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  Main arrow Journey’s diary arrow Stuart Green: From UK to Siberia  
 
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Mon, 10 Feb 2003 19:56:52 +0100


This is the latest update on Stuarts' progress sent through by Su on Friday. It certainly seems as though Stuart is making good progress barring one or two minor hiccups one of which was an encounter with a less than friendly dog another is the early failure of his portable stove. Su sent out some replacement parts in order for Stuart to make some repairs whilst recuperating at a hotel in Bad Laer..... Good news the parcel has finally arrived and Stuart has spent a very long and frustrating afternoon and evening sorting out and fitting the replacement stove part. It was very fiddly and not "field friendly" as described by the manufacturers. Stuart said it was just as well he was in an hotel room with good lighting ,warm hands and a decent tool kit. He was so cross he wrote 2 pages in his journal complaining about it!!! However the stove is now safe again. He was also pleased with the other items including a replacement mug that has better insulating properties (tested with cold beer) and a screw lid as he found the flip off lid difficult to manage after a long days cycle with his left hand especially if his hands were cold. Stuart is getting ready to move on again at the weekend. He is feeling well rested and has had time to peruse the maps closely and has worked out that it is 2360 miles just to the Russian border but he has completed 590 miles so far, that doesn't include sightseeing and recon. trips. The weather is steadily improving with a thaw. However the Germans are far better prepared for a little snow than we are, having all manner of mechanical devices to keep pavements and cycle routes clear. Just a shame about their dogs. Joking aside the bite is healing up well and I don't suppose it's the last bite he'll have ( millions of mozzies are being specially bred to feast on Stuart as we speak ).With all the map reading Stuart has been doing he's now very familiar with lots of place names so should find navigating much simpler and quicker. His German is coming on and he seems to be enjoying conversing with the locals. They keep saying "Mein Gotte" when he tells them what he's doing. I'll send through the next update as soon as I hear anything - hopefully by then there should be some pictures as well!
 
Wed, 12 Feb 2003 11:27:32 +0100


Stuart has at long last moved on from the hotel unfortunately he didn't make very good progress over the first few days due to a combination of factors. His plan was to cycle approximately 116 miles over the next few days from Bad Laer onto Borgholzhausen, Spinge, Herford, Bad Salzuflen, Exter and Hameln. This route has proved to be very challenging with very long steep hills. One hill was over 3 miles or 5 km long and just went on and on and on , Stuart was reduced to using his "granny ring" (the lowest possible gear after that the next stop is get off and walk and Stuart would NEVER do that ) Just to add to his 'fun' he had a cluster of migraines and a very painful left leg. However more fun was in the offing after another days strenuous days cycling all the signs on the cycle route vanished and after pondering his options for a while chose what he thought was a good route. Good fortune smiled down on him in the shape of a motorist who stopped to see what Stuart was doing after a brief conversation Stuart discovered he was about to join the autobahn!!! Even with a fair wind behind I don't think Stuart's up to autobahn speeds (with or without panniers) .Stuart camped that night in a small nature reserve near Bielefeld having completed about 46 miles in 3 days and was studying the map to try and avoid long steep hills and autobahns.

11.02.03 Text from Stuart last night feeling much better camped between the mountains and river Weser near Vlotho heading for Rintein temp. at night -5 or -6 C so a bit chilly when getting up for a wee. Very icy but very beautiful some photos en route to UK Cycling very hard and steep but really enjoying himself. Please let everyone know that I can provide them with sponsor packs etc. now that Stuart has made a good start as if we are to make Stuarts target sponsorship I think we need to aim for £100 per mile so folks its up to us back home to get on with our job and not to disappoint Stuart. If anyone has any good ideas of how to raise money or to donate prizes for a raffle later in the year please don't be shy tell me.
 
Wed, 19 Feb 2003 09:38:12 +0100


If any one would like to be involved in collecting sponsorship or knows of somewhere where a sponsorship form and some information could be placed e.g. shop, garage, pub etc then please contact me or Su at - a form left in the right place could collect a lot of sponsorship with out too much effort.

If any one would like to be involved in collecting sponsorship or knows of somewhere where a sponsorship form and some information could be placed e.g. shop, garage, pub etc then please contact me or Su at - a form left in the right place could collect a lot of sponsorship with out too much effort.

14.02.03 A steady days cycling completing about 45 miles passing through Springe, Eldagsen, Gestorf, Reden, Harkenbleck and Grasdorf. The weather has remained well below freezing all day and Stuart is getting very frustrated with the cycle tracks they often don't have sign posts on and they are not direct enough.

 15.02.03 Stuart has cycled about 45 miles today. It has snowed steadily all day and remains very cold. He is almost at Peine to the east of Hannover. The area around Laatzen sounds like some sort of spaghetti junction with autobahns everywhere. Stuart cycled 10 miles round in circles trying to follow signs, avoiding major roads and autobahns only to find that bicycles were suddenly forbidden on others but with no clear indication of where to go before eventually finding a suitable route. Stuart is camped in a wooded area which is very quiet and peaceful tucking in to the umpteenth king sized Mars bar of the day. A couple stopped earlier in the evening to see if he was alright as they had seen him several times during the day and wondered what he was doing. They were very interested to hear about Stuarts cycle expedition.

