Ural problems in Novgorod

[Bergie] In the morning Skoll noticed that his left cylinder wasn’t firing. We replaced the spark plug with Skoll’s only spare and that seemed to help.

We left Kirichi in a depressingly grey weather and took some pictures in front of a tank near the city entrance. We found a nice roadside barbeque to have brunch at, and then continued toward Novgorod.

Rain started in about 10 kilometers, and we had to wear the rainsuits for the rest of the trip. At one checkpoint the militia urged us to race the engines a bit. So far everybody has shown very positive interest in the bikes. People stop to look, want to shake our hands and pose with our bikes.

In Novgorod we had some hassles with finding a hotel but finally checked into shabby soviet-looking place called Gostinitsa Rossija. The price was only about 9 euros for night, and we had a splendid view over the river Volhov and the Novgorod fortress. I asked the receptionist whether the hotel parking would be safe and got a prompt “nyet” as an answer. The sun also showed itself for the first time in a while.

[Skoll] While driving in the city I again noticed that the bike wasn’t behaving normally - it didn’t accelerate properly and misfired. The last few kms it was clear that the left cylinder wasn’t working anymore. we decided to troubleshoot the bike the next day and get to know the city now.

The hotel was only some 5 min walk from Kreml - the ancient fortified center of culture, politics and trade. For the first time on our trip there were no clouds on the sky and the sun was shining hot. We had a walk around the city trying to find a photo shop to check the prices of digital cameras in here, but alas, had no luck. After having a nice dinner in a viking-themed restaurant we walked back to the hotel planning to have a good nights sleep.

Wednesday. The sky was all grey again. Both of us woke tired. The room was very hot the whole night and we had many mosquitoes. For breakfast we had mashed potatoes and ham. Before checking out from the hotel we went to check the condition of my Ural - not surprisingly it hadn’t got any better during the night so we decided to stay here for anothre day and find a repair shop. We checked out one car service place we had noticed earlier but unfortunately it was closed so we decided to try the tourist info center. The lady there spoke good english so we explained our problem and she promised to help. After the first few phone calls it was abvious that there are no bike service stations here in Novgorod. In a bike shop - which also acted as the meeting point for all bikers in the city - they promised to call some local bikers and ask where do they get their bikes repaired. Ten minutes later we were called back and told that a few guys would be here in half an hour. 20 min later indeed to guys showed up and with the help of the lady from the tourist info I explained my problem. Their diagnosis was that I have to change the carburator. Bergie had in the mean while left to upload pictures in an internet cafe so I left with the guys and their car to ger to carburator.

The shop was called simply Moto (Veliki Novgorod, Popova street 14/32, phone (8162) 615-871) and they sold there also bicycle parts. Mihaill - the other of the two guys walked directly behind the counter and started looking for spare parts. We got what we needed and headed back to our bikes. By the time we god back Bergie had also retured from the Internet cafe after managing to upload only some 5 pics because of strict transfer limits.

Our new russian biker-friends wasted no time and started removing the left carburator. When looking inside the carburator it was apparent that it had seen its best days. During the process we exchanged a few words in their poor english and our even worse russian, and heard again that Russian bikes - including Ural - aren’t respected much here. Mihail himsef had Yamaha Intruder and his opinion was that Japanese and British bikes are far better that Russian. In addition to changing the carburator he recommended to change the whole bike.

After changing and adjusting the carburator the Ural clearly run better but still not as good as it had some time ago, so Mihail recommended to change the other one also. The other guy - unfortunately I didn’t get his name - went to get the spare arts and we stayed by the bike removing the other carburator. Some time later my Ural had two new carburators and was running like a dream again. Te service with the spare part had costed alltogether 1500 rubles which is less than 50 euros. We gave the guys our site address and bid farewell. They said had been nice meeting us and asked us to send them an email when we got back to Finland to hear if everything was allright. The whole experience once again made stronger our impression of Russian people being friendly and open.

We drove our bikes back to the hotel and went to look for some food. Just when we arrived to the restoran it started raining heavily. After the dinner we walked back to the hotel, had one more beer and called it a day.