Motorcycles in Russian houses: The bikes that came in from the cold

Published: 26 August 2016

If you reckon a British winter is tough to cope with on two wheels, spare a thought for the denizens of St. Petersburg and its environs. When the thermometer dips to minus 30º riders take the only option available – to cohabit with their loved ones

 

Evgeniy V, Saint Petersburg

Leaving a bike outside for months of undeserved sub-zero desecration is a sin. Doubly so when decent machinery is rare and expensive, and when winters are so unutterably vicious. Many Russians live in flats, mid-rise blocks where a lift is a luxury. If you live on the top floor, the bike comes up the stairs in late November, back down again in April. In bits if need be.

 

Victor M, Rzhev, Tver Oblast

A pleasantly recurring theme in these photographs is the frequent company of pets – in this case a kitten impersonating a squirrel. Victor’s Kawasaki Zephyr 550 is so comprehensively green it’s a minor miracle he’s allowed the sky on his walls to stay blue. No surprise the exhaust is off for a fettle – can you imagine what Russian salt does to a stock mild steel system?

 

Klimentiy L, Saint Petersburg

Clearly a man of means and taste, from the parquet floor upwards (including the little bloke in the pale blue suit) this three-bedroom apartment is the last word in genteel accommodation, Petrine Baroque being a style all of its own in these parts. With the tone raised even higher by the stately Minsk 125, this shot is surely destined for World Of Interiors.

 

Sergey R, Saint Petersburg

We’ve all had a bike indoors at some point. But rarely for a ground up rebuild. God to see Sergey is cleverly employing wood-effect vinyl over the real wood safe in the knowledge that this will prevent his landlord noticing the Z1000 on paddock stands in the middle of the room. 

Notice also the pressure-washer just behind the table. Jetwashing a bike when the mercury plummets enough to glue your lips together is no fun (and quite difficult too with the Kärcher entombed in ice).    

 

Aleksander K, Saint Petersburg

Safest place for this Honda CBR1000RR is clearly Aleksander’s tasty flat. This track day machine has already been down the road on the left and maybe winter came just in time to prevent further damage being inflicted. Guessing Alek’s in his favoured riding gear of tartan mules, track pants and then a choice of either red or blue Alpinestars jacket according to mood of the day. And Vicli washes whiter.


Ekaterina A, Saint Petersburg

Very tidy; the stock Suzuki GSR600 with Yoshi pipes. One imagines the curtains and bedcover will be swapped for something else matching when she switches bikes. Very classy generic superbike clock with R6 dial. Red Ugg Replica boots rock too.


Igor S, Rzhev, Tver Oblast

Let’s put aside Igor’s nicely used 929cc Blade for a tick and major on the wallpaper for a moment. An internal stone-cladding effect Anaglypta is always a winner, but it’s very rare indeed to see one with such a seductive selection of coastal scenes inlaid. Good dog too.

 

Nikolay K, Kolpino, Leningradskaya Oblast

Digging the board tracker style ’bars on the Yam Drag Star. And encouraging to see the bottle of Jim Beam bourbon gently whispering ‘drink me’ as Nikolay tries to tear his gaze off those Ural rear shocks. 


Valeriy K, Saint Petersburg

Again, good to see alcohol in the workshop environment and Valeriy’s green and white checky mat for the Phantom. Note skilled rider covering front brake in readiness for (but not expectation of) an unlikely yet potential centrestand topple-off into photographer. On the ball.

 

Gennagiy P, Kolpino, Leningradskaya Oblast

If Gennagiy is a genuine policeman (and one suspects not) he should know better than to put stickers all over his visor. And if he’s going to finish off the decorating any time soon he could do a lot worse than see if Igor from Rzhev has got any spare rolls of that stone-cladding stuff. 

 

Andrei G, Saint Petersburg

Andrei is parked up in a language school office and judging by the muriel on his TT600 he’s something of an Anglophile. He’s got an R1 for when he’s teaching Japanese, an Indian for when he’s doing Indian and a Cossack outfit for chatting to his mates on.  


Alexey M, Saint Petersburg

There’s a certain pre-Great October Revolution (1917) vibe to this gaff. Note the  mouldings (no, not the fugurine) and olde worlde hardwood floor. So refreshing to see Alexey astride a totem of the modern age, a VFR800.

No wonder they had a revolution. Saint Petersburg the ‘Venice Of The North’ on the Neva River in the Gulf of Finland was built by conscripted peasants (who else?) in 1703. The city’s name was changed to Leningrad in 1924 and then back to St Petersburg in 1991. A population of around five million makes it twice the size of Manchester.  

Words Mark Graham  Photos Valeriy Zaytsev