As of today, the number of registered bikers has exceeded 100,000 in Moscow. There is, however, a big difference between just having a motorcycle and being part of an organized biking community. Moscow bike clubs can be categorized in a number of ways, ranging from the territory/district to which they belong to their motorcycle preference.
Although the motorcycle season traditionally starts in May, the first tours take place as early as April and usually last until the first snow and the steady consistent low temperatures hit in November. Some bikers prefer not to stick with tradition of biking only in the warmer months, preferring to do a winter season instead, as is the case with MotoMoskvaRussian: МотоМосква. Russians are not afraid of cold weather! In any case, a biker’s cold weather equipment and special snow tires for his two-wheeled buddy make biking a pleasant pastime even in winter. For the latest information about the dates and locations of the motorcycle season, please visit the official websites of major motorcycle societies. All that being said, where can you find bikers in Moscow?
SPARROW HILLS (VOROBYOVY GORY)
You can meet different biker subculture representatives here. In the summertime, ‘Gora’ is attended by hundreds of bikers of different ages, riding all kinds of motorcycles. There is no difference here between choppers and sport bikes. Here you will see both handmade bikes and bikes with car motors. The reason bikers come here is to socialize with like-minded people, to show off their new acquisitions or to flirt with their female counterparts rather than just to race motorcycles. It is also where the annual motorcycle season opens. Last but not least, the observation platform on Vorobyovy Gory is a great place to take in the enormous size of Moscow and see a lot of landmarks at the same time.
The bikers’ exact meeting place on ‘Gora’ is difficult to determine, because at different times the number of bikers varies here from a few dozen to several thousand people, and no wonder that the observation platform can be a little too small to fit all of them. The traditional meeting place for bikers is thought to be the observation platform on Vorobyovy Gory at the intersection of Kosygina StreetRussian: ulitsa Kosygina or улица Косыгина and Universitetskiy DrivewayRussian: Universitetskiy proezd or Университетский проезд (Vorobyovy Gory Metro Station).
‘Gora’ is, above all, used for socializing, while Khodynskoye PolyeRussian: Ходынское поле is where bikers meet to test their motorcycles. An aerodrome airfield was once located here, so it is really a great place to ride motorcycles. The only drawback is that determining the exact address is even tougher, with participants agreeing beforehand on a time and place, sometimes on websites dedicated to motorcycle communities. Address: Khodynskoye Polye, Khodynsky BoulevardRussian: Khodynskiy bulvar or Ходынский бульвар.
Another place where bikers hang out is the main entrance to VDNKhRussian: ВДНХ, or The Exhibition of the Achievements of the National EconomyRussian: Vystavka dostizheniy narodnogo hozyaystva or Выставка достижений народного хозяйства, where they meet almost every day throughout the year (and every day in summer). This place is traditionally considered to belong to Motory VVTsRussian: Моторы ВВЦ motorcycle community, so it is not really a good idea to show up here and without having some interest in the local biking culture. Like most major motorcycle clubs in Moscow, Motory VVTs has its own website where you can find all the necessary information about their meetings.
If you have never been to VDNKh, you can combine socializing with your biker friends and getting familiar with one of Moscow’s major landmarks. Address: 119, Mira AvenueRussian: prospekt Mira or проспект Мира.
If you are wondering how to combine a visit to Moscow’s tourist destinations with insights into the bikers’ world, head straight to Stary Arbat StreetRussian: ulitsa Staryi Arbat or улица Старый Арбат.
It contains the Sixties bar (Block 2, 16, ArbatRussian: Арбат Street), a favourite meeting places for Moscow’s bikers. Its interiors are reminiscent of the United States in the sixties with pictures and movie posters and, on the ceiling, an outline of the historic Route 66. A few bikes are always parked next to the bar, while their owners chat inside the bar or socialize outside.
A stroll along Stary Arbat Street is a pleasure in and of itself. Here, you will see the well-known Viktor Tsoi WallRussian: stena Viktora Tsoya or стена Виктора Цоя, dedicated to one of the most influential personalities of Russian rock music. Generally speaking, representatives of various subcultures get together daily on Stary Arbat, so a walk along this street promises to be quite interesting.