16.02.03 Day 28 Stuart has had a better day having decided to abandon the cycle tracks and stick to the quieter roads which are more direct. He has cycled about 40 miles and managed to stock up on food. He has passed through Braunschweig, Helmstedt and Haldensleben. He has found somewhere to camp near running water so shouldn't have to melt ice to make drinks. The only problem with cycling on the road is that Stuart has to maintain a much higher level of concentration to contend with the traffic so has to make more frequent stops. He is going to try and find a hostel or hotel to stop at for a day or so as he needs to dry out his damp sleeping bag and tent. With the persistent low temperatures and snow, condensation has built up in the tent making everything damp.

 17.02.03 Stuart has cycled 55 miles today in freezing conditions with sleet and snow most of the day. He says he looks very weather beaten and smells like a tramp!!! He is not far from Magdeburg but hasn't been able to find anywhere to stay, the hotels and hostels have either been shut or far too expensive. The Police stopped and had a chat with Stuart as they where curious about a cycle tourist in the winter they thought he was mad when he said he was going to Siberia.( But not mad enough for a warm cell overnight! ) Stuart has just phoned with today's update. This morning was very cold with snow and mist, the road Stuart had planned to take appeared very busy and dangerous so he decided to take some much smaller and quieter routes and pass to the north of Magdeburg, there are lots of signs now for Berlin which Stuart had hoped to visit but due to the very busy roads will leave until the return leg of the journey. He has passed through lots of very small villages with cobbled streets but none with hotels that were open finally at about lunchtime after passing through Holdenslaben, Gutenwagen, Ammensleben, Gross Ammensleben, Samswagen and Wolmirstedt he came to Farsleiben and found a small hotel that he liked, it appeared closed but gave a telephone number to ring so he rang and an old lady agreed to come and open up for him. So now Stuart is safely settled in a very nice small but basic hotel for several nights and is going to dry out all his damp belongings and hopefully stop smelling like a tramp. He has progressed from Mars bars onto Snickers bars now. His planned route is Zielitz, Rogatz, Burg, Ziesar,Solzow, Lehnin, Feurch which is south of Potsdam and to stay south of Berlin via New-seddin, Mittenwalde, Storkow, Furstenwalde and then Frankfurt Ode and the Polish border.
 
Mon, 24 Feb 2003 15:46:08 +0100


Two updates received from Su Friday and today. Looks like Stuart is very good at falling on his feet and/or meeting decent folk enroute. We have some photo's now they just need to be scanned etc. Stuart had planned to set off this morning but the hotel proprietor said that Stuart could stay longer 'Gratis' !! Apparently he has decided to take Stuart sightseeing to Magdeburg by car and then for Stuart to do some shopping for supplies etc. so Stuart has agreed to spend another night. and will probably set off at the weekend. The weather is now a balmy 3 or 4 degrees and Stuart has started to shed some layers of clothing ( cast not clout and all that springs to mind ). He has been quite busy the last few days giving interviews had having photos taken for the local paper .The article has now been published and a copy of the paper will be winging its way to us in the next parcel. Eric, one of the owners of the hotel have been very kind and generous taking Stuart on extensive tours of Magdeburg as well as arranging the interview. Magdeburg now in the east of Germany is on the banks of the river Elbe and has been largely rebuilt after the war, in the not too distant past the east side of the river was part of Russia. There are lots of churches including a Russian Orthodox church which survived the ravages of the war, Stuart was welcomed in and allowed to take photos. I think Eric should be on the support team as he has done a great job of promoting Stuart and his challenge. Stuart has also visited a huge iron ore mine operating 24/7 the ore from this mine is exported all over the world including the UK, one of the shafts is over 1 mile deep and during his tour he managed to get very close to a large buzzard. Th other side of the Elbe is more 'Russian' and many of the large family houses that have been left derelict for decades are now being snapped up and renovated. On Monday Eric is taking Stuart to the post office so that he can send back a large parcel of bits and pieces that he doesn't need or aren't performing well plus the first few volumes of his journal and some more films. After that Stuart is definitely on the road again . He has been told that the weather isn't usually as cold as it has been so with a bit of luck the temperatures should be a little kinder.
 
