Saturday, 13 September 2014

Day 76 Friday September 12th Moscow

Nobody slept particularly well and we were all awake and ready to go at around 8:00am. We had arranged with the nice taxi driver from yesterday to come to the hostel at 09:30 so Geoff phoned him and he happily agreed to come over at 8:30 to take us to get petrol and then on to the baggage depot of Moscow's Yarkovsky train station.

So with 20 litres of petrol in green jerry cans and all our luggage we arrived at the baggage depot expecting to get a good "bollacking" from the staff who had insisted we take two of the bikes yesterday. We had brought a nice bottle of vodka in case they needed placating, but arrived at about 9:00am to find that the depot didn't open until 10:00am.

Geoff and Dave walked to the station to get coffee and breakfast whilst Paul and Frank looked after our luggage.

They returned some 30 mins later with coffee from a KFC and some kind of samosas made from meat and cabbage. Paul was complaining of a slightly upset stomach so declined breakfast.

The baggage people opened up the large doors at 09:50 and invited us in to dismantle the bikes from the crates they had been packed into. There seemed to be no animosity about not returning yesterday, and so we set about with a hammer and chisel loaned by them to dismantle the crates and packing.

Various parts of the bikes had been removed (the hand guards etc.) and all the brake levers and handlebar ends had been well wrapped in cling film type tape. After a short period we had the bikes free and had created a huge mound of wooden slats and packaging inside their warehouse.

The warehouse labourers offered to take all the packaging to the skip (right outside) for $50 but we declined as this seemed just to be a scam to make easy money from foreigners and so we said we would do it.

So each bike was then filled with 5 litres of petrol and coughed back into life after it's seven day train journey. The warehouse stood the height of a rail platform above the height of the road and the bikes had to be ridden along a narrow walkway area about 100 metres until there was a ramp where we could ride the bikes back to road level.

We then took all the wood and packaging from inside the warehouse to the skip.

After Geoff had completed the paperwork releasing the bikes the warehouseman called him back from across the road shouting "hey bike man"
And indicating for him to go back into the warehouse. He then pointed up the warehouse corridor to where Dave's bike had been stored, and there was a small amount of packing material still on the floor. Geoff duly went and picked it up, but it would have been far less effort for him to have picked it up himself than to have gone outside and shouted for Geoff to return to do it.
So with that simple change of attitude we didn't thank them or give them the bottle of vodka, but just took a picture of them instead.

The front tyre on Geoff's bike was flat but it seems that they may have deflated it to get the bike to fit into the crate because he managed to pump it up and it seems to be ok.

So we set off to the tyre depot to collect our tyres.

Moscow traffic is fairly hectic and there are frequent times when the traffic stops in a jam or whilst waiting for traffic lights. After about 10 minutes riding Geoff's bike again started to smoke quite heavily from the engine. We all just cut across about five lanes of traffic and parked at the side of the road to let the bike cool off and see what was the problem.
There was oil all over the top of the engine and we quickly established that the breather pipe that runs from the top of the oil reservoir to the top of the engine had perished with heat and was leaking oil straight onto the top of the hot engine. The pipe was the wrong kind and was just reinforced fuel pipe and not the heat resistant black rubber pipe it should have been. Paul had some ordinary plastic fuel pipe so we temporarily replaced it with this, and it stopped the smoking for the remaining 15 mins. of the journey.

As we neared the tyre depot Geoff's machete came loose from his bike and fell onto the road, when he went back to pick it up it had been run over by some heavy traffic and the false exhaust pipe used to hide the machete handle was squashed almost flat. The machete survived ok though.

The tyre depot was in an industrial complex and on entering Dave spoke to a large biker who knew exactly where we wanted to go. He then rode his bike through the complex to show us the way. At one point he stopped and spoke to a guard at a road barrier who then lifted the barrier and we all rode past. We would really have struggled to find the place without this bikers help.

The depot had our tyres and we worked alongside the two mechanics to jack the bikes up and remove the wheels before taking them inside the depot to have the tyres replaced using their tyre removal machines. All seemed to be going well until we came to Dave's bike and he had trouble again getting his tyres to sit correctly with the tyre beads on the rims of his wheels.

After much inflating and deflating of tyres, copious amounts of tyre soap, and huge belting with a cloth protected hammer the mechanics eventually got the tyres on correctly. We are all just praying that if someone has a puncture on the way back it is not Dave as we will certainly struggle to fit the tyres correctly again.

The mechanics gave Geoff some heat resistant hose for his breather pipe and he fitted this whilst everyone else was trying to fit Dave's tyre correctly.

By the time we had all got our tyres fitted it was about 3pm and Paul, Dave and Frank were keen to make some progress towards home and get out of Moscow before the traffic built up any more.

We all then went to a local petrol station to have a final communal fill up of tanks and we said our goodbyes.

It was strange after 76 days of being constantly in each other's company for us to be splitting up. We shook hands and hugged (as only men who have been naked in a Russian banyan can) and then pulled out of the station and went our separate ways.

We will next meet up back in Clitheroe when we will have a get together to share photos, videos etc.

So dear readers this will be the last blog of the Rooski Riders as a group. There may well be an epilogue when we share our return journeys from Russia.

From all four of us there is a big thank you to all the people back home who posted comments about the blog. These comments were eagerly awaited and made us all feel in touch with our friends and loved ones back home.

Thank you all very much!

There may be more later, but there may not!!


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


  1. Ahh... i'm filling up cant be the end.....thanks for sharing your experiences, it has been so interesting just to read about your adventures...hats off to you guys did it....when most people just talk included.Congratulations.

  2. Have a safe trip on the last leg of your journey. We have followed the blog avidly and really enjoyed it.Looking forward to hearing all about it . Sue and Geoff

  3. Thank you so much for continuing with this, and good luck for the final leg.

  4. Fantastic that you have shared your experiences and stayed together for the 76 day epic journey. Hopefully you'll all arrive safely back into Clitheroe and regroup. David C