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Natali Lisapedova
on a Cycling Culture in Moscow

Cycling Is My Life!

Natali Lisapedova guides exciting themed bike tours in Moscow and suburbs.

What is a bicycle to you? How did you come to it?

Cycling is my life! I ride a bike to work, to a shop and to run some errands. I travel by bike!
Just like many other people born in the Soviets, I got on a bike for the first time as a child. We had no smartphones or videogames. We used to get on our bikes and go to a sports ground near our school or to the river.
I got my first adult bike at 9. Then I had my cousin's Lastochka. After that, I had a women's bike. Now I have a lot of bikes. It is marvellous!

How often do you ride a bicycle?

I ride a bicycle every day. In winter, less often. The off-season is usually from December to February. But when the winter is warm and open, I ride all year round.

Which is better: to ride alone or in a company?

Both are good. I like to go on holiday with my bike (that's when I feel totally free). I also like riding with my husband, my friends and new people. I cannot say which is better. Tastes differ. I like both! When you go alone, you feel free. When you go in a company, you get new acquaintances and new experience!

Asphalt embankments or paths in a park

I like green areas more than city streets. Fresh air and nature bring much more joy than riding alongside cars.

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Favourite route

I have lots of those. Very often, my favourite route is a new one! I like exploring new places rather than riding around in circles like a bear in a circus. I am fond of Peredelkino, Serebryany Bor, Pokrovskoye-Streshnevo, Timiryazevsky Park. I like Dubna. Riding along the Moscow canal!

Cycling culture in Moscow

Cycling culture in Moscow? Sometimes I think there is no such thing. But this sounds pessimistic. I am an optimist. Some people ride against traffic wearing earphones and staring at their smartphone. We must never forget that a bicycle is a means of transportation. And we must care about the safety of people around us and of ourselves! Bikers often ride thoughtlessly. For example, the ones who like to drink. You must not drink when you ride a bike. Too bad some people don't know it. In such cases, drivers get their license pulled. Drunk biker must get their bike pulled.

Morning or evening

I go cycling morning, day and evening. I don't like riding at night because it is dangerous. I like to sleep at night.

On suits and equipment

I put on regular clothes: jeans, shorts, T-shirts. To historic bicycle parades by Andrey Mityayev, collector, journalist, and expert in the history of bikes and motorbikes in Russia and the USSR, I put on gowns, hats and slingbacks. This is what the women who rode a bike on a par with men in the 19th century looked like! I bought a helmet a mere year ago. Because I could not pick the one I liked for a long time. They were all so ugly. I also have two panniers which make riding more comfortable.

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Life hacks and recommendations

Life hacks? Take care of yourself and pay respect to other traffic participants. Don't be scared of new routes. Try riding your bike to work or to run some errands. Try roadways instead of sidewalks. Sunday morning, for example, is perfect because the traffic is very low.

Take your bike with you on a trip. You will be able to see around more than when travelling on foot or even by car.

5 recommendations to a beginner

  1. Don't be embarrassed. Don't think that you may look childishly.
  2. Take a raincoat, a pair of socks and some food (a banana, for example) with you.
  3. Buy yourself a lightweight folding bike. It will help avoid lots of problems.
  4. Get new acquaintances over social media and go cycling together with them.
  5. Explore Moscow and all the world riding your bike to make your life more complete.

It is a sad story when both parents are staring at their phones, while their child is riding a bicycle alone. Why is his dad not riding alongside his child? There is a lot of equipment to carry the whole family nowadays: baby seats, sidecars, alleycats. Ride around together as a family if you want your child to grow up into a good person.

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