Cyclists' Touring Club ORION


Restored  in 2004 from a printed copy

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NEWSLETTER of  the Volgograd Cyclists' Touring Club "ORION"

$1.25 No. 1 Summer 1990

   English edition of the Newsletter is issued quarterly for distribution among foreign members and bicycle related organizations


A Message from the PresidentPavel Protopopov and his son Anton

You are reading the first issue of our new venture - the English edition of our Club newsletter. To tell you the truth, it is very unusual for a club in the Soviet Union to have its own newsletter. It was strictly prohibited in the era of so called stagnation period and even after perestroika began such unauthorized activity was scowled upon.

Now, after the first of August, when the new Law on the press and other mass media has come into force, all the legal restrictions have been removed, censorship cancelled - go ahead, hurrah!.. Come, come, not so quickly... And where do you intend to print your newspaper? We have only state and Party publishing houses. Where are you going to get paper? There is shortage of paper even for central newspapers. So here we are. I do not know what does it cost to a cycling club in the West to publish newsletters but here it is titanic work. But nevertheless. We consider it our duty to issue this English edition even more than the Russian one in order to provide two way flow of information between East and West.

Who knew even five years ago of cycle tourists from Russia? In letters I receive from abroad Western cyclists write with surprise: "Why! So you have cycle touring too!" And who knows there how to make cycling trip in this country? We have so many specific (exotic) local problems... Besides, our cycle touring is not like that in other countries - this is unique kind of sports, not only traveling. Who knows about it?

Our Club is rather young but energetic, determined and eager to establish broad relations with all cycling organizations in the world. We were severed from outer world and are now going to make up for the time lost. Salute to everybody!

Pavel Protopopov

Volgograd Cyclists' Touring Club

The first independent public-supported bicycling organization in Russia. Volgograd Cyclists Touring Club was founded in 1980 as the Volgograd Cycle Touring Commission to promote recreational and sports bicycle touring. In 1987 it acquired its present name.

The Club is affiliated with the Russian Cyclists' Touring Club, the Bikecentennial's National Bicycle Club Network, the British Cyclists' Touring Club, the French Federation of Cycle Tourism, the Rough-Stuff Fellowship.

President: :Pavel Protopopov
Director: Valery Komotchkov
Chairman of Council: Igor Rumyantsev
Membership coordinator: Galina Livshits
Editor: Vadim Gavrilov
Advertisement manager: Elena Gavrilova

Foreign membership: $12 per annum. Advertising rates: 1 sq. cm. costs $.50

Publisher SCC "Altair"


Opening season 90

This 7 km race which we named Try yourself can be considered as opening season only conditionally, as many of our members cycle all - year - round notwithstanding frosts and slippery roads and other winter inconveniences. But nevertheless, the beginning of April, when soil thaws out and the first grass begins to shoot timidly, is the time for the most to take bikes off a hook.

(continued on the back page)


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Our dream of good roads

"Rare Russian does not like fast riding" - said Gogol, the connoisseur of Slav character. But in spite of this love, little attention was payed to the quality of roads at all times. Being a trial both for motorists and cyclists in peaceful times, our roads saved us during invasions, and enemy's hordes stuck in the mud of the Great Russian Plain. Although half a century has passed since the last invasion, our roads look like wolf-holes in readiness Tor a sudden attack.

One can well assume that the roads state was one of the reasons for the development of sports cycle touring , which is the unique feature of this country. This a kind of sports, where participants do not compete with each other but with road conditions and other obstacles (sports' cycle touring will be spoken of in our President's serial "Bicycle Touring in Russia4).

Riding on Russian roads is a serious trial for bicycle strength, cyclist's fitness and humor capacity. And if our touring bikes work after years of riding and after thousands kilometers, then they are strong. As for foreign cyclists, ATB will be the best for the most of Russia.

We are now beginning to make tentative exploration trips abroad. Cycling along the average road "there" we are sighing and saying to ourselves: "This can't be so because this never can be so . One seems to be able to cycle and to sleep in the saddle at the same time. Here it is impossible now. Will it always be so?

Vadim Gavrilov


VCTC is 10 years old

The 10-th anniversary of the cyclists' touring organization of Volgograd will be celebrated on September 29-30. Guests from other Russian cities and from abroad are invited.

Cycle Touring Competition

Traditional competition on cycle touring technique for the championship of Volgograd will be held as usual on October 6-7. Contact: Igor Rumyantsev, 34-72-90.