Mon, 10 Mar 2003 20:33:15 +0100

Two updates received from Su Friday and today. Looks like Stuart is very good at falling on his feet and/or meeting decent folk enroute. We have some photo's now they just need to be scanned etc. Stuart had planned to set off this morning but the hotel proprietor said that Stuart could stay longer 'Gratis' !! Apparently he has decided to take Stuart sightseeing to Magdeburg by car and then for Stuart to do some shopping for supplies etc. so Stuart has agreed to spend another night. and will probably set off at the weekend. The weather is now a balmy 3 or 4 degrees and Stuart has started to shed some layers of clothing ( cast not clout and all that springs to mind ). He has been quite busy the last few days giving interviews had having photos taken for the local paper .The article has now been published and a copy of the paper will be winging its way to us in the next parcel. Eric, one of the owners of the hotel have been very kind and generous taking Stuart on extensive tours of Magdeburg as well as arranging the interview. Magdeburg now in the east of Germany is on the banks of the river Elbe and has been largely rebuilt after the war, in the not too distant past the east side of the river was part of Russia. There are lots of churches including a Russian Orthodox church which survived the ravages of the war, Stuart was welcomed in and allowed to take photos. I think Eric should be on the support team as he has done a great job of promoting Stuart and his challenge. Stuart has also visited a huge iron ore mine operating 24/7 the ore from this mine is exported all over the world including the UK, one of the shafts is over 1 mile deep and during his tour he managed to get very close to a large buzzard. Th other side of the Elbe is more 'Russian' and many of the large family houses that have been left derelict for decades are now being snapped up and renovated. On Monday Eric is taking Stuart to the post office so that he can send back a large parcel of bits and pieces that he doesn't need or aren't performing well plus the first few volumes of his journal and some more films. After that Stuart is definitely on the road again . He has been told that the weather isn't usually as cold as it has been so with a bit of luck the temperatures should be a little kinder.
 
Mon, 10 Mar 2003 20:33:15 +0100


26.2.03 Stuart has cycled about 50 miles and is near Potsdam, the day started out well enough with the tent dry for a change, so it was easy to pack away. Stuart had found route E11 the European standard route to Feurch. The track took him through a vast forest for 5 miles, it was clear of snow and Stuart made good progress following the blue markers. After the good progress the trackway deteriorated and was covered in frozen snow, after 20 miles of much slower progress disaster struck, Stuart slipped sideways and became entangled with the bike as he slithered down into a cutting. The good news is the bike is fine, the bad news is that initially Stuart thought he had broken his wrist (left of course), after some lengthy telephone medical treatment the wrist has been anointed with arnica cream ( did someone have prior knowledge? ) and bandaged up, a multitude of other scrapes and bumps have also been treated, steristrips applied to a leg wound (yes the left) and commiseration for a broken watch given. Stuart managed to make camp by a huge lake also known as the Inland Sea. He is very grateful that his panniers are well stocked with food and that Erich and Barbara had also given him a large parcel of food on Monday. He is going to try and take the next few days easy (believe that and you'll believe anything).

26.2.03 Stuart has cycled about 50 miles and is near Potsdam, the day started out well enough with the tent dry for a change, so it was easy to pack away. Stuart had found route E11 the European standard route to Feurch. The track took him through a vast forest for 5 miles, it was clear of snow and Stuart made good progress following the blue markers. After the good progress the trackway deteriorated and was covered in frozen snow, after 20 miles of much slower progress disaster struck, Stuart slipped sideways and became entangled with the bike as he slithered down into a cutting. The good news is the bike is fine, the bad news is that initially Stuart thought he had broken his wrist (left of course), after some lengthy telephone medical treatment the wrist has been anointed with arnica cream ( did someone have prior knowledge? ) and bandaged up, a multitude of other scrapes and bumps have also been treated, steristrips applied to a leg wound (yes the left) and commiseration for a broken watch given. Stuart managed to make camp by a huge lake also known as the Inland Sea. He is very grateful that his panniers are well stocked with food and that Erich and Barbara had also given him a large parcel of food on Monday. He is going to try and take the next few days easy (believe that and you'll believe anything).

27.2.03 After deciding to take things gently today and despite being black and blue all over and very sore Stuart has cycled about 50 miles on an excellent road through some very rural countryside and is now south east of Berlin near Konigs- Wusterhausen. He is camped in a wooded area enjoying the countryside and trying to identify some of the wildlife. It has been quite warm in the sunshine but it is still cold out of the sun and gets cold rapidly at night.

28.2.03 Stuart is now quite close to the border and still no sight of that visa at this end he is getting anxious about how long he is going to have to wait before moving on into Poland.The parcel that he sent at the beginning of the week has finally arrived here and I'm working my way through it. He has sent me a long list of bits and pieces that he needs including tent pegs since lots of his haven't stood up very well to the harsh conditions and are bent or have snapped off. Stuart is still very sore and lots more bruising is coming out.

