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Kazan Starry Cycle Night
June 10, 2014 15:38


The first of its kind large-scale night bike tour in Kazan - "Kazan Starry Cycle Night" - took place in the night of June 1 in the capital of Tatarstan. Slightly less than three thousand cyclists rode through the city 25 miles in 5 hours, learning a lot about the city and the people, who made Kazan famous. The format of Cycle Night - a collective city tour on bikes - came up with a Russian historian and urbanist Sergey Nikitin. He has already organized 16 similar excursions in European capitals.

Organizers especially emphasized that Cycle Night is not a speed or endurance run, but guided walk in the unhurried pace and with stops at places of interest. Participants may listen to historical stories using their own radios tuned to the proper frequency. The traffic police was called to accompany and lead the cyclists’ column along the route. The gathering of Kazan Cycle Night participants was appointed to 22 hours at Spasskaya Tower of the Kazan Kremlin, although the start was planned only for midnight. Already by 11 o'clock the volunteers run out of badges and route plans for the participants. The start took a bit longer: three thousand cyclists needed some time to leave the launch pad. In what follows, the participants flow stretched, and they could enjoy the stroll to the sounds of diverse, but good music in a radio broadcast that accompanied the entire Cycle Night. Cycling promenade was interrupting near the city attractions.

The first stop was Kazan Virgin Monastery. On the waterfront at the National Cultural Center tour participants met salute from the opposite bank. The stops took longer than the trip itself, and very active cyclists raced on stages, creating annoying situations for other participants. In general, the unhurried pace was compensated by communication between cyclists, among which were the "professionals on expensive machines" and beginners at the wheel of rented bikes. Cyclists from other Russian cities and even from abroad came to Kazan to take part in the race whose analogues up to now have been held in Rome, Istanbul, Vienna and London. It turned out that Cycle nights have regular participants that started in all previous similar tours in Europe. Despite the walking pace of the traffic, after a while the distance began to exhaust participants, and therefore the pauses during excursion looked more and more well-timed. Some disadvantages became apparent on the route, the most important being the "bottlenecks" that formed cycling "plugs". But there were especially memorable places as well, for example a tunnel under Nikolai Yershov Street near the Gorky Park. Speeding up on the bike in a huge lighted tunnel is an unforgettable feeling. The final stages: to Zilantov Monastery and to the Kazan Family Center were remarkable as well.

The cyclists had the opportunity to enjoy riding for a quite long time on spacious, well-repaired roads and to feast their eyes upon the sunrise. Excursion stories that were broadcasted on the radio were quite interesting. The focus was not so much on the places, as on people, the "stars" who made this place famous: this is why Kazan Cycle Night was called Starry. Among places to stop were Bekhterev Republican Psychiatric Hospital on Sechenov Street, Katanovsky Lane, the courtyard of the main building of the University of Kazan and Zilantov Monastery. The final stop over at Kazan Family Center was completed with a short interview of the mayor of Kazan Ilsur Metshin.

The mayor promised to create in the capital a comfortable environment for cyclists. According to the Chairman of the Committee for External Relations and Tourism Yevgenia Lodvigova, the number of the participants at the finish line exceeded 80% of the starters, while, according to experienced organizers, usually their number does not exceed 20-30%. Participants asked to make Cycle Nights annually. Sergey Nikitin, the ideologist and organizer of the Cycle Night, in his interview after the tour highly appreciated the level of the event and thanked the city administration for assistance. But the participants themselves, after riding across Kazan 25 miles in 5 hours completed the Kazan Starry Cycle Night launching dozens of balloons in the sky.

Author: Anna Dorozhkina

Tags: Kazan Cycle Night    

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