Good morning Sergei, thanks for agreeing to be interviewed. Could you start by telling us a little about yourself?
I’m originally from a town near Novosibirsk in Siberia but also lived in Moscow for a while before moving to the UK three years ago. I live in Raynes Park with my wife and three children and work as a Software Engineer.
So what were your reasons for joining LAM?
I started riding in Russia but had an accident in my hometown. I did take some lessons when in Moscow but I found the road conditions and standard of driving made it too dangerous. I decided to take it up again after moving to the UK and after passing my test and doing the Enhanced Rider Scheme I was encourage to take things further by Huw Pritchard. I opted for LAM as I’m always busy on Sundays when RoSPA operate, but with LAM there’s the opportunity of training and rides on a Saturday.
What do you think of it so far? Were you welcomed and has your riding started to benefit?
I only joined in January so the first meeting I attended was the one last Saturday at Tatsfield. I had my assessment ride with Mike Seary and found it helpful to have my weaker areas pointed out. I find that my confidence has improved a lot. I’d also not been out into the country areas outside London before so have seen a lot more of the country. One of the things I do is to record OR routes on my satnav so that I can use them for practice.
That’s a good tip and one I wish I’d done as an Associate. Have you been able to participate in any other events?
I’ve enjoyed AoRs, which have been fun and visited Garden Centres that I never otherwise would do!
What sort of riding do you do in the main?
Aside from OR's and practice I use my bike to commute on. I originally had a naked Honda CB650 after getting my full licence but found that the lack of weather protection was a problem. I now have a VStrom 650, which suits me at present. I often use the bike to take my two older children around for short journeys.
How do you keep the bike in good condition?
I like to do most work myself – the bike is out of warranty so I don’t need the dealer’s stamp. I’m happy to deal with general maintenance, fluid changes, brake pads etc. I don’t have a garage so don’t do oil changes.
What’s your favourite snack when you’re out on your bike?
I generally have a sandwich and hot chocolate – but don’t eat anything with chicken or fish.
What do your family and friends think about you riding a bike?
My brother has ridden for a long time, so my mum is used to this. As he’s in Russia he just trailers his bike to a motocross circuit. My wife is understanding, but I don’t have any friends who also ride, though some say that they would like to.
What are the differences between riding in Russia and in the UK?
In Russia only the motorways and ‘A’ roads are tarmacked, others are just gravelled, and the potholes can be quite big. In Siberia it’s only possible to ride for 3-4 months of the year, in Moscow 4-5 months. Another issue is driver behaviour, with a general lack of courtesy towards others. There’s some bike culture in Moscow, the main two groups being sports bike and H-D riders. Overall I prefer riding in the UK.
Thanks Sergei – and good luck with your training and in your test.
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