29.2.03 Stuart has cycled about 50 miles today in quite a circuitous route via Zossen, Bestensee, Zissen,Storkow, Bad Saarow-Pieskow, Furstenwalde and is now camped near Falkenberg in a wooded area away from the road. He has seen several bed and breakfast vacancies today and intends to try and find somewhere to stay for a few days while we try and hurry up this visa tomorrow. The border at Frankfurt a.d. Oder is just a few miles away and Stuart is keen to get going . A friend who has been to Poland says Stuart should look out for the 'mechanics' along the main roads. Stuart has contacted me

02.03.03 he has found a nice quite hotel in Frankfurt am Oder and settled in to wait for this visa and parcel of replacement items. He has had a long sleep and a hot shower and found a few more cuts that he didn't know about since this is the first he's taken off all his clothing for a few days!!! All the bumps and bruises seem to be healing, although Stuart says he thinks he's growing a new hand as he has quite a big lump on his wrist. He is also sporting what he describes as ' a luxuriant goatee' .He is planning on getting a haircut and a massage (not necessarily in that order) in the next few days as he has spotted a fitness suite nearby offering a whole range of therapies. Stuart seems to be recovered from his accident, mainly bumps and bruises but I think it made him realise how vulnerable he is. If he had been knocked unconscious he may not have been found for a long time and maybe not alive. Well probably best not to dwell on ifs and maybes. Stuart is moving into Poland on Monday and heading down to Wroclaw to visit Mateusz who has offered Stuart the use of his garage/workshop for bike maintenance and somewhere to stay for a few days. Stuart has as usual fallen on his feet regarding the people he meets. He has made friends with a British guy who has done a lot of cycling in Poland and given him lots of good tips for Poland. Latest - just received - Stuart has just phoned he's now in Poland. He spent 45 minutes 'dicing with death' at the border mostly trying to stay out from under the wheels of trucks and cars at Swiecko. Stuart then did a 5 mile loop of the town trying to find the right route and not get onto the dual carriageway, there is supposedly a cycle track which will take him the way he wants to go if only he can find it.......
 
Tue, 18 Mar 2003 09:01:59 +0100


Sounds like Stuart's really starting to earn that sponsorship now - Su passed on the following news.....

Sounds like Stuart's really starting to earn that sponsorship now - Su passed on the following news.....

11.03.03 Stuart has cycled about 45 miles today and it hasn't really been enjoyable. Unfortunately Stuart hasn't been able to find the cycle ways and has had to travel along the main roads which to say the least is scary, it's just one big truck after another and with a heavily laden bike it's just no fun. Someone had told Stuart that Poland was flat, well they fibbed. Today's route had plenty of challenging hills as Stuart travelled along road 275 also known as road number 29 and 32 . He has travelled through Cybinka, Krosno, Odrzanskie and is now not far from Zielona Gora. The tent was nice and dry this morning and the temperature in the sun about 1C and Stuart spent ages filtering some very questionable puddle water to drink, he said it tasted fine but because the water is so dirty it takes ages and uses some of your clean water to clean the water filter up so you can filter more water to clean your filter up and so on and so on. No signs of 'moles' but lots of noises in the night, and still no sightings of the 'gummi bears' ( I don't know if that's good or bad ).

12.03.03 A really grotty night with torrential rain all night. Everything is wet, the heavy rain has persisted all day and Stuart has spent probably one of his most miserable days cycling about 51 miles along route 65. He has had to contend with a strong headwind, spray from the passing trucks who by the sounds of it are totally oblivious (or maybe they get extra points for passing close enough to touch) to the difficulties of trying to control a heavily laden bicycle in appalling weather conditions. Stuart eventually found somewhere to camp away from the road and was very dispirited; he was soaked through and most of his camping stuff was also wet, it seems that careful wrapping and packing is no match for a day of driving rain and heavy spray from vehicles. Thank goodness for Mars bars and hot ovaltine, after the chocolate fix Stuart settled down and prepared himself a hot meal and then to bed, hopefully tomorrow will bring better weather.
 
Thu, 27 Mar 2003 18:49:43 +0100


Stuart has been staying in Wroclaw with Mateusz who invited him to stay and as usual Stuart has fallen on his feet.Mateusz and his friend Monika are all round good people who have provided superb hospitality and really looked after Stuart. They arranged the following media opportunity for Stuart and his challenge.

Stuart has been staying in Wroclaw with Mateusz who invited him to stay and as usual Stuart has fallen on his feet.Mateusz and his friend Monika are all round good people who have provided superb hospitality and really looked after Stuart. They arranged the following media opportunity for Stuart and his challenge.