THE NIGHT WOLVES MOTORCYCLE CENTRE
The Sexton Motorcycle Centre is thought to be the largest and oldest place with a focus on biker subculture. It is named after a motorcycle club that existed in Berlin back in the 1980s. After its closure, the pioneers of the Soviet biker’s movement, the Night WolvesRussian: Nochnyie volki or Ночные волки, decided to revive the Sexton club in Moscow, on the site of a former car salvage yard on Nizhniye Mnevniki StreetRussian: ulitsa Nizhnie Mnevniki or улица Нижние Мневники.
Today, the Sexton Centre is a city in its own right, where you can enjoy impressive interiors, admire various models of motorcycles and talk to bikers and all those who share their lifestyle. Riding around motorcycles here is, however, impossible because of the lack of a race venue. The legendary motorcycle workshop is also located here, and its maintenance staff create pieces of work known throughout Russia and internationally. Despite the club’s narrow area of interest, everyone is welcome in the Centre, whether he or she has a motorcycle or not.
The Centre hosts various events on a regular basis, including discos featuring rock group performances and fire shows. The start of the motorcycle season is celebrated here annually, and the small-scale but vivid MadMaxRussian: МэдМакс shows take place almost every Saturday, featuring stuntmen and acrobats. There is also a hotel at your disposal in the Centre, in case you are too exhausted to make it home. The Centre is located at 110, Nizhniye Mnevniki Street, Moscow.
THE NIGHT TRAIN BAR
The Night Train Bar, located on the Third Ring RoadRussian: Trete Transportnoe Koltso or Третье Транспортное Кольцо, is yet another place that can be rightly called a retreat for bikers. It looks like a train yard with a train standing next to it, and thus appears to be living up to its name.
The bar’s interiors have nothing reminiscent of trains, however; they look more like a real American saloon. Beer casks surround the tables, old photos, tablets and posters hang on the walls, and there is even a motorcycle on display inside. The owners claim that it is regular visitors to the bar who have designed the interiors, so no wonder this place has a cozy but eclectic atmosphere.
Have a chat to some bikers over a beer on tap and enjoy the country, rock and blues music, traditional to this bar. Prices are fair here, and this makes food taste even better. On Fridays and Saturdays, you can stay here until 5am, and the bar is open until 2 a.m. on weeknights. The Night Train Bar is located on the outside of the Third Ring Road at Block 2, 7a, 1st Ugreshsky DrivewayRussian: 1-y Ugreshskiy proezd or 1-й Угрешский проезд.
THE «ROCK HOUSE» SHOW BAR
When thinking about bikers’ musical preferences, what comes immediately to mind is the Rock House concert venue, a small show arena which can seat up to 500 people. Various Russian and foreign rock bands, both popular and more niche, perform here. On the surface, it seems that the Rock House Bar is a conventional club featuring standard interiors but what brings bikers here is its musical performances. Based on feedback from visitors, acoustics aren’t bad in the Rock House Bar, with the service and menu reported to be largely satisfactory as well. The show bar is located at 71e, Izmaylovskoye HighwayRussian: Izmaylovskoe shosse or Измайловское шоссе, Moscow.
A FEW MORE PLACES
If you feel like spending some time among bikers, the best thing to do is to check out a website of a motorcycle club close to you or add yourself to a social network group and talk to people there. You can then go to one of the regular biker hangouts without the awkwardness of just wandering in off the street without having introduced yourself first.
Here are a few more places connected to the biker culture in Moscow:
SVAO Moto BarRussian: СВАО Мото Бар: 24, OlonetskayaRussian: Олонецкая Street, Moscow
Bolivar Rock BarRussian: Рок-бар Боливар: Block 1, 4, 1st Avtozavodsky DrivewayRussian: 1-y Avtozavodskiy proyezd or 1-й Автозаводский проезд, Moscow
‘U Stariny Khenka’ Motorcycle CaféRussian: Moto-kafe «U stariny Khenka» or Мото-кафе «У старины Хэнка»: 55, 3rd Parkovaya StreetRussian: 3-ya Parkovaya ulitsa or 3-я Парковая улица, Moscow© 2016-2018 moscovery.com