Likewise, there is also a variety of high-quality bicycle stores around Moscow, where you can purchase anything from a full-suspension mountain bike to a city cruiser complete with a customized paint job depicting the Kremlin.
Before hitting the shops for your new ride, you’ll need to keep a few specific objectives in mind. The most important are, of course, your price range and your riding abilities and goals. Beyond these basics, take along the length of your inseam, cycling shoes if you have some and a comfortable outfit for sitting and pedaling on potential purchases.
Take the time to be sure that the bike is a perfect fit for your height and ability. Don’t be shy in asking the bike-shop assistant for help in setting up the seat height and position as well as the length you must reach for the handlebars. Both these adjustments are often overlooked and can be the root of back and neck problems later. A helmet should also be adjusted with professional assistance. Proper equipment for basic repairs should not be overlooked, so you won’t find yourself stranded with a flat tire or a broken chain. Cycling shorts and bike shoes are also recommended.
Moscow’s most colorful bike shop is OmniBike, in Sokolniki’s bike market, complete with a classy art gallery of athletic models wearing little but bicycle components. OmniBike is a hip, high-end store selling state-of-the-art, city cruiser bikes, full-suspension mountain bikes, hybrid bikes designed for both on- and off-road riding, and road bikes. The staff is professional and knowledgeable, and the vast showroom gives an ample choice of new steeds. They offer free delivery in Moscow, personalized fitting, extended warranties and service, as well as financing and English-speaking personnel. Their specialty is custom-painted and personalized bicycles.
Bike ’n’ Roll is located close to the center and carries mostly midrange road and mountain bikes as well as accessories. Like OmniBike, it is staffed by ex-bicycle racers who know their products well and will spend time giving you a personalized fitting. The shop offers extended warranties and service on all sales. Bike ’n’ Roll accepts credit cards, and also offers credit programs. Their web site features a Russian-language online shop.
VeloMir is a spacious two-level store with a wide selection of bikes and components. Geared towards a young crowd and those who enjoy the more extreme types of cycling like BMX and street riding, VeloMir has a good choice of cycling clothes and boasts a professional staff with excellent mechanical knowledge.
VeloImperia is a good shop for children’s bikes, as well as adult bikes in the middle- to low-budget range. You can find many classic, bright-framed Russian bikes for preschoolers, with squeaking ducks and assorted bells, whistles and baskets that can double as shopping carts for busy parents. VeloImperia also carries specialty components and equipment for downhill riding, which has had a recent surge in popularity. Downhill riding can be found at ski slopes around the city, some of which operate in the summer for cycling and other activities (see sidebar).
As for getting to where you want to ride, don’t expect the metro matrons to allow you to haul your new purchase up and down the escalators. You will have to use a car (OmniBike has excellent Thule bike racks) or train to arrive at your destination, unless you wish to brave Moscow’s traffic on two wheels.
* Pavel Cherkasov is a former champion professional road biker and Olympic mountain biker.
WHERE TO GO FOR A SPIN
Bittsevsky Park: huge park with downhill slopes and rolling terrain, suitable for beginners and expert riders alike. Bikes are available for rent.
Filyovsky Park: more advanced riding and some flat paths next to the Moscow River.
Sokolniki Park: excellent terrain for beginners.
Neskuchny Sad: flat paved paths in a downtown location, stretching from Gorky Park to Sparrow Hills and beyond.
Krylatskoye Olympic Cycling course: very hilly and challenging terrain, closed to traffic.
Serebryany Bor: both paved and dirt tracks, as well as more challenging mountain bike trails in the forest.
Krasnogorsk Ski Base: from Tushinskaya metro station take minibus 566 or take a train from Ryzhsky Station to the Pavshino stop then minibus 506 or 537. Extended network of trails with hilly and flat terrain and local mountain bike races.
Odintsovo ski park: located just outside of Odintsovo. Paved network of roads used for cross country and roller skiing. Gentle hills and beautiful forest, closed to traffic.
Bike ’n’ Roll
21 Ul. Bolshaya Tatarskaya (M. Novokuznetskaya)
959-3129/23, Mon.-Fri. 10am-7pm, Sat. 10am-5pm, Sun. 10am-4pm.
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