In an extract from his book – Crystal Palace to Red Square – A Hapless Biker’s Road to Russia – follow Kevin Turner as he rides and 12-year-old Kawasaki Ninja 636 to Moscow…
Last August I embarked on a 6,000 mile motorcycle adventure, from London, up through Norway and across Finland to Moscow. I gave myself three weeks to squeeze in a trip that should rightly have taken three months (or rather, my employer gave me three weeks…)
Still, over those 21 days, I experienced some of the most wonderful moments of my motorcycling life, and also some of the worst. I rode along the extraordinary Trollstigen pass in Norway and felt my heart skip a beat as I looked down on the majestic Geirangerfjord; I experienced first-hand the beauty of St Petersburg and felt the presence of so much history in the Russian capital. And I also came very close to a horrible, mangled death beneath the wheels of 1,000 enormous trucks as I bounced across the loose rock and rubble which constitute so many of Russia’s roads.
The journey represented the culmination of ten years of riding: it was a challenge set for no good reason; a mountain to climb simply because it was there. Throughout, my only companion was my bike, a 12-year-old Ninja 636; stock, except for the after-market exhaust, a tinted screen and a few too many stickers.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s nigh-on impossible to pinpoint a single highlight from a trip packed full of discovery and surprise, but my time spent riding through Norway was very special. The beauty, the silence, the isolation felt like one long soul-cleansing experience after so many frantic rush-hour battles across London.
As a counterpoint, the brutal reality of th