You come riding into a town, pull over, get out your maps and try to sort out where there might be some accommodation. A guy pulls in beside you, has no English but gesticulates enthusiastically and we do manage to ascertain that he also has a motorbike. He implores us to follow him and within 5 minutes we’re at a good value hotel in the centre, and he says he’ll be back in an hour.
Him and all his mates and their families that is! After a few too many Pivos (beer) it’s agreed they’ll pick us up in the morning for a country picnic and some 4 wheeler fun. Thank goodness one of their group has some English! We mention that Chris’s bike needs a rear tyre and they say don’t worry they’ll organise one from Moscow – just a mere 500 kms north,
Next day is a wonderful family outing and we all try our skills on the 4 wheeler versions. Takes a few more Pivos before the courage levels are higher enough to test the limits though. Then it’s back to one of the families’ homes for BBQ’s shaslyks and … more Pivo.
By 10 pm we’re delivered back to our hotel. Next morning the group turns up on the motorbikes – R1s, Blackbirds and all many of sporties – to provide the riding escort out to the road to Volgograd. And what do you know – we’re presented with a new tyre for Chris’ bike..
500kms later we’re riding into Volgograd and another couple of sports bikes draw up and gesticulate enthusiastically. You guessed it – another escort to a hotel for us and the process begins again.
Motorcyclists the world over are a brother(sister)hood. But here in Southern Russia it is on an altogether different level.
Thanks to Evgeny, Andreev, Natasha, Kate, Olga, Igor and their friends (all of whose names I can’t remember) in Tambov and Mikhail and friends in Volgograd for showing us the real Russia in action. These people are fantastic!