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We've reached the city of Chelyabinsk, and officially crossed in to Asia!

Unfortunately, the only member of the team who bothered to learn to read Russian script also happened to be the slowest climber - thus, by the time I reached the top of the pass and the admittedly ugly monument, the other two were already halfway down the other side. Fortunately I also learned to use the 10-second timer on my camera!

I'll also confess to experiencing some frustration with this Russian OS and this website. Posting pictures just takes time that we really don't have. Trying for at least one, though; a little big, but I guess it works?

Onwards in to Siberia!



We've reached Kazan! And are currently enjoying a much needed day of rest. This entails a hotel room, extremely long showers, having our laundry done by chambermaids (with some pieces being done in the bathroom sink with handsoap since I forgot to fish them out of my bag before the maid took the load) and sleeping indoors in actual beds. Meals at restaurants, discussions with waitresses greatly amused at our pitiful Russian vocabulary, and, time on the internet!

Tonight we bid farewell to Sasha, who, after an extremely trying week of cycling, is headed back towards Moscow. 90 cent beers and sausages should do quite nicely.

Tomorrow, we hit the road, and head east, where hopefully the Ural mountains will provide a break in the otherwise mundane and repetitve scenery!


The objectives of the Russia Crossing trip include:
1. To cross the largest country on earth using human energy alone.
2. To raise awareness about environmental and social issues primarily by demonstrating environmental integrity (i.e. cycling).
3. To use various communication means readily available in Canada and abroad to disseminate information and thereby raise awareness about the trip and its environmental and social cause.
Donate a bike
Please consider a
to get a bike for African health care workers to speed up delievery of ARV drugs to HIV/AIDS patients.
The goal is to raise money for the Kona Bike Town project. 100% of donations will go to the Kona Bike Town project.
We decided to support this project because it has social as well as environmental aspects. We greatly appreciate your support in this cause.
Note: This post will stay on top. For news please read below.
Raised:  1 bike


Little short story about these last few days...
I left Ottawa airport, the 5th august at 22.50
The fact that I had a bike did not seem to pose a problem. The baggage handler did not even ask me to take off the wheels or the pedals. I did not have to pay an extra fee.
Arrival at London, Gatwick airport. I did not feel the urge to visit London... I saw it in the past, and not particularly attracted to the city. I decided to spend a bit of time in Gatwick airport.
It was my first time actually in Gatwick airport. It is a cahotic and disorganized airport.
The waiting line for security was extremely long. Forcing people to take ONE bag in the plane is also once again a trademark of the british trying to be "different" with their special rules.
One bag meant for example that if you were a lady and had a purse and a cabin baggage you were only authorized to take one of the items inside...
For myself it was a hassle, considering that I had two side bags on my bag with my main belongings in them. Even though they were very small... I had to choose one.

Giving the bike as a baggage was not very easy either. The airport staff don't seem to know the rules, and it changed from one person to another. From taking of the pedals, to wrapping it in plastic or cardboad... I really got everything.
On top of that they made me pay an extra 20 pounds for the bike.
When I called air Baltic they told me I could take it in wihtout having to do anything to the bike... but at Gatwick it was a whole different story.
Therefore a lot of hassle and going around with a bike and all my bags in the airport.
The staff is not friendly, the airport is a mess and their english is not clear. 🙂
I am glad I did not stop in London even though I had plenty of time.

I arrived in Riga (capital of Latvia) at night. I received my bike with flat tires. Good luck finding a pump at 11pm.
English did not seem to be the second language... and it was quite hard to find a gas station... So I did a lot of walking before an Armenian guy told me where to pump my tires.
Sunset in Riga

I visited Riga the tomorrow (Sunset in Riga)

Tallinn, Estonia

Next day was visit of Tallinn, capital of Estonia (picture of the old town in Tallinn)

St Petersburg, Russia

The day after, I was in St Petersburg, visited various places such as The Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood for example (picture above).

