Mother Russia

Yamaha XT 600 in Omsk, Russia

Blimey, what a week of riding. I’ve decided to try and cane it through Russia, and I’ve made it to Omsk this morning. This is to the detriment of the bike, though. While trying to bypass some trucks on a gnarly stretch of road I took the soft verge. However… These new tyres, while fine on asphalt, are shit in wet mud and I went down like a sack of spuds and bent my shiny new $11 handlebars that I got in Ukraine. Oops. There is also an unrelated grinding noise that sounds bad. Hopefully it’s just the chain slipping on the old sprockets. I’m going to use my time in Omsk to try and source a new set of sprockets (and handlebars) and hopefully that does the job. Worst case, I think, is that I can order the parts and have them shipped to Irkutsk. We’ll see.

First, beer. It’s a nice day and it makes a change to be in a hotel that has a proper bathroom. I’m now clean(ish) and sat outside a bar in Omsk. Nice.

Russia is odd. I’ve slept the past five nights at truck stops and that’s proved cheap, tasty (goulash) and great for laying down the miles. Very much ride-sleep-ride-sleep-repeat. It also seems a place of contradictions. The people seem nice enough (as everywhere) but they are paranoid of theft. Even at the cafe/bar I’m sat in now, I had to pay for my food before they would even prepare it.

Needless to say, I’ve left the bike in the secure parking area at the hotel.

Goulash is the only Russian food word that I know, but it seems to work at all truck stops, and it’s what the truckers seem to life off, so that works.

A curious observation through the broken conversations that I’ve had here is that England/UK/GB is a little-known place. Even saying ‘London’ when they ask where I’m from can return a look of befuddlement.

Anyway, rather than try to get to Vladivostok really early, I’m going to spend a couple of days here and catch my breath. I actually fancy going for a ride right now, even though I pushed over 600 miles yesterday over 14 hours of riding.

Fingers crossed for getting the bike sorted over the next couple of days. I suspect the bike would make it to Irkutsk, but I’d rather be at a higher level of confidence with it and have this grinding noise gone!

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