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  #1  
Old 3 May 2008
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Riding in Moscow?

This isn't really an "adventure" question, but wanted to find out if there are any riders based in Moscow here?

I'm moving to Moscow this summer and am trying to decide whether to bring my GS. I used to live in Moscow and know about the horrible traffic and crazy Russian drivers--is it nuts to ride in Moscow? Also, where do people keep their bikes?

If nothing else, I'd like to have the bike for road trips outside of Moscow, but still would like any feedback on people's experience.
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Old 3 May 2008
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There are increasing numbers of bikes daily in Moscow as the congestion gets increasingly worse. The principle problems are -

Lane Swapping. Russian drivers do not heed lane markings and will suddenly change as it suits them without regard for what is behind them.

Undertaking. As above, overtaking is carried out on either side.

Black 4x4s. Overbearing sence of self-importance and disregard for law, manners and other road users or their lives. Often they are security/protection/bodyguards who will not allow anyone to get between them and their 'boss'.

Police Spot Checks. A pain, but these are usually just document checks.

Non awareness. In Moscow there is no awareness of bikes because they are rare - but as numbers grow this might improve. In deep country areas bikes are more usual and accepted as equal road users.

Speeds. Despite speed limits and police with radar guns (a $20 bribe usually works) speeds on main thoroughfares are often well over 80 mph - when not at a standstill. With overtaking on all sides and old Ladas going at 25mph in any lane.

But assuming you are a competant experienced biker I would get a bike. Fit larger, wide vision mirrors, and keep up with or go ahead of the flow!

I ride there on my summer visits but use a car in winter, but I have seen a very few on the road in winter once the snow is cleared - but the roads are not cambered and flood with rain and snow-melt and the chemicals which they apply to cause it. Filthy and probably corrosive.

All bikes are seen - Japanese, European and Harleys (although their dealership, among the Jewellery shops of Kutuzovsky Prospect, disappeared last autumn). Sports bikes, Chrome Cruisers, Adventures. Even scooters are growing in numbers, but I would query their use because of insufficient speed.

As everywhere, bikers are friendly and very helpful - you will find some on these threads.
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Old 3 May 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony P View Post
Lane Swapping. Russian drivers do not heed lane markings and will suddenly change as it suits them without regard for what is behind them.
...
Black 4x4s. Overbearing sence of self-importance and disregard for law, manners and other road users or their lives. Often they are security/protection/bodyguards who will not allow anyone to get between them and their 'boss'.
...
Non awareness. In Moscow there is no awareness of bikes because they are rare - but as numbers grow this might improve. In deep country areas bikes are more usual and accepted as equal road users.
Yeah, these are exactly the things I am worried about.

I'm ending a trip in Germany in July and think I'll leave the bike there till spring 09 so I can get settled in Moscow, find a place to keep the bike, etc. Then I can ride from Germany to Moscow, so that will be fun.
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Old 4 May 2008
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Tony,
reading you, i feel like living in another city you go to Peterburg and see what decades of no lane marketing did to people. here in Msk
drivers just look for the fastest lane and dive into it if there's space but they DO drive IN A LANE! nowdays i think 7 from 10 drivers use blinkers and this manouvre is easy to predict.
of course there are some strange things like the fastest usually is right not left but imagine you're in England. the same goes for overtaking - we overtake on the suitable side, where there' s space for it - but this mostly works on speedways or more-then-4lane. on minor roads without middle barrier ( sorry for incorrect word) traffik hardly differs from central european style.
police - inside Msk cheks are so rare ( once a season ?), and mostly at the city exits.
black jeeps( we call all big 4x4 a "jeep") - i really CAN'T say they bother anyone. you do not wait a bear to behave like a cat - so big cars drive in a different style,that's all. so do motorcyclists here.
awareness: do not hesitate to use horn and loud pipes. if you go with a car speed, behave like a car, if not - go 20 miles faster and no need for mirrors when filtering better go as left midlane as possible. drivers do see and expect you there. right lanes demand much more knowlege of national mentality.
i can't say deeper in the country drivers a more loyal to bikers - there we are much fewer and slow trucks with almost not seeable blinkers turn left without looking in the mirror. there are hazards on country roads too, they are just different. Msk is the best place in countru for riding. by style it's like Paris - laws are for courts, roads are for living people.
if your bike is in Germany you'd better ride it from there to Msk. normally it's 1 day route on perfect roads but i'm not sure in Belorussian visa for an american. in the end of the summer alternative route is a pleasure: poland- lietuva- latvia- estonia - peterburg- Msk. if going fast it will take 3 days. not so big pleasure but very useful for understanding Russia - enter Rus from Latvia. this "federal" road now is the worst asphal track on the continent but no problem for GS. me and my man going there for next week-end so if interesting i'll show pics after.

we have strong BMW culture here, thanks to perestroyka cult of bavarian cars. look at Автодом | Клуб BMW Motorrad you'll find official club there and links to official workshop (mind Avtodom is not the only BMWmoto dealer)
and a heap of non-glamour GS riders in Pikasso bar.
we russians have a saying " the devil is not so frightening as people draw him". i think all the hazards will deminish when you see them with your own eyes.

