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Route Planning Where to go, when, what are the interesting places to see
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  #1  
Old 30 Dec 2009
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First post: Lisbon to Vladivostok, Magadan

Hello everyone! This is my first post, so I guess I should not introduce myself.
I should say right away that I am not a motorcyclist, but one of your two-wheeled non-motorized brethren. As such, I won't be able to offer anyone much advice, but I can say that if during my trip I see a motorcyclist in need of some help, I will return the good karma you guys give me here.
My name in Tim, and am planning a trip from Lisbon to Magadan. I know those two points are very distant from each other, which will leave everyone wondering why I have not added more detail. The truth is, it's because I don't even know where to start planning. When I look at the maps on google maps, I just don't see a continuous line connecting those two points.
I speak pretty decent Russian, and am doing this trip partly to hear people's stories- Russians tend to have interesting stories to tell. That is to say, I prefer to stay in areas where Russian is spoken, although when I look at the CIS map I see staying in Russia means making a big arc around Kazakhstan.
The Road of Bones between Vladivostok and Magadan does not even show up on google maps. Clearly, I am looking in the wrong places for maps.
A deep thank you for anyone who can help me out.
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Old 31 Dec 2009
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(quote)I should say right away that I am not a motorcyclist, but one of your two-wheeled non-motorized brethren. As such, I won't be able to offer anyone much advice,(quote)

I am sure that you would without doubt be able to offer some advice especially about what you see en route and places to stay etc, and perhaps the odd picture or two.
Good luck with your trip and I for one look forward to reading about your adventure.
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Old 31 Dec 2009
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HI Tim
Sounds like it will be a great trip and as for speaking Russian - that will be a big bonus.
I am still on my way home from a trip to Mongolia from England (I turned right instead of left when I left Mongolia), and so I assume I will have travelled some of your route.
Every country I went through from Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia etc onwards through the 'Stans were Russian speaking. In fact there was a lot of surprise that I was a foreigner who couldn't speak much Russian. So I think you'll have lots of practice.
I would really recommend the 'Stans as a route to Eastern Russia, and I met plenty of cyclists along the route who would agree with me.
You will definitely get lots of advice and information here.

Good luck
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Old 31 Dec 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uphiller View Post
The Road of Bones between Vladivostok and Magadan does not even show up on google maps. Clearly, I am looking in the wrong places for maps.
A deep thank you for anyone who can help me out.
The Road of Bones (now only known as Kolyma Highway in Russia) is a system of several routes between Yakutsk and Magadan. It is nowhere near Vladivostck which is a 4 hour flight to the south.

Our route across this area is shown maps on Sibirsky Extreme ยป Trip Data


We saw a couple of separate bicycles in Siberia (further west) and stopped for a chat. If it has 2 wheels you are my friend!
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  #5  
Old 31 Dec 2009
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no point bypassing the Stans ... as Tiff pointed out, they all speak Russian there. In Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan they speak Russian as the main language ... they speak it a lot better than their own languages. Uzbekistan and Tajikistan most people speak decent to good Russian and everyone speaks 'some' Russian.

At Kazakh borders for example, the border staff are unable to read their own Visas ... which are written in Kazakh and English ... so they will invariably ask you for your Russian visa. Not because they want to check where you have been or where you are going, but because they can read your details properly on the Russian visa, and they can not read it properly in Kazakh.

And as Tony pointed out, no point on the Road of Bones is even within 2000 miles of Vladivostok. Look North ... a long way North
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  #6  
Old 31 Dec 2009
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Guys, Thanks for the tips. Tony P- great site, beautiful pictures. How many river crossings were there? Was there always a ferry waiting for you?
How often did the cops stop you?
Did you ever face any dangerous people? I went on a very short bike trip near Moscow and had a near encounter with some dangerous types.
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Old 31 Dec 2009
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Tim I think between Walter, Tony & Tiff I'm not exaggerating when I say you pretty much have the world authority on the most interesting routes East.

If you are passing through Austria give me a shout.

Cheers

Jon


Last edited by everywherevirtually; 31 Dec 2009 at 18:28.
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  #8  
Old 31 Dec 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uphiller View Post
How often did the cops stop you?
Did you ever face any dangerous people? I went on a very short bike trip near Moscow and had a near encounter with some dangerous types.
This issue about cops is totally overblown. Don't speed or pass in a no-passing zone and you will hardly be stopped. If you are stopped, most of them will just want to chat. Other than in Bashkortistan (part of Russia), the cops I encounter in Russian are quite professional. If you don't break a traffic law, generally you don't have to pay any bribes. If you do break a traffic law, you can pay a bribe or pay at a local bank. There are exceptions, but its really not that complicated.

As for "dangerous people"--I put about 10k kilom on my bike in russia this summer (mainly within a few hours of moscow) and didn't have a single problem (unless you consider curious, friendly people to be irritating).

Re central asia--as walter's pointed out, they speak russian there, so your decision should be made on other basis: staying in russia is definitely easier from a visa/admin perspective, and some of the cities out that way are pretty cool (novosibirsk, omsk, krasnoyarsk, irkutsk, etc.), but the highway is pretty tedious and once you're in Siberia generally there is only one road, not much in the way of alternate routes (unless you want to go really off track like Walter and Tony!).
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  #9  
Old 31 Dec 2009
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Russian Road Police

Motoreiter (Hi mate!) is correct. Totally overblown these days.
It was all cleaned up.

On the Russia part of our trip we were stopped maybe 6 times. On each occasion they were just interested in having a chat. "Where from, where to" sort of stuff. Nothing ominous or agressive - just normal guys standing on the roadside, bored out of their trees, and probably wishing they were with us!!
Occasionally a quick documents check, but that is just a normal, standard thing on the Russian roads. It happened to me earlier today - in my car with local registration plates.

The only element of bribes these days is if you are at fault (and we know when we are!) is to quietly offer some cash instead of going the official route of surrendering your license, paying at a police office and waiting several weeks without driving, for the return of your license (an effective ban). As the acceptable 'offer' would be less than the official fine - why not?

In fact if you read our Blog you will see that several times the Roads Police were extremely helpful offering us their station as secure garaging, use of jet-washers, workshop facilities and ferrying us to hotels, restaurants etc in Police cars.

Dangerous people?
Not once have I even felt threatened in Russia. In fact I am less at ease in my local Hight Street in west London than anywhere I have been in Russia - and I have travelled the length and breadth of this vast country.
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  #10  
Old 2 Jan 2010
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I am relieved to know that Russia is a safe place to travel.
Can anyone tell me a place to get good, quality paper topo maps?
I know these are basic questions, but my knowledge is, well, sub-basic when it comes to trips of this size.
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  #11  
Old 2 Jan 2010
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Sibiria

Hi Tim,
I read your interesting message. I am also interessted in Stories . Last year I went to Wolgograd, actually to Stalingrad. It was very interested in the history told from elterly people. 2010 I want to go to Wladiwostock.

It is a way where we can ride partly together ?

Greetings retep
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