Posted by: selfcenteredcyclist | September 9, 2009

Everything has been figured out, except how to live.

What a pretentious twat he is. Put down the world Atlas and relax!

First i will take this hair, grown from a petri dish in California under the watchful guise of well known metrosexual hair transplant surgeon Dr Muff Tache.

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After tattooing the patients head, I can work out the density of hair needed to cover the surface area.

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The concentration required to get the balance of hair application right is very important. The patient’s assymetrical face make it more difficult, apply with even strokes otherwise you might end up with clumps, a mullet or dreadlocks. God forbid a white man with dreads?!

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I wonder why he did not choose to have ginger hair like my own? This black colour is so bland and unflattering. The shape of this hair has been set to unoriginal balding high hairline mode.

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The patient cannot believe the transformation. The applicator is a truly remarkable tool,  now time to remove those shorts and I will give you some of my own.

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Posted by: selfcenteredcyclist | August 11, 2009

Drexciyans on Route E20 to Piter

If India is an assualt on the senses, Russia is an assault on your person. Grass taller than me, forests that run for miles, wild dogs that can smell the meat under your skin, beautiful lakes, shopkeepers who sign your journal and stamp it to be official. I had entered Gdov from the south, it seemed a one road city, I cycled through it in about 15 mins, had to turn around and look for the city again. Passing me by like a fleeting glance from a woman, Gdov lies on Lake Pepsi.

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I had camped on Pepsi before but on the Estonian side. Cycling towards the lake, a dog soaking wet walked past me, every other step turning round to look, I got off my bike and slowly walked past. The dog had turned the corner, I thought about the deranged look in it’s eyes. Seconds later, the dog came running from out of view, teeth out paws clenches, put up your dukes cyclist! Right left right left. I moved the bike between the dog and I shouting “Fucking hell! Fuck off!” – the bike between us worked, the dog backed off. I shifted backwards, tail between my legs, infact as I was scared I had no tail! DSC05291

Camping by the lake, the water and clouds stormy, looked magnificent. Moving away from the lake, I stopped to ask an old man about directions to Gdov centre, he did not reply, I asked again and he pointed me in the right direction. I was about 20kms north of Gdov about 2 hours later, stopped to put Vaseline on my rather sore groin, with a finger full of vaseline, an Army Jeep approaches and a rather official man gets out, walks up to me and starts to speak russian. I was confused and slightly embarassed, thinking they were intrigued by my bicycle. There were three soldiers in the jeep with the official looking gentleman, I asked if anyone spoke english. No-one did, but someone replied “No Passport”. I had my passport, getting it from the my handlebar bag, I handed it over. The gentleman looked through the passport, then replied “Gdov, Gdov”, He was implying I return to Gdov. I said “Nyeht, St Petersburg”.

I felt uneasy and unsafe, did the Army have jurisdiction to order civilians in Russia? They certainly do not in the UK. The gentleman offered to put my bicycle in the back of the jeep, I declined. He then stopped a passing van, I could put it to the back of the van and come to Gdov. Could I shite. I was adamant the only way I would return to Gdov was by the means I came, on bicycle. My paranoia about russian corruption did not help. I had an impression it was a trick. Turning my bicycle around after about 30 minutes of broken conversation, the jeep followed behind me back to the city. I cycled incredibly slowly, sipping water. I turned round to catch the people in the jeep laughing when I sipped the water, their light heartedness put me at ease. I opened my russian phrase book to find the words for “Where Police Station?” – “Gdyeh Meelyeetsah?” I had prepared to ask, if the army took me to an unofficial house or building.

Entering Gdov, we stopped outside an army barracks, stepping off my bicycle, the old man that I had earlier asked for directions, got out of the jeep. At this instance, I knew why they had arrested me. They thought I had entered Russia from the lake, the old man had told them. The paranoid old fool! I could not look the old man in the eyes, shaking his hand, I said “Spasseebah” Thank you in Russian. I hoped he realised that I was a tourist on a bicycle, not an illegal immigrant. The old man doing his part for his country, a good citizen.

Walking through the barracks, I was led into a building, into an office with a long table. Asked kindly to sit down and told to give my passport. There were three men in the room, the offical looking one from the jeep and two officers. All three took notes as I explained my route to Gdov, through Pesari and Pskov, camping by the river, a lake and Lake Pepsi. I was in the room for about two hours, one officer looked at my photographs, he wanted to copy them but I had no usb lead. Another took an inventory of all my belongings, the paperwork was extensive, I was told I had broken protocol. They explained to be in the area of Gdov, I needed a special pass, which my tourist visa did not cover. I could see they realised, I did not know what act of treason I had committed.

It was quite humourous, sitting in the office, there was a photo of a general on the wall and the furniture reminded me of the simple wooden lacquered furniture that I used to see when visiting the old boy in an RAF barracks. I was released with a fine of 300rbs, and could not pay the money direct to them. I was escorted to a bank where I paid into a counter. I could see they wanted no allegations of corruption, even when the officer took an inventory of my things, there were two civilian witnesses in the room. Finally, leaving Gdov at 4pm, I cursed the old man but it gave me a good idea to cycle all the way to St. Petersburg AKA Piter in one hit – through the night.

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Going through Slancy, an owner of a petrol station gave me a red/gold banded ribbon, we exchanged names – he said the ribbon represented anti-facism. With head torch and rear light, I cycled to Kingisepp in the pouring rain – everything on the bike was wet. My wallet was soaked through. What had happened with the army had given me a burst of energy, my state of mind was quite determined. Downwards rotation motion never felt so easy, John Lydon was right, the night sky was bright till after midnight. Then the forests enclosedme, sometimes I could only see the white road line infront, to the west of my view the sky shone bright but north darker like the inside of Vanessa del Rio’s bumhole. The repetitive motion and not being able to see my surroundings, made the time and distance fly by.

