2017-06-02 Moscow


President IBA UK
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At the bar in the cosmos hotel.
Bob. Philip from Switzerland .jonathan.petri from Finland. Fazerphil
Dimitri and Andrew the Texan will meet us tomorrow at Red Square.


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As Phil says, we made it. Well nearly all of us: Mike wasn't able to leave Latvia for a technical reason, which he might be able to solve today, fingers crossed.

The border crossing took about three hours and involved much standing around, a fair bit of form-filling, re-form-filling for those of us not paying enough attention first time round. Having escaped into Russia we followed the M-9 "motorway" all the way to Moscow. The first 325 miles consisted of a regular two-lane 'A' road with occasional bouts of offroading. In Russia they don't actually close roads they're working on, they just make it harder to go fast. The last 75 miles were pretty decent quality proper motorway.

We were met outside Moscow by Dmitry from Russian IBA who arranged photoshots and run leading through chaotic Moscow traffic, still chaotic at 10pm.

The Cosmos hotel has to be experienced to be believed.


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Also back home as of 6.00 Monday evening.

It was indeed a little bit different RTE, especially for me. My technical issue as Bob so diplomatically put it, was that I had a copy of my V5 (motorcycle registration document) not the original and there was no way I was being let through without the original.

There are many words to describe how I felt at that point, I will settle for frustrated. Whilst riding back to the hotel in Ludza having said goodbye to Bob and Jonathan, I decided to see if there was a chance of DHL getting the V5 it to me. With a lot of help from my daughter back in the UK, I agreed that they would deliver it to a hotel by Riga airport the next day (some time between 9.00am and 5.00pm was as accurate a time as they could give). I rode the two hundred miles to Riga to wait at the hotel and the V5 was delivered at 11.45 the following morning - pretty impressive service I think (cost approx 70 euros).

I then rode the 200 miles back to the Russian border arriving 4.00pm Friday. My thinking at that point was that if I could get through in about 2 hours I could be at the Cosmos hotel by around 2.00am Saturday. It in fact took me 6 hours (the Russian Windows XP based immigration systems had crashed) to get through the border. By then it was getting cold ( was between 2 and 3c for most of the way down the M9) and I was pretty disheartened. After stopping for a coffee and something to eat and collecting my thoughts I decided to go for it and eventually arrived in Moscow just before 6.00am.

My understanding of the plan of those in the Cosmos was that they were leaving early for their return to Latvia so my plan was to have breakfast and then head back myself. I was therefore delighted when Bob texted me during my breakfast to say that they had delayed their return and their trip to Red Sq on bikes was starting at 7.30. So I did after all get to see Red Square.
It was a fantastic trip and with some distance I can say that my technical issue even had some positives - I got to see Riga and the Baltic Sea as well as most of Latvia!

I owe a lot of people a lot of thanks, to Bob for organising the trip, DHL and my daughter for correcting my "issue", all of you at the Cosmos for delaying your return and to Dimitri and friends for a great job of hosting. This will be a tough trip to follow but I look forward to the next one.


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I should certainly like to thank everyone who came, everyone who tried to come but were prevented by circumstances and of course to our Russian friends who did so much to make our visit extraordinary. I should like to thank our Finnish friends especially for releasing the video of the early morning ride to Red Square but they haven't done that so I'll just have to wait.;)

When I called this RTE last year I was a little scared that everyone would just laugh, it seemed like such an enormous undertaking but we did it and Russia will never be so far away and scary ever again.

Sorry I couldn't stay with you Sunday night Mike, I'm still just a lightweight I'm afraid:(