Closing season 90

The race Try Yourself similar to that of April 8 (see the front page) will be held on October 14. Organizer Yury Kruglov, 36-28-34.



1. Join the VCTC"Orion".

Membership includes four issues of "Velotourist" as well as other benefits.

2. Subscribe to "Velotourist".

Annual subscription costs only $5.00 and you'll know about cycling life in Russia!


World Tour in Volgograd

The team of two Americans, Dan and Steve Beauthner, and two Soviet cyclists, Vladimir Kovalenko and Alexander Razumenko, came through Volgograd on June 22 in the course of their round-the-world cycle marathon Minneapolis -Novosibirsk - Minneapolis. They started from Minneapolis on April 1 this year and cycled keeping to the 45 parallel through the USA, flied over the ocean, then crossed France, Italy, Yugoslavia, Romania, then in the USSR: Kishinev - Odessa -Rostov - Volgograd. The further route lies through the Urals, Siberia and the Far East 9f the USSR. They plan to finish their tour in Minneapolis in October. This event is sponsored by the "3M" Company, the "Rally" firm, whose bikes the four is riding, and the Tomsk Shoe Factory.

VMW Annual Meeting

The Third Annual Meeting of Cycle Touring sponsored by the Volgograd Motor Works was held on June 16-17 in a lovely place near the Swan-Lawn state farm in the Volga-Akhtuba inter-river flood-lands. The program was as interesting and uncommon as in the previous cases and included competitions in chopping a log, raising fire, orienting, very difficult distance of trial. Winners were awarded with the big, skillfully carved wooden medals.

Guest from West Germany

72-year-old cyclist from Koln Ewald Endres has made the 3800 km trip from Koln to Volgograd on the invitation from ORION. He started on July 3 and reached Volgograd exactly in a month, on August 3. Ibis is his second try, the last year attempt was only in part successful: he had had to interrupt his trip due to gastric disease provoked by the local food. Mr. Endres has received a warm welcome from the Volgograd Mayor, Mr. Starovatykh, also experienced cyclist.

The German guest has been greatly interested in our Club's competition in skilful driving, which he attended when staying in Volgograd. He noted that German cyclists have not practiced such competitions so far, put will possibly participate in ours in the future.


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Bicycle Touring in Russia

Pavel Protopopov

Chapter 1. History

In 1882 seven members of the new founded Bicycling Society of Saint Petersburg cycled 270 km from the city to Imatra Falls. This ride can be considered as a starting point of organized cycle touring in our country. Next year the first cycling competitions were held in Moscow. In 1888 the Moscow Cyclists' Club was founded which became one of the most active bicycling organizations in the end of XIX century. In 1892 the first issue of the "Velocipede" ("Bicycle") magazine was published. There also appeared magazines "Samokat" ("Pedal -Cycle") and "Tsiklist" ("Cyclist").

In 1895 Cyclists' Touring Society of the Russian Touring Club was founded in Petersburg with sections in Moscow, Kiev, Riga and other cities. Four years later it began publishing the magazine "Russian Tourist". In 1901 the Cyclists' Touring Society was transformed into the Russian Touring Society (RTS) but bicycle touring remained predominant.

In 1911-1913 a Russian cyclist O. Pankratov made the first world tour. He started from Harbin in June 1911. crossed Siberia, reached Petersburg, then cycled through Germany to Italy and other European countries. From England he went to Northern America where he crossed the Nebraska Desert and Sierra-Nevada Mountains, then appeared in Japan and arrived to Harbin in Jury 19l3. For this trip Pankratov was awarded with the Diamond Star by the UCI.

It seems now that bicycle touring had been becoming rather popular.

During the World War 1, subsequent revolutions, and Civil War the RTS ceased its activity which was resumed in 1924. But as the RTS consisted mainly of intellectuals and there were no workers in it it did not suit the new country leadership. In 1929 the RTS was liquidated and the Proletarian Touring Society (PTS) of the RSFSR was formed instead of it. Next year the FTS was transformed into the All-Union Voluntary Society of Proletarian Tourism and Excursions (SPTE).

This period can be considered as the end of organized bicycle touring in Russia ib the first half of the XX century. Soon the SPTE from a public organization became a state-controlled institution - Touring and Excursion Administration which is now called the Central Council for Tourism and Excursions.

Nevertheless some cyclists made long trips in those years, the most remarkable one being the three-year trip along the borders of the USSR by G. Travin.