20.03.03. All the media today! First the television crew arrived at Mateusz's house, there was a long interview and filming inside the house and then all of the equipment was taken outside and Stuart was filmed riding with the fully loaded bike arriving and leaving at the house then there was further filming and another interview. At 11.00 Stuart attended a conference at the 'foundation' in Wroclaw. This is a foundation to promote environmental issues and cycling improvements within the city. All the media were invited as well as the President of the A.S.M.I. (association of the study of methods of Ilizarov) for Poland - who is an orthopaedic consultant in Wroclaw, he brought with him an Ilizarov frame to show to the assembly and to explain from a professional point of view the method of Ilizarov. The conference was a great success. First of all everyone who was invited attended. They asked lots of questions, and so there was genuine interest in the story. Secondly the conference was success due to the amount of hard work put into the project by Monika and Mateusz. Before the consultant left he gave Stuart his card and one for Professor Shetsov in Kurgan. He told Stuart that the weather in Kurgan will be very hot with lots of mosquitoes (from one extreme to another). He has been to Kurgan 5 times and had the privilege of meeting the late Professor Ilizarov. He also has a book written and signed by the Professor Ilizarov. The doctor also said that Stuart could contact him at any time during his stay in Poland, for which Stuart is very grateful as he is going to attend his clinic on Monday for the consultant to check his leg over and make sure Stuart's taking the right antibiotics. After the conference, several newspaper photographers wanted to come back to look at the bike and all the equipment. So once again with all the panniers on Stuart cycled up and down the local roads to enable all the photographers to get all the photos they needed. Later in the day Stuart felt quite unwell and was confined to bed for the rest of the day. He missed the radio interview but Mateusz recorded the television interview which went out on national TV. The local and national newspapers also provided good coverage with a full page story and good photos. Stuart is feeling a little better but will be much happier when he has seen the orthopaedic consultant on Monday.
 
Wed, 2 Apr 2003 13:27:17 +0200 (CEST)


Good news, Stuart's passport and visa have arrived late this afternoon. Stuart will spend Tuesday packing up and doing some food shopping and then sets off first thing Wednesday morning, Mateusz and Monika and a few friends will cycle with Stuart out of the city and for the first few miles to see him off on his journey. Tonight there is a big party to celebrate and to see Stuart off in style. The leg is healed and but still a bit tender and Stuart is feeling much better, well rested and ready for the challenge ahead.
 
Wed, 9 Apr 2003 19:30:01 +0200

Good news, Stuart's passport and visa have arrived late this afternoon. Stuart will spend Tuesday packing up and doing some food shopping and then sets off first thing Wednesday morning, Mateusz and Monika and a few friends will cycle with Stuart out of the city and for the first few miles to see him off on his journey. Tonight there is a big party to celebrate and to see Stuart off in style. The leg is healed and but still a bit tender and Stuart is feeling much better, well rested and ready for the challenge ahead.
 
Wed, 9 Apr 2003 19:30:01 +0200


02.04.03 Stuart set out from Wroclaw with Mateusz and Monika at 06.00 this morning. They cycled with him through the city and then for about 30kms.Stuart cycled 92 miles today and has set up camp east of Kalisz just before road 471 at Opalowek. The weather has been very wet today and I think Stuart was glad to finally set up camp after such a long day in the saddle.

02.04.03 Stuart set out from Wroclaw with Mateusz and Monika at 06.00 this morning. They cycled with him through the city and then for about 30kms.Stuart cycled 92 miles today and has set up camp east of Kalisz just before road 471 at Opalowek. The weather has been very wet today and I think Stuart was glad to finally set up camp after such a long day in the saddle.

03.04.03 Stuart plans to stick mostly to the 'B' roads and to try and stay off the main roads. He has cycled about 53 miles today, if he can keep to about 50 miles a day he hopes to be at the Polish border in 8 - 10 days. His left wrist and leg are rather tender today as the bike is very heavily laden and quite hard to control in the gusty winds.

04.04.03 Another 53 miles today and Stuart is camped in a pine forest about 13 miles from Plock, now almost half way to the Lithuanian border. His wrist is very tender today but at least the weather has dried up. The pine forest is very beautiful and quite noisy at night with owls and deer moving around at night. Mateusz and Monika have assured Stuart that there are no wild bears in Poland. Stuart definitely has someone looking after him, a very kind man has just come up to Stuart and given him a pot of hot tea, a flask of water and 5 litres of water to wash in and using hand signals told Stuart to leave the containers when he goes!

05.04.03 Hard work today very strong northerly headwind all day and flurries of snow. Stuart has cycled for 7 hours today and only just managed to make 50 miles progress through Plock, Drobin and Raciaz he is now camped up for the night. He has been chased and attacked several times yesterday and today by dogs ? feral ones fortunately no bites sustained. However, his left wrist that he hurt when he fell off the bike last month has swollen up considerably and is causing him some concern. After a rummage in the first aid kit he has sorted out some anti-inflammatory tablets and a firm supporting bandage.

06.04.03 Overnight there has been quite a heavy snow fall and the very strong northerly winds continue, the wind chill factor is -10c. In view of the weather Stuart has been forced to stay put today, the roads are dangerous enough without adding blizzards to the equation. I'm sure the rest will probably do the wrist good. The forecast for the next few days is continuing cold, mostly overcast chance of snow on Wednesday. Stuart has asked that nobody contacts him for a while as he wont have a chance to charge up the phone batteries until in Lithuania, I can pass any messages on to him when he contacts me if you let me have them.
 