I stopped by an all night shop, asked a truck driver how far it was to St.Petersburg, “60 kms” he wrote on a window, a mere hop, skip and a jump for a cyclist. The same truck driver then offered to take me in his lorry, for a split second the thought of ruining the ride came then went, “No I answered in an instant. Being so tired and still having to cycle, did make the offer appealing, but for some reason cycling at night filled me with excitement, places were still and the roads quiet and the the limited view filled me with wonder.

Posted by: selfcenteredcyclist | July 26, 2009

This house is an experiment…

Arriving in Talinn capital of Estonia, I decided to buy my host Erko a bottle of Baileys as a welcoming present. This was my second time using couchsurfing, a free hosting accommodation community that is becoming increasingly popular. Following the directions to the house, I thought of Erko being a family man he would welcome me to his house and let me meet his family. Seeing the house for the first time, it looked like a squat. Very open and anarchist like, windows open and covered in art. A sign welcomed me “Look around the corner”, cautious and with trepidation I stepped off the bicycle.

The house had a cafe inside and the door was open. Walking through to the kitchen, there were many people inside it had the feel of a hostel. I asked “Is Erko here?”, a man washing up looked at me “Who?” so rewind and repeat “Is Erko here?” “Aaah, Errrrrrrrko” I forgot to accentuate the r sound. Loosen your tongue young man. Showing me to a dining area, I found out I had just missed tea. Indian curry and chai. Greetings and welcomes were made, I was introduced to many people their names flashing up like a road sign than passing by as if I was driving 100 mph. How do people remember the names of all the people they meet? Is it only through getting to know someone and building a picture of what that person is like can you get to associate their name with their person.

Someone wants to use the internet here . So must dash. Anyways this house is jokingly called a communist experiment. People are free to come and go as they choose, people help out, you can donate money to pay for food/drink and all nationalities are here. I shared an attic with 10 people, all mattresses on the floor for two days.

I have decided to cross the border to Pstov in the south of Estonia then cycle to St Petersburg, met a bald english guy here called Jimmy the shaman of russian travel full of useful info. The russian countryside will blow the imagination like an Rhythm and Sound b-line.

Posted by: selfcenteredcyclist | July 17, 2009

John Jensen and the curly wig

Was cycling through Marijenpole, on the way to Kaunas last night and saw many people moving towards the same direction. Decided to follow the herd and ended up in a European cup game between FC Suduva and Randers FC. Randers FC are managed by John Jensen, the man who had never scored for Arsenal before that goal.

He looked slightly fatter, lost the curly buffon but the face was still there. I feel slightly lost sometimes here, the changes in language and money mean I got to hard reset all that I have learned. Start all over again as I cross each border. Camped by a lake last night in Marijempole, was pretty open the spot where I camped. Woke up in the morning, to find two mosquitoes somehow in my sealed inner tent, shit! One was filled with blood. What is the reason for a mosquitoe to suck blood? Is it to feed? Does it take it somewhere else? These are the kind of questions I ponder to myself as I cycle along. Joiner needs to be here, to shoot me down from my pretentious fuckwit cloud. BAAANG! Super. Great. Smashing.

Posted by: selfcenteredcyclist | July 9, 2009

The Hobo Code

For those on the road, there is a code of conduct a sort of communication between people who are in the know. I let my other cycle tourers know about what a house or farm is like, by leaving a symbol or mark on a suitable place. The best place tends to be the inside thigh of a female on the land. A place which sadly eludes but like the carrot on the end of a stick it dangles just out of reach.  If anyone else sees the symbol, it tells them what lies ahead. Now back to that carrot!

Learn your hobo code Kids!

Learn your hobo code Kids!

Posted by: selfcenteredcyclist | July 5, 2009

Berlin and the 4th of July

Gots all the way to Berlin using my trusty steed. Don’t have the time to update the blog often which is a shame. It is a lesson in human survival but a really good adventure. Wild camping in half finished houses, getting a dutch lesson from a chinese man, shaving off the barnett from Piet in Amersfoort, drinking lots of decent beer, cycling through Hannover with Aril Brikha Deeparture in Time – the DET never sounded so good, celebrating 4th of July having a campout with Americans and there have been lots of serendipity moments where it seems like I am taking the right way.

Berlin is just a city where even the mums and dads are alternative. Alternative everywhere. There are white families and they have all got dreadlocks, that’s the kind of place it is. Art Mecca. I was staying in a campsite that used to be an old open air swimming pool complex, they simply emptied the pool and rubbed off the swimming pool sign and put Tent Station. If you from Berlin you would take a vibrator and put a dummy on the top to turn it into a baby water bottle. Re-use. Re-hash. Re-claim.

Onwards to Poland. #Insert sound of hooves here#

Posted by: selfcenteredcyclist | June 9, 2009

Bike fully loaded

The Dawes mobile is ready for a battering.  Got two panniers and a dry bag only for the duration of the trip.  Bike has been given a service and good overall going over (Cheers Neil!). Doesn’t feel too heavy on a test run still when I am only carrying a spade and two rolls of toilet paper it isn’t going to, is it? What else does a man need?

It’s just me, my spade and toilet rolls. The saying goes travel light travel far, maybe I could travel to the Moon?

Posted by: selfcenteredcyclist | June 8, 2009

This one’s for you Ron!

Setting off from Carterton in Oxfordshire along the Euro Cycle Route R1, meeting friends in Holland, Germany and Poland to eventually cycle in Russia from St Petersburg to Moscow. A three month adventure on my lonesome.

Reign it in. A friend keeps telling me to do just that.

Inspired by Gwen Maka, who transported me from a library in Skelmersdale to riding with Indians in North America. I would just like to see something I have not seen before.

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