Revival of bicycle touring in Russia began in the middle of sixties. The first (and now the oldest) became the Gorky cycle Touring Section founded in 1966 (the Chairman all these years has been V. V. Morzhakov). A few years later similar sections appeared in Leningrad (former Petersburg), Sverdlovsk (Yekaterinburg), Kazan. Rapid spreading of bicycle touring sections followed the formation of touring federations in the most of Russian regions by late seventies. Sections were renamed into commissions and included in federations.

Along with commissions the network of touring clubs was forming, some of them specializing in bicycle touring. In 1987 the first independent bicycle touring club in Russia - our Club appeared. The same year the Bicycle Sports Federation of the USSR created Cycling Union "Peleton" which united former racing cyclists and deals in part with bicycle touring events.

Quite recently, in March 1990, the First All-Russian Conference on Cycle Tourism was held in the Moscow Region and the Russian Cyclists' Touring Club was founded anew. We, Russian cyclists, hope that it will give a new impulse to cycle touring activity in Russia.

Reference. In this chapter the book by A. A. Bulgakov "Velotourism dlya vsekh" ("Bicycle Touring for Everybody"), M., 1984 is used in part.


The publication of "Velotourist" is possible now as the Law on the Press has been adopted in this country. But..

Acute shortage of printing facilities, which are almost exclusively in the hands of the state and party organizations, put many obstacles before us.

We need program complex for a publisher, something like Ventura Publisher and a PC with a LaserJet.

'Velotourist" is looking for sponsors in the hope that somebody "behind the curtain" will want to support the first, weak yet, communication link of Russian bicycle tourists with the outer cycling world.


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New Russian Club Founded

The First All-Russian Conference on Cvcle Tourism which was held in March 1990 near Moscow set up the Russian Cyclists' Touring Club (RCTC). Our president Pavel Protopopov was a delegate of this Conference from Volgograd and was elected the Secretary for International Relations of the new-founded club. Alexander Sychov from Moscow became the first President of the RCTC. The address of the temporary headquarters of the RCTC and of its President is as follows: Baumanski RTK, K.Marx ul., 20/2, 107066 Moscow, USSR, telephone 267^4-68.

Russian Meeting

The All-Russian Meeting of cycle tourists in memory ol K.E.Tsiolkovsky will be held in Ryazan on 6-7 October 1990.

Tsiolkovsky, founder of the jet-propulsion theory, was a great admirer of bicycle.

Meetings of Russian cyclists in his memory are traditional in Ryazan. Now cyclists from the other Union Republics as well as foreign cyclists are invited.

The Meeting comprises 120-km ride, cycling trial, competitions on figure driving, slide and film shows.

Contact: V.V.Mironenko,
Kombavnovaya ul., 13-84, Ryazan

International Meeting

A team of twelve cyclists from the RCTC took part in the Third International Meeting of Cycle Tourists from Socialistic (now former) Countries in Poland. Teams from different Russian cities (Vologda, Perm, Volgograd and others; were there too. ^Taking into account the recent changes in the East European countries, it is not surprising that cyclists from only three states: East Germany, the USSR and Poland were at the Meeting.

Heads of delegations decided the Meeting of 199 held in the Soviet Union. Russia and Ukraine will probably contend for the right to receive the Meeting. But in any case the change of me name seems necessary.

(continued on the back page)


We offer help to all cyclists, cycle touring organizations, travel companies wishing to make cycling tours in the Soviet Union.

We can work out routes, receive groups and lead tours with all formalities necessary.
Commercial and currency-free agreements are possible.


We offer a wide choice of routes both in the Volgograd region and in the USSR as a whole. Routes vary from easy ones for leisure riding to difficult rough-stuff adventures in wild regions presenting real challenge. We can also develop a route at your request rendering all services necessary.


A scarcity of first-class hotels in the Soviet Union is a well-known fact. But we beleive that small inns and private houses, meeting with friendly people, flavour of local cuisine can compensate the lack of high-standard accomodation. Camping in beautiful places is also possible.


We can offer support van, sag wagon, bicycle rental, services of an interpreter and mechanic. All tours are guided py experienced leaders. All transportation inside the USSR from airport of arrival to starting point and from the ending point are also provided.



Naturally, we have no letters to our Newsletter yet as it has just appeared, but we invite you to write to us.

Everything would be interesting when you write of cycling life in your world, of your impressions when visiting Russia. You can ask any questions about Russia and about how we live and we shall try to satisfy your curiosity.