Thu, 10 Apr 2003 18:49:08 +0200


07.04.03 Overnight 6 inches of snow!! Despite very strong headwinds and snow showers all day Stuart managed 55 miles, average speed about 7 - 8 miles per hour, so another very long day in the saddle and off, as on 3 occasions Stuart was 'sucked' off his bike by passing lorries. The roads are in a very poor condition deeply rutted and potholed with the edges falling away steeply by 6 - 12 inches, most of the traffic makes no effort at all to give any room to cyclists, it's as if they are invisible. This all makes for a very unpleasant cycling experience, trying to control a heavily laden bike in appalling weather conditions on appalling roads and stay out of the way of the traffic. However Stuart did complete 55 miles of the 195 miles to the border with Lithuania passing through Raciaz, Glinojeck, Ciechanow and Przasnysz is now about 20 miles from Ostroleka.

07.04.03 Overnight 6 inches of snow!! Despite very strong headwinds and snow showers all day Stuart managed 55 miles, average speed about 7 - 8 miles per hour, so another very long day in the saddle and off, as on 3 occasions Stuart was 'sucked' off his bike by passing lorries. The roads are in a very poor condition deeply rutted and potholed with the edges falling away steeply by 6 - 12 inches, most of the traffic makes no effort at all to give any room to cyclists, it's as if they are invisible. This all makes for a very unpleasant cycling experience, trying to control a heavily laden bike in appalling weather conditions on appalling roads and stay out of the way of the traffic. However Stuart did complete 55 miles of the 195 miles to the border with Lithuania passing through Raciaz, Glinojeck, Ciechanow and Przasnysz is now about 20 miles from Ostroleka.

 08.04.03 Further heavy snow falls overnight and the wind remains very strong, in view of the weather and given yesterdays experience on the roads Stuart has decided to stay put today.

09.04.03 Massive snowfalls overnight, snow banked up against the tent but at last the wind has dropped, so Stuart has decided to take to the roads again and has managed another 55 miles today via Lomza and is now camped in a pine forest near Stawiski en route to Augustow and the border. His wrist remains very tender but is not so swollen so , hopefully it will settle down again as Stuart clocks up the miles.
 
Thu, 24 Apr 2003 18:06:57 +0200 (CEST)


Hi Everyone - Only 680 kms to Moscow - and that's half way there! Hopefully Stuart will meet some decent folk who will look after him, as he travels across Russia - I have a feeling that hotels and the like are going to be a tad scarce from now on. Latest news passed on from Su below.

14.04.03 Stuart is planning on heading into Vilnius tomorrow as the replacement battery I didn't pack is needed, a camera battery. After that it's full speed ahead for Latvia and Russia.

15.04.03 Stuart seems to be enjoying the same fine and sunny weather that we are and has arrived in Vilnius. He spent quite a frustrating afternoon finding an hotel and then finding a camera shop that sold the right batteries but he was successful so we will all be able to enjoy photos of Lithuania, Latvia and Russia on Stuart's return.

16.04.03 Another sweltering day in Lithuania Stuart has spent today food shopping and doing some bike maintenance an early start is planned for tomorrow. Stuart thinks it should take him 3 or 4 days to get into Russia.

17.04.03 A good days ride covering about 100 miles in pouring rain passing through Moletai, Utena and Zarasai. Stuart is now camped not far from the border with Latvia.

18.04.03 Stuart crossed into Latvia at 11.25 local time (about 2 hours ahead of us). It took him about 2 hours to clear customs and then a hard days cycle across Latvia. Stuart is now about 10 miles from Dagda and about 50 miles from the Russian border Stuart has crossed into Russia on 20.04.03 at 13.30 local time. The border is about 1 mile wide and requires 4 signed, stamped forms to cross. The weather is warm and sunny and the signs say 680 km to Moscow, so it's full steam ahead.
 
Thu, 24 Apr 2003 18:08:01 +0200 (CEST)


23.04.03 Stuart has had a lot of trouble getting a signal for the phone over the last couple of days but has sent me brief details of the last few days, he is very tired and looking forward to getting to Moscow where he is going to stay with Irina's mum for a few days. The roads are one big pothole and Stuart has had to make several repairs to broken panniers. He has been spending nights in bus shelters as there is nowhere to camp as the surrounding area is very boggy and marshy. He has made steady progress each day 62 miles on 21.04.03, 80 miles on 22.04.03 and 90 miles today and is now about 108 miles from Moscow. He plans to split the remaining miles to Moscow into 2 days cycling so he should reach Moscow on Friday.
 
Wed, 30 Apr 2003 18:58:55 +0200

23.04.03 Stuart has had a lot of trouble getting a signal for the phone over the last couple of days but has sent me brief details of the last few days, he is very tired and looking forward to getting to Moscow where he is going to stay with Irina's mum for a few days. The roads are one big pothole and Stuart has had to make several repairs to broken panniers. He has been spending nights in bus shelters as there is nowhere to camp as the surrounding area is very boggy and marshy. He has made steady progress each day 62 miles on 21.04.03, 80 miles on 22.04.03 and 90 miles today and is now about 108 miles from Moscow. He plans to split the remaining miles to Moscow into 2 days cycling so he should reach Moscow on Friday.
 
