Cycling Stories: Made In USSR (Part 18)

The receptionist at the Pirita hotel greeted me with a large smile and something in Estonian. I smiled back and said, in Russian, I needed a room. “How many?” she said. I thought I better not correct her Russian — she might ‘discover’ there are no rooms in Pirita — and said I’m planning to …

Read moreCycling Stories: Made In USSR (Part 18)

Cycling Stories: Made In USSR (Part 17)

With trembling hands, I zipped my bag, slung it over my shoulder, slammed the door and walked out of my room. Once outside, I headed toward the busy Krasnoarmeyskaya street to catch a taxi to the airport. Always lucky with taxis in Kiev, they seemed to hang around me everywhere I went. I saw one …

Read moreCycling Stories: Made In USSR (Part 17)

Cycling Stories: Made In USSR (Part 16)

The first sun rays broke out through the clouds when I stepped into the oxygen-rich air outside. In a typical early spring, frigid morning in Moscow, the tiny droplets of cold water drizzled from above. Anton volunteered to walk me to the main road to catch a taxi. We walked in silence, tired. I thought …

Read moreCycling Stories: Made In USSR (Part 16)

Cycling Stories: Made In USSR (Part 15)

Titan Crew

I got off in front of a 20-something-story building made from dull concrete blocks. The entrance I needed had a metal door painted decades ago with what must’ve been a shade of blue once. I opened it and walked into an unlit vestibule with a dash of daylight coming in through a window on the …

Read moreCycling Stories: Made In USSR (Part 15)