The Editor


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Touring in the Crimea

Valery Komotchkov

The Crimea. It symbolizes the sea, the sun and recreation for everybody in this country. The Crimea is of interest for tourists of every kind. It attracts people not only by the unusual variety of landscapes on a relatively small territory and by a great number of wonders of nature, but also by association with masterpieces of famous writers, poets and artists, which turn the Crimea into a fairy tale kingdom.

Every year from April till October the Crimea awaits the members of our Club. And every year newcomers to the Club as well as veterans who visited the Crimea more than once make tours of the peninsula. They come to the Crimea to walk along the Stone Crocodiles Coast, to wander in the Ghost Valley, to drink fresh water from the Jur-Jur Waterfalls, to admire the moonpath in the Bay of Koktebel near the Cara-Dag (the Black Mountain in Tatar), to visit the Grand Canyon, or to swim in the grottos of Atlesh.

It is impossible to visit all the places of interest in the Crimea during one trip. Many times we have visited the Crimea and every time we discover something new for ourselves.

(continued on the page 7)



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Companions wanted

Experienced English and German-speaking cyclist seeks pen-friends for the exchange of cycling and other information, mutual visits, possible joint adventures. Can deliver information useful for cycling in the USSR. Contact Olcg Petrukhin, Lgovskaya ul., 2-5, Volgograd, 400088, USSR.

Interregional Centre of Small Enterprises and Farms seeks partners willing to render help on economically expedient terms to the development of fdaeming in small forms in the Volgograd Region.
General Director Sergei P. Andreyev, Tkachova ul.. 7, Volgograd, 400087, USSR, Telephone 37-8447. -

Small enterprise "Altair", which conducts business affairs of ORION, is planning construction of a mobile hotel on the basis of a heavy truck. This hotel will be used for the accommodation of foreign cyclists during trips in the USSR and neighboring countries. Approximate cost could be about $ 25000 - 50000. "Altair" needs financial and material help and seeks partners on the mutually beneficial conditions. Would be grateful for any assistance.
Contact: Pavel Protopopov, Lenina pr. 22-14, Volgograd 400066, USSR

Private wants

Seeking old and used bike computers, interested in other electronics not obligatory connected with bikes. Can offer for exchange (for collection) mechanical speedometer pf the Soviet production and other items of Soviet exotics. Ilya Philippov, Komsomolskaya ul. 8-25, Volgograd 400066, USSR. .

Information wanted

Family cycling section of "Orion" is planning a cycle trip with small children from Volgograd to France in July of 1991. Would appreciated information on cycling in France and intermediate countries and all possible help including material and financial in organization of this trip. Sergei Paramonov, VCTC "Orion", Lenina pr., 22-14, Volgograd



Do you want information, help or a companion when planning bicycle tour to the USSR?

Do you want to sale, change or to buy something in Russia?

You can reach Russian bicyclists, clubs and bicycle specialists through the "Classified Information" column of me Russian edition of "Velotourist". $.20 per word, free for members


The First Russian Bike Video!

How Russian cycle tourists make their trips.

What Russian scenery is like.

New inventions for cycling with children

VHS, 90 min.

For sale or change for the other bike video.


Sports Club "Energy"

The United Turbomotor

Works, Sverdlovsk 620040


Phone (3432)34-62-64

Fax (3432)34-79-65


Peking to Paris

Following the Route of the wild adventure - automobile race of 1907.

ORION is organizing the bicycle trip after Luigi Barzini's race through Chinese deserts, Siberian waste-lands, Urals treasures to modern Europe. Beginning in Mid-April from Peking and arriving to Pans in mid-August to enter the 1991 Paris - Brest - Paris super marathon

Seeking partners and/or sponsors.

Contact Pavel Protopopov on the above address or Mr. Danyi Skrabak, organizer from the American side, 1514 20th Ave., No. 4, San Francisco, CA 94122, USA.


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Eleven Wheels and Eighteen Legs to Don

Family cycling section of "Orion" made the first "baby trip" from April 29 to May 2. There were five adults

by the tricycle president Pavel Protopopov and his eleven-month-old son Anton. It was made by the president himself specially for his family trips. The other two families: Shestopalovs and Paramonovs rode usual touring bikes and children sat or lay in baby carriages on rear panniers. All bicyclists were heavily laden with the camping equipment and "baby necessities".

Here follow short extracts from the travel notes.

April 29.

Gathering as agreed at eleven a.m. at the Western outskirts of the city. Everybody is on the spot except Paramonovs. They appear two hours later. Preparations, it seems, have been more protracted then planned. Time for lunch, which we nave at a roadside.