Wed, 30 Apr 2003 18:58:55 +0200


Stuart arrived in Moscow on Thursday in the worst storm they had had in 130 years in all he cycled 120 miles, the last part on a road like the M25, he was unable to stop and find shelter so he just kept going and going, eventually he had a puncture and stopped. 3 young men came out from the garage where he had stopped to offer their help, it quickly became apparent to them that Stuart was exhausted and unable to carry on. They took him inside and gave him a drink where upon Stuart keeled over and went to sleep. The young men then repaired the puncture and made plans to care for Stuart. Stuart was supposed to have been met by a friend but because of the weather was very late and ended up missing Stuart. The mobile phone had become soaked in the torrential rain and stopped working, all Stuarts contact numbers were in the phone and where he had slipped off the bike in the bad weather and heavy traffic the bar bag had ripped and allowed ingress so hard copies of numbers and address were a bit of a soggy mess. Stuart was by now pretty much beyond caring and desperately in need of food and sleep. The 3 young men kindly took Stuart to their dacha ( summer house ) fed, watered and bedded Stuart down for the night. The next morning the owner of the garage took Stuart in hand and took him home and arranged for him to stay with some friends of his. After several long sleeps and plenty of food Stuart was soon feeling much better. The unpredictable weather continued over the weekend with sun, snow and rain. Stuart enjoyed sightseeing around Moscow and the kind hospitality of his hosts who looked after him very well, Stas, Tanya and German ( I apologise for any spelling mistakes ). Attempts were made to repair Stuart's mobile phone which were partially successful, Stuart can make and receive phone calls but has lost screen functions so he can't make or receive text messages so please don't try and contact him. On Monday Stuart was well rested enough to restart his travels he was helped to the M7 on soon on his way again Stuart will contact me about once a week now so updates will be a bit few and far between. Stuart is very keen to be in Kurgan by the first week in June, his wrist and leg remain extremely tender and painful so hr is rethinking the return journey at the moment.
 
Fri, 16 May 2003 19:07:18 +0200


30.03.04 Stuart cycled about 56 miles on Monday (28.04.03) and then bad weather stopped play, he has been holed up in his tent since then by persistent torrential rain on a small, very soggy patch of grass by the side of the M7 and is very fed up. I've checked the satellite forecast and the weather should be improving soon so with luck Stuart can move on tomorrow. Stuart phoned on 04.05.03 having just found a nice 'motel' to stay overnight. The weather has been very unsettled with good weather interspersed with long days of heavy rain, the wind has just changed and is now coming from the east, straight from Siberia so it's much colder again with early morning frosts but much drier and so nicer to cycle in. The roads remain little more than huge potholes and Russian truck drivers believe that bicycles don't belong on the roads and use their air horns regularly and give Stuart very little room, they frequently have blowouts and the roads are littered with their debris. Stuart cycled 50 miles on Friday and spent Saturday in the tent with heavy rain until late afternoon, this morning he awoke to bright sun and a sharp frost he cycled 30 miles and is now about 30 miles from Nizniy Novgorod. The bar bag has finally given up the ghost and been thrown away, the cycle computer has taken a beating with all the potholes and has had several repairs, Stuart isn't sure how well it's working and to top it all it sounds as if he has an ear infection, anyway he has found somewhere to stay and had a shower, a hot meal and gone to bed!
01.05.03 Sunshine at last, Stuart has broken camp and cycled about 60 miles and is now about 120 miles from Nizhniy Novgorod which he hopes to reach by the weekend. In typical Stuart fashion he was able to meet and make friends with the local roadside traders who took Stuart to their local shops and helped him to buy food and then he was invited to have a meal in one of their dachas, he enjoyed a couple of bowls of good home made soup and some coffee before carrying on. The further east Stuart gets the more people know the name Ilizarov and it seems as soon as Stuart says the name Ilizarov people want to help to help him and are very interested in his challenge. Lets hope the weather holds and with a bit of luck and hard work Stuart should be in Kurgan by June.
Stuart phoned on 09.05.03 he had had a lot of trouble getting a signal and the quality was very poor the gist of the call was he was about 40 miles east of Kazan and had another puncture. He is unwell with an ear and what sounds like a chest infection and almost finished his antibiotics. He has met a couple of ?German orthopaedic nurses touring Russia who are going to Kurgan! He was going to try and contact me again at the weekend and get a better line but so far no luck. The Institute have arranged for 3 people to cycle with Stuart at Ufa if I can get the info to him so fingers crossed the he can get a good signal.
Stuart has just contacted me, he is quite unwell with a chest infection and an infection in his leg. The German couple he met Gisbert and Sylvia and their friend Adrian are orthopaedic nurses they have dressed Stuart's leg and feel that he needs to be in Kurgan sooner rather than later and so Stuart is travelling with them to Chelyabinsk and will be there by 13.05.03 he will then finish the last bit on his own and arrive in Kurgan at the weekend.
 
