Archive for June, 2011

June
27th
2011

Border Crossing Bedlam


Border crossing bedlam

Despite the Tsagaannuur border crossing from Russia to Mongolia having been open for quite a few years now, there is still some confusion online about what paperwork is required to cross it and, crucially, if crossing by bicycle is actually allowed. Only a few days before we planned to cross the border we met cyclists who had heard you could cycle across with no problems both ways, or at least it was OK from the Mongolian side…maybe. – Posted by Justin

June
27th
2011

Russia By Numbers


Russia by numbers

A month of forests, cities and trains was followed by a month of mountains and rivers as we travelled from Sochi to Moscow, Moscow to Perm and Novosibirsk to the Mongolian border. While we’ve pedalled more kilometres through Russia than any other country so far, we’ve barely scraped the surface and this has given us a real sense of the vastness of the world’s largest country. – Posted by Emma

June
27th
2011

From Russia, With Love


From Russia, with love

We savour the last few days riding along the Chuysky track to the border town of Kosh Agach, and the go slow isn’t just because my rear wheel is a bit dodgy. The riding since the Altay Republic border has been through some of the most spectacular scenery of our trip to date, and we’re freewheeling on the last smooth tarmac we’ll have for a few months. – Posted by Emma

June
18th
2011

What The ‘thuck’?


What’s the ‘thuck’?

Blame the variable road conditions, our abuse of bicycles over the past 13,000 kilometres, or just bad luck but we’ve spent a lot of time repairing bicycles in Russia. The latest problem however, is a bit of a show stopper. Descending from our first pass in Russia, I notice a pulsing in my rear brakes and ease off them a little. Within a day, its an almost audible ‘thuck, thuck, thuck’. I’ve barely used my brakes in Russia, with all of our riding before the Altay region being in the lowlands and assume the wheel is a little out of alignment. – Posted by Emma

June
17th
2011

Riders On The Storm


Riders on the storm

Reaching the marker sign for the border of the Altay Republic was a real milestone for us and being invited to join group photos with Russian tourists we felt like minor celebrities for a few minutes. A short distance down the road we found a structure representing the centre of the universe for the Tuva people and stopped for yet more photos. Tourist sites have been largely absent during our cycling in Russia to date so having two photo opportunities in the same kilometre was a novelty. Little did we realise that the landscape over the next week would provide a constant excuse for photo-taking. – Posted by Justin

June
15th
2011

13,000 Kilometre Photo


13,000 kilometre photo

The awesome scenery in the Altay region almost made us miss the 13,000 kilometre mark as on 15th June 2011 we were just outside Onguday, Russia cycling along the Chuysky Tract. The previous few days had seen the flat forested landscape we had become used to change first into rolling hills and then into craggy peaks, sandy grasslands and rushing rivers. Like the 12,000 kilometre photo this one came up so quickly that we had to do a double check of our bike computers and trip notes to make sure it was correct. – Posted by Justin

June
13th
2011

Holiday Weekend In Chemal


Holiday weekend in Chemal

We are settled in for an afternoon in our first Russian campsite, located on the banks of Chemal river about 20 kilometres from Chemal itself. The spot we’ve picked has an picnic bench under a plastic roof and books are out, weird bugs are examined and the sweat of cycling has been washed off by a brief dip in freezing cold water. – Posted by Emma

June
7th
2011

Siberian Summer


Siberian Summer

The change in season comes upon us like a light switch turning on: the air is full of a snowstorm of thick white fluffy pollen which slips inside our sunglasses as we cycle, we switch to short-sleeve shirts, sunscreen and sunburn are suddenly concerns and along with the high temperatures come ferocious afternoon thunderstorms. We’d been hanging out for summer, but so was the notorious Siberian mosquito… – Posted by Emma