Start is now at 3.00 p.m. We take a quiet paved road to the sovkhoz (state farm) Rassosninskii. The first thirteen km are a pleasure, kids are content, the weather is fine, riding is easy. This enjoyment ends after 13 km when we turn to the dirt road leading to Don. After recent rains it presents a sorry sight, we make 4 km for the time it has taken us to nde the previous 13. Camp in the grove near the Stepnoy settlement.

April 30.

All day we struggle through the dirt rain-spoiled plain and only towards evening we drive up to the Vertyatchii khutor and find a lovely lawn at the Don bank.

(Note. The Don river is the second in significance river in the Volgograd region. Width is about 200-300 m).

May 1.

Spend the greater part of the day at the campground. Children feel fine on the fresh green grass. Start for the village of Panshino at 4 p.m.: 16 km of a paved road and 9 km of dirt. Camping at the river Sakarka.

May 2.

Return to Volgograd by the Moscow highway. In spite of the red-letter day the road traffic is high, the weather becomes worse, strong headwind hinders our movement. Nevertheless, after 7 hours and 54 km we arrive home safely.

Sergei Paramonov, head of the family cycling section.


Touring in the Crimea

(continued from the page 5)

The routes are usually from 400 to 600 km long and they take us 10-15 days to cycle. The roads are rather good. But the serpentine of the mountainous road on the southern coast is of rather complicated profile here and there and is sometimes tiresome for inexperienced cyclists. But it is always possible to take a ship for a change and cut a long way short. It is a relaxation to watch the winding road from the deck of the ship and to compare the feelings.

Our touring cyclists are fond of close contact with nature, so we always have tents and camp wild, seldom in campings. It does not take much time to cook something on a primus stove. Our members are known for their excellent appetite. Fruits which are in plenty in the Crimea vary the menu.

Being on the peninsula so often we are able now to work out any route very carefully taking into account every local peculiarity.

Having visited the Crimea once it is impossible to remain indifferent to it? In the end of every journey we we promise to come back before long.



Russian edition of "Velotourist" invites you to advertise on its pages.

"Velotourist" is distributed among bicycle touring and other bicycle oriented organizations, bicycle manufacturers, touring firms and individual cyclists.

Russian public knows nothing of you and "Velotourist" is the means to let them know!


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Opening season 90

(continued from the front page)

So this cycling event is the first one everybody can book in. The similar race is planned as "Closing Season" on October 14, and one will be able to compare the results made in half a year. The spring this year was rather early, April was more like usual May. Organizers headed by the Club veteran Yu. Krugloy have made interesting and difficult route on hilly terrain so you could really try your fitness and bicycle control after the winter. It was not a competition and referees only fixed your time for yourself. In the morning of April S about 50 cyclists, age from 10 to 50, gathered at the start point. The favorite was 10-year-old Sergei Serdukqv. who covered the distance whistling and at the finishing straight even dropped handlebars.

In common opinion the race was a success.
Valery Komotchkov


(continued from tbe page 4)

Rally "Europe-Asia"

The United Turbomotor Works from Sverdlovsk sponsored the First Cycle Touring Rally "Europe-Asia" organized by the Sverdlovsk Sports Club Energy on August 4-5. 1990. Distance of 120 km participants covered in two days crossing three times the border between the two parts of the world.

The Rally locality is known as Bazhov's place (Bazhov was the famous Urals narrator).

The Rally being successful, organizers hope to make the Rally traditional with the invitation of foreign cyclists beginning from 1991

Self-made Bicycles Exhibition

The Second KamAZ sponsored Exhibition of self-made non-standard bicycles and velomobiles takes place on 25-26 August 1990 in Naberezhnye Chelny of Tatar ASSR. The Exhibition aims at improving modern bicycles and creating new man-powered means of transportation.

More information is available from: V. S. Chuvayev, Nov. Gorod, 23/10-, suite 15, Naberezhnye Chelny, TASSR 423821, USSR, Telephones 56-84-90 and 56-70-20.


"Orion" and the Publisher express sincere gratitude to Viktor Gavrilov of the Regional Council of the Youth Hostels Complex for his great help in publishing this issue.



Foreign membership of the VCTC "Orion" includes:

a free subscription to "Velotourist", access to other cycling and touring information, discounts in services while touring in the USSR

Name___________ Address________________
City____________ Country________________
Phones: home________ work______________
Membership $12

Volgograd Cyclists' Touring Club "Orion"




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