Almost after last year’s UN DP Bke4SDGS marathon rumors about Sanaka’s last trip as a UNDP chief is in planning. Ending 2017 I’ve even invited as a participator to task force meetings as a Minsk Bike Society’s representative, butin process we’ve deceided I’ll just participate as a seasoned bike tourist, not more. Couple of meetups in UN office didn’t bring much light to actual planning but definitely allows me to be sure my bike and me will get into starting point in Hrodna in proper time. As usual, just before start my bike began to crack in different ways so I had to replace pedals and seatpost. Anyway, at 24th morning I’ve got into transfer beginning point and succesfuly moved to Hrodna. This time weather was much better then last year, no rain, just not very warm air and wind.
I’ve got a nice surprise with participation of my old friend Valiantsin, I’ve met for a first time while cycling in Germany in 2015.
Mass start was nice, it was crowded as well. After most of the people left us to get back home, actual movement began.
On every suitable corner we’ve met local babushkas, bread-and-salt and pseudo-folk musicians. Of course, its funny to compare music players or create a rating list for bread taste, but all unplanned talks and meetings consume all free time so we’ve usually finished in deep night.
Nioman river banks are very exciting and beautiful. As I really fond of different rivers and water – it was very nice to get this part of fun for me.
Declared so-called green orientation of our ride was often replaced by bus and lorry transfer because of long delays on the way. Since the very initial meetups it was very clear for us there is not much suitable accommodations in these lands but anyway it was not very good practice, I’ve tried to do all way by myself. Also, we’ve skipped all possible architect wonders. Thanks G-d we’ve done some additional research and visits ourself, like this old wooden church in Voupa.
Sign have told altar was made even in mid-XVI cent. Cannot prove it by myself but last time I’ve visited this place before reconstruction I wasn’t so impressed.
After some gravel roads I’ve got old known thing appeared. Using rear brake brings me feeling of easy beats to hand. Pity, but as I assume, it was cracked rear wheel. G-d bless our spare bikes, I’ve took a wheel from one of them in dinner time and cycle with until the end.
In Vaukavyssk our wheels story was picked up by Sasha Avdevich, his handbike is all hand made and rear wheels are fixed by big screws instead of kind of axis, so they was unscrewed a bit, flexed a bit and began to destroy bearings. But city itself is so big so we’ve got a guy who found some similar screws, fixed it a bit to suit better and bike was successfully fixed.
As it all was planned for us to not be boring, that day’s ending was dark, rainy and thunderstormy. While crossing rails close to factory for three times, we’ve got one guy felled down on rails, got some lite injury and continued journey in medic bus. It was absolutely fantastic – cycling at deep night, in darkness, following road police car with red-blue lights, meeting rare local vehicles all around the road full of very surprised people. In my musicbox I’ve listened to “Fear of the dark” which is definitely suits to the moment in best way. And after some kilometers of this kind of moving we’ve suddenly got to brightly illuminated place with some pseudo-folk songs, bread-and-salt and all these things. Absolutely surreal, still nothing to compare with. It was very pleasant our host at night provide some moonshine for all of us before any talks, accommodations and other routine things. I’m pretty sure this was the reason we’ve all survived that night. Nice Belarussian hospitality as for me.
The same scenario was active for couple of days, songs, talks, babushkas, Sanaka planting potatos, Sanaka posing from some tractor (too clean for sudden appearing as for me), eating bread-and-salt (and still composing the rating), drinking moonshine at evenings – kind of very specific lifestyle.
Among other things we’ve got to some walking tour into Pushcha, honestly I’ve never was in without bicycle. Very calm place in fact.
It was so motivating and brings me so much positive energy, so I’ve replaced starting soundtrack on official event from some russian-language shit to good and native BY CRY band tracks from my phone.
Further way leads us to Pushcha and it was very nice. Some of the roads are still absent in OSM maps, need to fix it.
We’ve crossed a very historical river.
WE’ve visited Zalessie farmstead, got in touch with musician Nasta Chmel, she even remembers me from older days, what a surprise 🙂
After that we’ve begun to late so much so most of the movements main group made on buses. But some real true cyclists still cycle until the end, real crazy ones, increased average speed from 10 to 25 km/h and fit the time-table as well.
Prelast day we’ve come to Pushcha officially, via main entrance
Got fantastic dinner on Pushcha’s distillery, with a kind of degustation
After we’ve visited Poland for quick, I’ve even opened my visa
On polish side we’ve got same things as usual, some blablabla, museum of Pushcha and tiny grocery store for some beers.
On the way back to Motherland we’ve crossed a 300km mark for the trip.
This day’s evening we’ve got an official party for Sanaka’s departure. It was thousands of foods, litres of alcohol and so on. Alcohol won, as usual 🙂 This is why not much good photos from event.
Last day was about mass bike ride with Brest cyclists. It was about 400 of participants, so it brings good impression.
Close to home, sadder I became. Pity but this page was turned finally. If we’ll manage to organize some similar event in the future, it will be definitely different, without Sanaka-specific madness and delays 😉 Thanks Sanaka, we’ve got a landmark to follow.
Many photos on my flickr
Static track on wikiloc
Nice visualization on relive
Thanks for reading, feel free with questions.