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Moscow and St. Petersburg night skating and bike rides
June 23, 2009 00:47

As it is known, night skating and riding is a European entertainment, which lets the people to enjoy their sport in the city without traffic. It has become very popular in Russia recently. Many people find it very amusing to begin their weekend with a trip across the sleeping city without cars and buses in a good crowd. Some of them really have no time by day for skates and bicycles. The great majority of such events happen on Friday’s night, though there are some exceptions. For the foreigners (especially tourists) it could be also interesting, because the night skating is a great possibility to see the city from the point of view, unexpected even for its habitants. Everybody who has decided to join it should have skating or riding skills, because everything is a little more difficult at night, especially noticing obstacles in the darkness. Every city where it takes place has its particularities, reflecting upon the actions, including their duration, types of routes, etc. It would be easy to demonstrate them on the examples of the two Russian capitals.

St. Petersburg

I suppose, that the northern capital was the first Russian city for the night skating and rides. First of all, it was always nearer to the Europe as any other city. Secondly, its straight streets are ideal for such activities. There are some examples of St. Petersburg night skating and rides.

1. Nochnye (St. Petersburg’s nocturnal)

Nochnye include both rollers and bikers. Extension of their routes usually amounts to 45 km, but every 3 – 5 km they stop for 5 – 15 minutes, so the routes are not very difficult. The promenade continues about 4 or 5 hours. The organizers clothed in glowing vests control the moving. Nochnye has fixed time and place. The people begin to gather at 11 p.m. on the Palace Square (Dvortsovaya Ploshchad) on the right-hand side of the arch of the Building of the General Staff. The moving begins at 11.30 p.m. There are no specific rules for the people who want to take part. They are recommended to obey traffic regulations, to be clothed in bright colours to be visible on the road, to have shoes and some money.


PIN-MIX is an event taking place on Fridays. The participants, both rollers and bikers gather on the Palace Square at 11.00 p.m., in front of the Pevchesky Bridge, near the advertising pylon. The specific feature of PIN-MIX is that it takes place all year around, what is unusual for Russia. The organizers have worked out belt routes, finishing on the same place, Palace Square. In addition to them there are some routes, finishing in the county-side, in this case the participants return by suburban electric trains.


INLINE appeared in 2002 as night skating community. It developed so rapidly, that it had to be divided in two parts because of a huge amount of the participants on the bikes and skates. The problem was that skates and bikes had different middle speeds and moving characteristics, so the danger of the traumatism increased in such a big crowd. The organizers decided to split. One part is PIN-MIX, described above, the second one is INLINE. INLINE is mainly for rollers, but the bikers are not banned. INLINE provides information about different places to skate in the city.

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In Moscow everything looks more difficult. First of all, the level of the organization there seems to be not so high, and there are no famous groups like in Petersburg, but very many smaller events. Skating and riding activities exist separately and have different levels of difficulty, which could not be a question in St. Petersburg, with its plain ground. Moscow streets have very active traffic even at night and the relief in this city is various and difficult. It is impossible to avoid climbs and descents, some of them are rather difficult.

1. Rides

Moscow rides begin near the Karl Marx memorial in front of the Bolshoy Theatre on Fridays, at 10 p.m. As it is clear from the name, the event is for bikers. The route is usually determined then and there. Usually it includes such points like Vorobyovy Gory, Poklonnaya Gora, Serebryany Bor and after that the participants return to the centre of Moscow. It is rather difficult.

2. City Skaters Night way (not-elks)

This night is named sometimes Non-elks to separate it from Nochnaya, or Elks, which is very rapid. Traditionally, very rapid skating events in Moscow called in honor of this animal. The City Skaters Nightway begins at 11.30 near the Mayakovsky memorial (Teatral’naya Ploshchad, Mayakovskaya metro station) on Fridays. It begins with the test descend from the square to the Bolshoy theatre in order to try the participants’ skills of skating and downhill braking. After that the Night way begins.

3. Nochnaya (Nocturnal, elks)

This trip is very rapid. The middle speed is about 20 kilometers per hour; the participants must have skills of the extreme braking. Nobody will wait you if you are not rapid enough, in spite of skating events lower level, like China Town.

To summarize, the European amusement exists in St. Petersburg in forms very close to the source. Everything is rather safe and good planned. The Moscow trips are more spontaneous and some of them pass for the thrill-seekers only. The organizers of the Moscow night skating and rides seems to have less care of participants. Maybe the specific circumstances of Moscow don’t let them to shoulder such a responsibility. Anyway, if you have decided to take part in such a night event, you should size your possibilities and choose a suitable variant to make your trip romantic and unforgettable.

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Yulia Buzykina


Tags: Moscow St. Petersburg    

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