Wed, 4 Jun 2003 21:46:56 +0200

30.03.04 Stuart cycled about 56 miles on Monday (28.04.03) and then bad weather stopped play, he has been holed up in his tent since then by persistent torrential rain on a small, very soggy patch of grass by the side of the M7 and is very fed up. I've checked the satellite forecast and the weather should be improving soon so with luck Stuart can move on tomorrow. Stuart phoned on 04.05.03 having just found a nice 'motel' to stay overnight. The weather has been very unsettled with good weather interspersed with long days of heavy rain, the wind has just changed and is now coming from the east, straight from Siberia so it's much colder again with early morning frosts but much drier and so nicer to cycle in. The roads remain little more than huge potholes and Russian truck drivers believe that bicycles don't belong on the roads and use their air horns regularly and give Stuart very little room, they frequently have blowouts and the roads are littered with their debris. Stuart cycled 50 miles on Friday and spent Saturday in the tent with heavy rain until late afternoon, this morning he awoke to bright sun and a sharp frost he cycled 30 miles and is now about 30 miles from Nizniy Novgorod. The bar bag has finally given up the ghost and been thrown away, the cycle computer has taken a beating with all the potholes and has had several repairs, Stuart isn't sure how well it's working and to top it all it sounds as if he has an ear infection, anyway he has found somewhere to stay and had a shower, a hot meal and gone to bed!
01.05.03 Sunshine at last, Stuart has broken camp and cycled about 60 miles and is now about 120 miles from Nizhniy Novgorod which he hopes to reach by the weekend. In typical Stuart fashion he was able to meet and make friends with the local roadside traders who took Stuart to their local shops and helped him to buy food and then he was invited to have a meal in one of their dachas, he enjoyed a couple of bowls of good home made soup and some coffee before carrying on. The further east Stuart gets the more people know the name Ilizarov and it seems as soon as Stuart says the name Ilizarov people want to help to help him and are very interested in his challenge. Lets hope the weather holds and with a bit of luck and hard work Stuart should be in Kurgan by June.
Stuart phoned on 09.05.03 he had had a lot of trouble getting a signal and the quality was very poor the gist of the call was he was about 40 miles east of Kazan and had another puncture. He is unwell with an ear and what sounds like a chest infection and almost finished his antibiotics. He has met a couple of ?German orthopaedic nurses touring Russia who are going to Kurgan! He was going to try and contact me again at the weekend and get a better line but so far no luck. The Institute have arranged for 3 people to cycle with Stuart at Ufa if I can get the info to him so fingers crossed the he can get a good signal.
Stuart has just contacted me, he is quite unwell with a chest infection and an infection in his leg. The German couple he met Gisbert and Sylvia and their friend Adrian are orthopaedic nurses they have dressed Stuart's leg and feel that he needs to be in Kurgan sooner rather than later and so Stuart is travelling with them to Chelyabinsk and will be there by 13.05.03 he will then finish the last bit on his own and arrive in Kurgan at the weekend.
 
Wed, 4 Jun 2003 21:46:56 +0200


16.05.03
GREAT NEWS - AFTER CYCLING 5000 MILES ACROSS EUROPE - STUART HAS FINALLY CYCLED TO THE ILIZAROV INSTITUTE TODAY TO A HEROES WELCOME. HE ARRIVED AT 12.30 (Russian time).
He was treated to a heroes welcome. Hundreds of people lined the streets where he cycled towards the Institute and hundreds more were awaiting Stuart inside the grounds of the Institute.
After leaving his bike and staggering up the steps to the entrance of the Institute he finally shook hands with Professor Shevtsov, Director General of the Institute. Many speeches were made and Stuart - constantly being compared to Uri Gagarin - was presented with a multitude of gifts. The most important of the items presented to Stuart was a large bronze medal featuring Stuart cycling on one side and the late Professor Ilizarov on the other. Stuart, together with Professor Shevtsov, Director General of the Institute, then laid flowers at the statue of the late Professor Ilizarov. Stuart was then taken to attend a mass media press conference. A celebration meal followed and then Stuart was given a thorough examination by the professors and doctors of the Institute. (This is essential because Stuart has now got a serious chest infection on top of the infection in his leg which flared up again about 3 weeks ago - he is quite ill and will, unfortunately, have to return home earlier than planned.)
It was decided on Monday 19.5.03 that Stuart should return home and a flight was arranged for Tuesday 20.5.03. There was a party of UK Orthopaedic Consultants returning home from the Institute on the Tuesday and it was felt that Stuart would be advised to travel home with them.
Everyone was very upset that Stuart had to leave after only a few days as a full program - spread over fourteen days - had been prepared. Stuart was devastated that he would have to return early as he had cycled 5000 miles to get to the Institute in Siberia but reluctantly he took the advice of the doctors at the Institute and flew home on Tuesday 20.5.03.
He arrived home late Tuesday evening - after a total of 21 hours travelling in total. He will remain in bed until the chest infection improves. He will begin the surgery to correct the deformities of his left leg and wrist/hand in about two months.

 
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