One-Night Ride

Aleksandra is a 4th year student at a Moscow Teachers Training University (editor)

Before I start telling you about our wonderful ride, I want to warn you that we are not athletes, nor are we Olympic gold medalists. 

It all began with a ride we went on in the summer 2019. My friend and I went to the city center to have a meal. At 11 pm we were on Stretenka street, after that a brilliant idea (I thought at the time) came to my mind. Why don’t we ride bikes? We can burn some calories and gaze at the Moscow night. Wasn’t that a good idea? So our trip started at half past 11. We rode 25 kilometers from Sretenka to Luzhniki and back to Kitai-Gorod. I can’t even describe the pain in my legs. We got back to our homes at 4am and collapsed, dead, into our beds. But that’s not all. I had to wake up at 8 o’clock. That morning, if I say that I was able to move around like a snail, that would be too fast. My legs ached so much; I thought I wouldn’t even be able to walk to the underground. 

That journey was completely unplanned, we were unprepared. Plus the fact that I had to go to work  early in the morning, that added bitterness to my feelings. Still I don’t regret, it I am proud of that little journey. But let’s get back to this year. 

I spent my ‘lock-up’ in the countryside, I rode a bike a lot then, almost every day. So when I came back to Moscow, I wanted to repeat last year’s trip, but this time I prepared carefully. We don’t have our own bikes, so we used municipal ones. The system works in the following way: The first 30 minutes are free and then you pay when you return.  You can always put the bike in the port before the 30 minutes expire. That was what we did, several times. 

We invited our friends to join us, but nobody was into it,. They thought we were nuts. “On bikes?”, “The whole night?”, “From dusk till dawn?” But we have one life, moreover, summer is a lighter and warmer. 

At midnight we packed everything; we had bought some snacks – nuts, fruits, drinks, little cakes, and cigarettes. We put everything in our bags, took warm clothes in case it would be cold. Our journey began. I took a bus to the underground and the underground took me to Krasnye Vorota station. There I met with my friend and we hired bikes. At first it was a bit hard, you always need to get used to it. But 15 minutes later we were riding without effort. We laughed, chatted, breathed in night air and fumes. Yes, I had totally missed it, and my friend as well. This is the first time I had seen Irina since before ‘lock-up.’ All I felt was freedom and an intoxicating feeling of happiness. Our first long stop was somewhere near Tverskaya street. We stopped under the trees, put our bikes in the port and just stood there. We ate apples, drank a bit of juice, I smoked a cigarette. It was the right thing to do at that moment. Fresh air was embracing me, people were heading to parties, stars were gleaming in the navy sky. I captured the feeling and I can tell you, that was the most remarkable moment from my summer. 

Then we rode further across the Moskva river, we chose the wrong route and we ended up in the epicenter of Moscow party-land. Strelka, Krasnyi Oktyabr, Red, all the clubs are there, and a lot of people. But as it was almost sunrise; people were beginning to catch cabs. We observed the sunrise right on the bridge and it was marvelous. The next stop was Frunzenskaya. We went into a bar and bought coffee to take away. At that time (it was 5 am) people were drunk and the barmen were really shocked, who wants to get a coffee at 5am in a bar? 

We had some more snacks, and our last stop was at Kitai-Gorod. We returned our bikes, went down to underground, were exhausted but happy. 

I didn’t feel any aches at all, I was joyful and happy. I spent a wonderful time with my best friend. What can be better? 

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