Birthday Bike Ride

Our last day in Russia (a week ago today) also happened to be my 29th birthday.  Spending it riding bikes with one of my fave people was definitely the way to go. The day in pictures:

We started out by climbing the 200-odd steps of St. Isaac’s cathedral to admire the view.

Dottie and me on top of St. Isaacs cathedral.

Dottie and me on top of St. Isaac's cathedral.

Then it was time to head to Krestovsky Island for a bike ride and picnic.

We arrived at Jet Set and were excited to see that their rental bikes were actually quite stylish.

Author bikes. Love the brand name!

Author bicycles—a Czech brand.

The plan was to get there, get the bikes, and ride off to have our picnic. But we were forced to adapt our plans thanks to the vagaries of Russian business. The guy behind the counter responded to my “strasvuytya” by saying, “Hello. We’re closed.” I thought I must have misunderstood, given that their opening hours had begun two hours previously and my grasp of the language is rather uncertain, but Dottie’s discussion with the guy confirmed it. Apparently the man who had the cash box had not yet shown, leaving us out of luck for the moment.

So we went to plan B, and spread out our picnic on a nearby monument.

Our spread of food. . .

Our spread of food. Note the caviar flavored chips—classy!

And drink: Baltica 7.

And drink: Baltika 7.

Our leftovers went to the ducks.

The lake was kind of sad and full of litter, but the birch trees were lovely.

The lake was kind of sad and full of litter, but the birch trees were lovely.

Then we crossed our fingers and headed back to the bike stand, which, it turned out, was finally open. We left our passports and my cell phone as a deposit and we were riding at last. After a week of walking our legs off, it felt great to be moving so fast.

I think shes enjoying herself.

I think she's enjoying herself.


We could only rent the bikes for an hour, unfortunately, but during that time we pretty much covered the park. Like most places in Russia, it ranged from picturesque to . . . a bit rundown.

Inspired by graffiti to make a bid for Mugatu's Derelict campaign.

Inspired by graffiti to make a bid for Mugatu's Derelict campaign.

Mimicking the poses of various statues was an endless source of amusement.

Mimicking the poses of various statues was an endless source of amusement.

After an hour, we returned the bikes with a sigh. The bike rental guy started chatting with Dottie, admiring her language skillz while marveling that an American would bother to learn Russian when all Russians speak English (note: this was not our experience, and the conversation was taking place entirely in Russian, but the friendliness was appreciated). We reclaimed our passports and headed back to the city center, where we went on a boat ride along the canals and the Neva, and finished up with dinner at the Caviar Bar at the Grand Hotel Europe. I won’t bore you with the photos of our meal (yes, we took them) but I have to include this pic of my surprise birthday dessert, ordered by Dottie right under my nose (my Russian would not impress anyone). Thanks, friend!

A very theatrical dessert.

A very theatrical dessert.

  • Ashley

    I love those pictures, Trish! Awesome. You guys are def stylin’.

  • Lynn

    Now that’s a birthday to remember! Stay 29 forever!

  • sara

    Happy birthday. I particularly like the shots in front of the graffiti where you two were definitely working it!

  • Jessica

    That birthday dessert is wow. Looks like you had a great day!

  • Jennie

    I love the graffiti pictures! Happy Birthday Again! I am happy you had such a great day!

  • Elisa M

    Happy Late Birthday. you ladies are so stylish and pretty!

  • Carolyn

    Luv the graffiti photos!! Looks like you had a great time. Too bad you couldn’t rent the bikes for longer.

    • dottie

      Good times!

  • Johnny

    Very very happy birthday! :)

  • spiderleggreen

    Happy Birthday! You can stay 29 as long as you want. ;)

  • Trisha

    Thanks everyone! Hope the post conveyed the fun of the day; between jet lag and a touch of a (non-swine-related) virus I’ve felt a bit lackluster lately. :)

  • Scott


    Can you post a review of your new Batavus once you’ve had a chance to get to know it? I found this shop in NC importing them ( and shipping to local bike shops in the US for $50. Some of my Chicagoan friends are considering them, but we don’t know anything about the bikes. Thanks!

    • Trisha

      Scott, you’ll probably be sick of hearing about that bike once I get it. :) It just arrived in the States Monday, and I should start commuting on it May 18. A little birdie tells me they’ll soon be available in the Chicago area, and there will be news on that here too.

      • meligrosa

        bikes, picnic fashionable friends, what else can one ask for a fine celebration!! happy BDAY!! xo/m

  • miss sarah

    Yay! Happy Birthday:)

    You look great and so happy!


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  • Charlotte

    Happy Birthday!!!