Going from Tallinn to St Petersburg was quite of a shock... while in Estonia (Tallinn) they knew ~some~ english, in Russia (St Petersburg) virtually no one was talking English... the charachters are cyrillic and you don't see any roman charachters .... other than brand names.

Sunset in St Petersburg

I managed to get around and visit St Ptersburg quite well before deciding to take the night train to Tver (~200km from Moscow) to meet Zack and Damien. Picture abvoe is just before taking the train to Tver.

Thanks !

Thanks for these guys ! Otherwise I think I would have spent the night trying to find the correct train and correct ticket. The three on the left (Ivan, Najeeb, Ivan) helped me all along, and Vladimir (left) joined after. They helped me with tickets, where to go... and they even help me put my bike in the train (a lot harder than what you can imagine).

The train was going St Petersburg -> Tver -> Moscow. In my wagon there were four beds. Two girls were going to Moscow... but they once again helped me a lot, because one of the girl put her alarm to wake me for Tver, she also helped me take out my bike and bags from top... so many thanks to her.

On the road

Once in Tver, meeting with Zack and Damien was quite smooth (as my previous post) and we started to head to Moscow (picture above, with Zack heading to Moscow).

We stopped at about 30km, at one of Zack's dad friends (Sergei). Thanks to him for hosting us for a few days.

Visited Moscow (pics to be uploaded in the future).

At the time I am writing this we are way past Moscow.... but it's a bit hard to write, upload pictures... Not enough time, but not always full admin access with the computers.

But I do write on my notebook what is happening every day(interesting things 🙂

So maybe in the future in Canada...


Firstly, we've reached the city of Nizhny Novgorod, some 400km east of Moscow. We're stuck here for the moment dealing with some mechanical problems. Our current goal is to reach the town of Chelyabinsk (the "stereotypical Russian industrial hell," according to an unnamed source!) on the other side of the Ural mountains in the next 9 days or so, so that Sasha can say he officially crossed in to Asia before he has to depart.

In other news, we're delving a little further in to Russian cuisine! Larger towns boast Western-style supermarkets, but the smaller ones have only small shops in which all the goods are behind glass. This means that we somehow have to communicate with the shopkeepers what food we want. Different strategies have arisen to overcome this problem of communication.
I point, say "That" in Russian (Etat? technically there are 3 or 4 ways of saying it depending on masculine/feminine/etc but I only know the one) and will occasionally try to read the label out loud, with horrible pronunciation.
Damien points, gestures and grunts, which is kind of funny to watch. Sorouche merely smiles sweetly and waits for the shopkeeper to get frustrated enough to let him behind the glass so that he can take what he wants ad leave.
Our typical diet consists of oatmeal, pasta, bread and cheese, however we're now exploring local produce (berries, cucumbers, tomatoes, apples and plums) as well as the occasional roadside cafe (the best quarter chicken I've eaten, that I can remember).

Anyway, we continue to inch across the continent and have managed to remain healthy and happy, if not clean! Next we head for the city of Kazan.


Well there is this project called "Kona Bike Town".
You can donate a bike to African home health care workers. The bikes will aid home health care workers in the delivery of ARV drugs to HIV/AIDS patients in a variety of African countries.

We believe in this project because not only it improves people social life, but it also improves the environment.

If you are interested to donate a bike please head to


Tonight we pick up Sasha, and tomorrow morning the 4 of us leave Moscow in the dust and head East! Seriously far east. You don't even know.

Sparing any longer commentary on what Moscow is like (my opinion, in short: not as nice as St. Petersburg), I'd instead like to acknowledge two individuals who've helped us immensely:
Firstly, Richard Wright, webmaster of (safe for work, I think?), who found us at a low point outside the post office in Tver. An expat Canadian, Richard provided us with a meal, a shower, and a place to sleep while we waited for Sorouche to arrive, (as well as some much appreciated English-speaking company!) which I consider to be enough of a "sponsorship" for a shameless website plug.
Secondly, Sergei Severinov and his family, for allowing us to stay at his dacha outside Moscow these past few days. To be able to park our bikes and leave our stuff outside the city (and not have to ride in through traffic) has been an incredible boon and quite frankly I don't know how we would have dealt with waiting for Sasha had he not been there for us.

