Joy of Cobblestone Cycling

Cycling Mania,Travel Notes — Tags: , — Антон Марчуков @ 20.12.11 0:20

One problem that a rider feels on a road bicycle is racing on the surfaces other than smooth asphalt. It seems that the only solution for this problem is to buy a more appropriate bicycle. But there is another way that is not that traditional and intended only for fanatics.

Rheinradweg really surprised me with diversity of surfaces. Besides trite asphalt and not less trite ground there is a plethora of different surfaces ranging from smooth panels up to round and not so round cobblestones. Feelings from tightly pressured slicks riding on such a surface are similar to a visit to a sadistic dentist equipped by an industrial perforator. The pain is everywhere and the gel is not a helper. You really feel what the guys riding Paris–Roubaix or the Tour of Flanders feel.

But at the road end when you sense that you did not brake and that your bicycle did not brake either the real feeling comes. The feeling of a great pleasure. Only due to this pleasure one need to do a cobblestone ride on a road bicycle. And now lack of smooth asphalt does not sound like a big problem to me. Since I want to return to that hardest cobblestones in order to complete them one more time. On a road bicycle of cause.

Flight Lappeenranta – Weeze by Ryanair with a Bicycle

Cycling Mania,Travel Notes — Tags: , , , , — Антон Марчуков @ 07.08.10 1:44

Can small town with just ten thousands of inhabitants attract millions passengers per year? Yeah, it is possible. Especially when such a town has an airport used by discount airlines. Due to this reason we arrived to German town Weeze.

Irish discount air company Ryanair launched a regular connection between Finnish town Lappeenranta and German town Weeze on March 2010. Lappeenranta is about fifty kilometers away from Russian town Vyborg. This means that it is quite easy to get there from Saint Petersburg. Even on a bicycle if you use a commuter train from Saint Petersburg to Vyborg. I think this alternative can even make a competition to a car when there are queues on the border.

Round trip flight including transportation of a bicycle was just €126 when booked ahead (€45 passenger fare plus €80 bicycle cargo). I have noted no major damages to the bicycle after the transportation. The bicycle has been packed to a standard transportation bag produced by the PIK-99 company. Additionally using rods and strainers I have fixed a rudder the way it does not move freely, also I tied previously removed front wheel to the frame. One needs to be prepared that the bicycle will have to be fully tunned after the transportation. This will most likely include things like tightening wire ropes and steering. In order not to pay for the second baggage item all the camping gear and other items have been put to a rag bag and taken as a cabin baggage. All things that are not allowed to take to the cabin went out in the bicycle bag along with the bicycle.

I need to say that Ryanair has quite a restrictive baggage allowance policy. This is a side effect of discounted airlines. Such restrictions can be loosen by additional payments. But since I did not want additional payments I took the restrictions into account when staffing the things. I counted that everything should fit into a bag with 55сm x 40сm x 20сm dimensions and weighted no more than 10 kilos. Of cause I also counted that something will go along with the bicycle in one bag that has a limit of 30 kilos and higher dimensions. Even if a bicycle would weight 15 kilos, there are 15 more kilos for useful stuff left. However, I tried to lower the amount of things traveling along with the bicycle since I worried to soil or damage them (a bicycle is big, made of iron and has lubricants).

We took trains from Weeze to the Constance – a starting point of our route. Happily a group railway ticket makes such travelling not that expensive at all although with lots and lots of train changes. Such a route direction also makes sense. It is more convenient to ride from the Alps down than the opposite. Those are relief peculiarities.

Weeze has another attracting point besides the airport. A semaphore railway signalling is still in use there.

Rheinradweg Cycle Route Done in its Two Weeks Extent

Cycling Mania,Travel Notes — Tags: , , , , , — Антон Марчуков @ 02.08.10 15:13

Last two weeks from Jun 18 till Jun 29 a group of five cyclists including myself completed a part of European cycle route Rheinradweg along the Rhine river from Konstanz to Köln. The route went along Germany, Switzerland and France. In total we cycled slightly more than 1000 km from Lake Constance to Westphalia region. This equals to around 100 km per day.

Such a route when going by the official cycle way may impress one by variety of different surfaces and steepness of curves. The surface easily changes from smooth asphalt to stones and wet dirt after the rain. Constant curves and artificial barriers right across the cycle way do not allow to keep the rate constant. But, there are also long descents where one can relax and rest. Definitely recommended to go on a race bicycle as part of preparations to the Paris–Roubaix race competition.

Along with restoring my mind I will do a set of additional postings regarding the different aspects of the route.

Synoptic Approach Weather Forecast for Saint Petersburg

Cycling Mania,Travel Notes,Yachting — Антон Марчуков @ 29.06.10 14:58

Are you tired of raw data from different numerical weather prediction models? Short-term weather forecasts for Saint Petersburg made by a synoptic approach are available on the web site of the Russian State Hydrometeorological University (in Russian):

Погода в Санкт-Петербурге. Прогноз погоды в СПБ от РГГМУ (Российский государственный гидрометеорологический университет). Официальный сайт погоды.

314 km: Vyborg — Hamina — Luumäki — Lappeenranta — Vyborg

Cycling Mania,Finland — Антон Марчуков @ 06.05.10 23:21

Last weekend consisted of three days due to holiday here. Those days have been spent on a short and calm cycling trip 314 km long following the route Vyborg — Hamina — Luumäki — Savitaipale — Taipalsaari — Lappeenranta — Vyborg.