Last edited by motobelka; 4 May 2008 at 14:11.
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Old 4 May 2008
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motobelka,

spasibo za Vash otvet!

I lived in Moscow from 1994 till 2000, and have been back a couple times a year since then on business, so I've seen the traffic in Moscow; your description makes it sound like it's become less chaotic, but we'll see...you make it sound positively civilized!

Where do people keep their bikes? Just in the dvor, or is a secured lot mandatory? I don't know where I'll be living yet, but somewhere in the center.

Thanks for the info on routes b/n Germany and Moscow; I haven't really focused on this, but I'd like to make a vacation out of it, rather than just a 1-2 day ride. Depending on when I do it, I was thinking about taking a route from the south, but through the Baltic would be nice to.

Looking forward to meeting some of the other riders once I get there.
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Old 4 May 2008
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six years is a long period i have a feeling you won't be lost in our traffic
keeping a bike is a question. mostly people use secured garages or parking lots. as you settle in a center all will depend on a house type. if old stalinka there may be all dvor secured (if small enough) by a locking bar. if it's a modern builing you'll have an undeground parking and no headache at all. if anything else - find a closest secured parking lot.
before choosing adress get aware of traffic coordination with your place of work - as i told before much has changed and old routes may have disapeared.
yeh - talking to russians try not to use any form of word " civilised" talking on any aspect of our country's life. replace it by "western-style" or even better "european-style". in modern situation americans have to be very accurate in speaking - at least not to be involved in a loud and long discussion on bush's anti-terrorist policy.
better talk about i-phones and apples next gadget with gps tracker and bikes of course.
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Old 4 May 2008
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Motobelka - Hi (again!)

Reading your post and mine I think we are saying the same thing but from different background experiences. I do fully agree RUS drivers use the blinkers approach and although they generally do it well, it is not good for confidence.

I rode my bike extensively in RUS last year (16,000Km+) including 3 weeks in Mos and 1 in Peter. I was stopped by well over 30 Police checks, including 4 times in Mos, although at the entry/exit points. My chief worry, in a car or on a bike, is still Kuntsevskya Prospect (outside our flat), Robloskoe Schosee and similar 'big' roads. It is the Porsches, Ferraris. Lambos, etc racing each other in traffic, weaving violently across all the 5 or 6 lanes (in each direction), at speeds at times well in excess of 160kph. It is not good, being on a bike near them.

My experiance of Avtodom is not good. Nearly 3 days for a booked interim 10,000k service and new tyre on a F 650 Dakar. No courtesy transport to a metro station - I had to walk to a bus 1 km away. When they eventually rang saying it was ready I was told the cost was 23,000pyr (£460) - when I got there it was actually 26,500 (£530). I rode off down the Mkad (M25 type ring road) to find the clutch was slipping due to badly adjusted cable. Grrr...

I am back to your town later next month, probably coming by bike again, so I hope I can meet up with your 'club' as we discussed a few weeks ago. I will send a PM to you nearer the time.

Motoreiter.
Don't be put off by our descriptions. As long as you are a competant, observant and anticipatory rider you will be fine.
Biking beats the hell out of other forms of transport - anywhere in the World. And Moscow is (to me) now the most exciting city in the World, even beating Manhattan - and that is saying something.

Last edited by Tony P; 4 May 2008 at 20:34.
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Old 4 May 2008
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helloTony!
you're absolutely right we look at the same tree from the different sides. been to many ex-republics i can honestly say Msk is a mainpoint of civilisation on post- soviet territoiry (excluding Baltic states in some ways) in this very american sense of the word.
as a totaly local driver i can say there's nothing extraodinary about weaving across 5 lanes - i do it regularry on a commercial van and so far (six years on a big car)crushed only one gazelle truck. i wish i had a lambo....
avtodom is just another official service - if you want the job well-done get closer acquaintance with anyone in the house. or stick to another place Multipass | Мото | Техпомощь they'll leave the cable loose for noticably less sum.
the difference in price told and given is usual in any aspect of services in our country. normal rate is 10-15%. transfer from service to metro?? avtodom clients do not use metro, sorry, they have those black4x4 waiting for them. no joke. remember bimmer cult.
if you'll need tires don't call mediators, 'cos they call my husband he personally is motorezina.ru
what's your work here?

this route Kremlin-N.Arbat-Kutuzovsky- Roublevskoe schosse is "no-traffic-lights government road". it has a 'no limits" reputation. it's really hard to spot a ferrary anywhere else but there and inside Garden ring. but two days ago i saw one on a First Concrete ring going rather moderatly. may be because there is only one 4meters-lane in each direction.
besides my dacha will be renovated by the end of the month(crossing fingers!) come on a bike, i invite you to shashlik&crimea wine party .
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Old 8 May 2008
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motoreiter

hello there get in touch with the night wolves motorcycle club in moscow they will see you alright and maybe find a place to leave your bike at there clubhouse.if your really lucky you maybe be invited to stay with of the families and experience russian family life give it a go i stayed with the night wolves in kazan and was told they had a place in moscow good luck i had been to moscow but just stayed in a cheap motel just on the outskirts then travelled in to the city by bus ,then had a ride around the city when i was leaving,an amazing city .

Last edited by parko; 8 May 2008 at 14:13. Reason: spelling
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