruse Goose, has a strip that summarizes the second point:

    These are excerpts of those two maps I bought in the store of the Russian National Library at the Nevsky Prospekt.

    (sorry, only a bad low-light cell phone pic, no camera at hand)

    [​IMG]
  13. Mika S

    Mika S JC & MC: Double Freedom

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    Thanks AG, this is very helpful! PTL for cell phone cameras! :rofl I'll use your pictures when I go and visit the shop at Nevsky Prospect. (I'm actually in St Pete now and planning to make a short trip to Karelia in June.)

    I like maps, too, you know...

    I agree on what you say about an analytical look at other people's pics (and your own I guess). Yes and I also believe you're right about selecting pictures out of the mass (funny comic you've got there :lol3). But it's still necessary to have an eye for the composition and light and what ever there is that makes a great shot.

    All in all, I've enjoyed your story and pictures, not forgetting the video. Thanks! Ride safe!
  14. 2eddies

    2eddies playing in Telluride

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    AG, Thank you for taking the time to do this report. I agree that travelling alone heightens the sensibilities...it also seems to make great ride reports even better. The photos and videos are first class. Enjoy the Balkans and Armenia! I hope you continue to take us along on your future trips...:clap
  15. white_bear

    white_bear Adventurer

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    I am planning a trip from Cologne, Germany to Vladivostok, Russia. The actual route has not been set through europe, and after the Urals, you just point the bike east until you run out of land. Departure date is around 1 June 2013.

    So far, I have not decided on any particular countries to get to Russia, but I think I will avoid Belarus. Ukraine and Russia will be some pain enough all by themself. Some stops along the way are fine, with a fixed date of 30 June/1 July to be in Vladivostok. The bike will be stored in Vladivostok or shipped back to Moscow.

    My partner has decided to bail out so I am looking for any riding partner(s) for all or any portions of the trip. I expect motel/hotel in western Russia and more camping the farther east one goes. I have a Suzuki DR650 and will not be a speed demon. I would expect a daily 600-675Km/375-425Mi per day average to go the distance. The general route would be to follow the Trans Siber Railway.

    If anyone is interested in the trip or parts of it, PM me with email address. I speak English, pretty good Spanish, and beginner Russian. I can get along on signs, map, and the Moscow Metro. After that, it is cave man talk...

    I hope some are interested, I will try to post a ride report and spot tracking as well. Whatever you think, this will be an adventure for someone from USA, and create memories.

    Comments?? Advice?? Whatever... :norton
    wb
  16. motoree

    motoree Been here awhile

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    Awesome report and video, me likes.:thumb
  17. thoopla

    thoopla n00b

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    great report. i've been trying, badly, to arrange something like this in east europe/russia with a mate for ages. is this route still good? when's the best time of year to go?
  18. WimDH

    WimDH Adventurer

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    Hey Thoopla,


    I'm going to do more or less the same in 2015.
    My plan is to go in July for about 30 days. I think it's the best period.
    You can choose between snow and mosquitos, I chhose the mozzies ;-)
  19. Ugur Bilgili

    Ugur Bilgili TB2BBL

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    Nice trip, thank you for sharing.
  20. AlpineGuerrilla

    AlpineGuerrilla Been here awhile

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    It's been two years since I went on this trip and every time I see someone posting a reply I'm rejoicing. Thanks again for your numerous replies and kind comments (although I'm a rare poster :D).

    About the time to visit... Between June and August you have to be really unlucky to see snow.

    I am in Murmansk as I'm writing this and my friends here told me that the last summer was pretty bad; even in July the temperatures only rarely rose above 10°C. On the other hand, this summer the north has been hit by a heat wave and since I'm here, it has never been colder than 20°C. :D

    So while the general advice would be that July usually is your best bet, there's no guarantee at all.

    Another factor for some is the polar day, when the sun never sinks below the horizon. In Murmansk, it's from 18 May to 24 June. I arrived later and, frankly, it's not really a difference, since the sun sinks behind mountains anyway and it's still bright now at midnight. But of course, by the end of August, it will get dark and cold again by night.


    Regarding the mosquitoes, don't think about bringing stuff from your home. The karelian mosquitoes just laughed at my spray from Switzerland, I just rubbed myself in what they thought to be spices. Buy the real stuff in a Russian shop, like рефтамид (Reftamid). It's the military formula and is available in chocolate taste (:rofl), but it works incredibly good. Also spray your clothes and socks, because otherwise they bite through it!

    In comparison to two years ago, the main road M18 between Piter and Murmansk is getting better and better. There are still a few dozen kilometres of bumpy roads and road works where it's only gravel, but pretty much every bike can handle it. So enjoy your trip to the north! :-)