The weather on Monday was nasty with 8 m/s head wind and rain of different power over the day. Before the trip I bought winter cycling trousers and jersey from Aktivitude collection by Biemme. Italian winter cycling wear fits our spring season well. It was almost never too warm for me. And same for too cold besides the stops. But it looks like that for stops one needs to take additional wear. WindTex layer worked sufficiently well against winds and the rain. Probably it still lets more rain and wind pass through than with classic membrane wear, but it is not notable during the ride at all.

Cycling Season 2010 is Open

Cycling Mania — Антон Марчуков @ 07.04.10 1:38

Last weekend we made a small cycle trip from Vyborg to Finnish frontier town Lappeenranta, opening the cycling season of 2010. Asphalt is already clear of snow and ice, it is well possible to cycle a road bicycle.

First time of this year we made just a little, around 140 km in total for two days. In some inexplicable way we met Finnish friends near the Biltema shop. This changed our plans a little and to the better alternative. Looks like Lappeenranta is that small town that everybody visits the same shop on weekends making it a nice meet point. Big thanks to Tommi and Susanna for hospitality!

Weekend Cycle Announce Vyborg – Lappeenranta

Cycling Mania — Антон Марчуков @ 21.08.09 17:02

We are cycling to Finland Etelä-Karjala region this weekend Aug 21 – Aug 23. Starting from Vyborg late evening today, crossing the border tonight at Nuijama and camping round there to have a sleep. Over the weekend we will be around Lappeenranta and get back to Saint Petersburg late on Sunday.

Sine I changed my cell operator to TELE2, I am quite happy with the roaming prices and thus will be available on my usual Russian mobile listed on my web site. Anyway I am not sure if my Sonera sim card is working or not. Also I have one tyre half cut, but hope I will get to the Biltema shop on that and the rubber solution I applied yesterday will help that too.

Порезал Schwalbe Stelvio

Cycling Mania — Антон Марчуков @ 02.08.09 11:45

Еду вчера и чувствую некую вибрацию в заднем колесе. Подумал что прокол, остановился, посмотрел, прокола нет и поехал дальше. Некая вибрация продолжала ощущаться. Более внимательный осмотр показал, что умудрился я где-то порезать покрышку Schwalbe Stelvio аж оба слоя наружного компаунда, правда не по всей ширине, но тем не менее.

Прикол в том, что она при этом не прокололась, так что где я так умудрился порезаться я не знаю. Такое ощущение, что наехал на нож. Покрышку придётся менять. Думаю купить такую же, в части езды по шоссе они меня полностью утраивают, да и впереди покрышка жива, так что купить нужно будет только одну. Однако, судя по всему, Stelvio уже не выпускается и если в продаже она не найдётся, то, видимо, буду брать какую более новую Schwalbe из выпускаемых на оба колеса.

Зеленогорск – Приморск

Cycling Mania,Travel Notes — Tags: , , , , — Антон Марчуков @ 28.07.09 1:08

Мысль проехать по приморскому шоссе от Зеленогорска до Выборга через Приморск зрела давно и в прошлое воскресенье была воплощена в жизнь хотя и не в полном объёме. Маршрут завершился в городе Приморск.

Приморское шоссе реконструируется и транзитный проезд по нему закрыт. Проехать там вполне можно, что мы благополучно и сделали, преодолев на шоссейных велосипедах около пяти киллометров грейдера. Уже реконструированные участки дороги представляют собой гладкий паркет проложенный по живописнейшим местам Карельского перешейка. Для тех кто не в курсе я поясню, что приморское шоссе проходит по берегу Финского залива. И хотя от берега шоссе отделяет небольшая полоса соснового леса, но воспользовавшись одной из многочисленных тропинок можно попасть и на песчаный берег залива.

Вид на Финский залив возле пос. Зелёная Роща

Возле озера Высокинское же дорога идёт по возвышености, благодаря чему с неё видно не только сам залив, но и лежащий в низине сосновый лес. Если всмотреться вдаль, то видно остров Большой Берёзовый, траверз которого проходит недалеко от данной точки. Достоинство места подтверждает и расположенный с другой стороны дороги створный знак.

Вид на Финский залив возле оз. Высокинское
Створный знак возле оз. Высокинское

Ещё до озера, у посёлка Озерки расположен знаменитый маяк Стирсудден (Stirsudd). Маяк построен в 1872 г. по приказу адмирала флота великого князя Константина. В годы самодержавия на маяке скрывался сам Владимир Ильич Ленин. Маяк неоднократно разрушался, но всегда отстраивался заново. Маяк действующий, обслуживается военными, что должно быть понятно по наличию звезды на решётке входных ворот. Ворота в сочетании с окружением выглядят довольно готично.

Маяк Стирсудден
Ворота маяка Стирсудден

Cам Приморск (Koivisto, он же Björkö, он же Берёзовое) успел побывать и частью Швеции и частью Новгородской земли, частью Московского княжества и частью Финляндии. Пожалуй, основная достопримечательность города – Лютеранская кирха св. Марии Магдалины, построенная в готическом стиле финским архитектором Йозефом Стенбеком (Josef Stenbäck), автором кирх во многих финских городах.

Приморск, лютеранская кирха св. Марии Магдалины

Lyhyt matka polkupyörällä Ylämaalle 28.06 – 29.06

Cycling Mania,Travel Notes — Антон Марчуков @ 27.06.08 14:52

Matkareitti: Viipuri – Lappeenranta – Ylämaa – Vaalimaa – Viipuri
Ajankohta: 28.06 – 29.06
Osanottajat: ,

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