I guess it goes to show, friends find you when you need it most, although I imagine that this saying will be truly tested as we enter the more remote regions of Siberia.

That should be all for a few days at least. Unless my lazy teammates decide to sit down and write something. Roughly 6 or 7 thousand kilometers to go!



Alternate title: "I cycled the M10 from St. Petersburg to Moscow and all I got was this splitting headache from exhaust fumes and hearing trucks pass me by literally 24 hours a day."

The road from St. P to Moscow has been....rough. For most of its length, it's a 2-lane highway - the pavement is reasonably good, but it's narrow. Highway 7 North of Toronto might be an apt comparison. However, the volume of truck traffic along the road is more akin to what you'd see on the 401.

Trucks, trucks, constantly with the trucks. The only thing more noticeable than the trucks themselves were the countless flowery memorials placed along the roadside to commemorate drivers who weren't fortunate enough to survive the M10 traverse. I'm glad to be off it.

One skinny highway between Russia's two biggest cities - it's a logistical nightmare. Yet it seems in Russia, as in North America, truck transport, despite how dangerous and inefficient it seems, is being encouraged and growing. They have trains here, don't they?

On a brighter note, we've connected with Sorouche and arrived at our base outside Moscow! Here, Toronto could use a serious lesson in public transport - a comfortable 1-hour train ride in from the distant suburbs costs a mere 2 dollars, and the world-class subway system, with over 100 stations, costs about 70 cents for a one-way trip.

Anyway, my point is that there is a better alternative to highways and driving everywhere - and in terms of public transit, we're really not doing very well at all in Canada.

(Check the galleries for pictures, finally!)



Well I think this will be my last post... soon we will be able to post under Team... since in a few minutes I will be meeting with Damien and Zack !

(I was going to write something about the last few days ... but I have to abort since I have to go meet them 🙂



We made it across!

The border crossing (which, as Damien has reminded me, was preceeded by an 8km lineup of trucks) was completely uneventful...a breeze, even.

We rode from Ivangorod, at the border, to St Petersburg in one afternoon. Made for a bit of a late arrival, but all's well.

The Russian countryside is interesting....the first little ways almost reminded me of Sudbury - very remote, wild, northern looking forests and fields - however every now and then, you'd catch a glimpse of a huge factory, crane, train station, or run-down bridge on the horizon.
As we approached St. Petersburg, conditions became more pastoral, with small towns farming towns every 10km or so. Lots of jars of berries, potatoes, and mushrooms for sale on the side of the highway.

The suburbs of St. Petersburg were actually sort of nice - old, elegant apartment buildings, all kind of run down and overgrown, but still lively - big parks, lots of traffic.
We descended a hill (from the top of which the Nazis supposedly directed the siege of Leningrad) into the city proper. Apparently all cities everywhere have a long, straight stretch of ugly highway, flanked by shopping malls and McDonalds (Here spelled out phonetically in Cyrillic).

The city itself is quite stunning - it actually seems to gleam in the sunlight. I've never seen anything like it. We must have arrived on some holiday - sitting in a downtown park, we saw no less than 7 separate wedding parties celebrating outdoors - horns, smashing champagne bottles, releasing doves, taking highly co-ordinated photographs - quite something.
A very stylish place. THe metro, which seems to be 500m underground, is lit with antique fixtures and chandeliers, and is suprisingly easy to navigate. It makes Toronto's look dirty and provincial.

One other notable is that it seems perfectly in order and normal to walk down the street or sit in the park and drink beer. Or stronger.

In any case, we leave for Moscow tomorrow morning, and should arrive within a week or so, at which point more updates will flow?