Where to ride

Although the local cycling infrastructure is a work in progress, the huge advantage of St. Petersburg lies in its smooth landscape, a flatland with almost no hills. Thanks to this feature, your rides are not limited to parks (which are absolutely lovely, though), but can effortlessly go with the flow of the city’s life. Here are some designated bike lanes to try:

Fontanka River Embankment 

Stretching from the Staropetergofsky Prospect to Summer Garden (or vice versa, depending on the direction you take), it offers a scenic route with endless landmarks. It merely touches the quaint Kolomna and crosses the noisy Nevsky Prospect, adjoining some of the most lively and dormant pieces of the historic center.

Neva River embankments 

What about spending some time near big water? Choose this route to cover four embankments in a row: Arsenalnaya and Sverdlovskaya on the right side of the Neva River and Voskresenskaya and Smolnaya on the left. This lane is wide enough to enjoy the ride in peace without bumping into other people and long enough to catch an unexpected view of Smolny Cathedral and the majestic Bolsheokhtinsky Bridge. Come here in late spring and early summer to watch numerous busy fishermen hunting for a local delicacy – koryushka (smelt). 

Credit: Markus Spiske (@markusspiske) via Unsplash

Credit: Markus Spiske (@markusspiske) via Unsplash

Bolshaya Nevka embankments

This bike path shows more of a modern side of the city, with its business centers and a lofty TV tower, and introduces you to the former industrial grandeur of the Vyborgsky District. It’s spacious, quiet, and is a great observation point for sunset lovers. 

From Lakhta Center to Lisiy Nos 

For an ambitious outing, there’s the off-the-beaten-track yet quite well-maintained road that’ll  take you to the Gulf of Finland. At some point, it goes along the highway, so it can get quite dusty, but the final destination is definitely worth it. You don’t have to get back by bike if you get tired, too – just hop on the suburban train from Lisiy Nos or any other station along the way to get to the Finland Railway Station. 

Credit: Pablo Vallejo (@pablovallejo) via Unsplash

Credit: Pablo Vallejo (@pablovallejo) via Unsplash

..and who to join

Some people prefer solitary rides, while others see cycling as a social activity. If you’re on the second team, consider these communities:

  • IRBIS Cycling Club. Among the endless sports clubs at ITMO, there is, of course, one for cyclists! This is a great opportunity to dedicate some time to your hobby and score points for your PE classes (don’t forget to sign up via ISU). The club offers two types of training: for beginners and advanced cyclists. On their VK page, they regularly share announcements from other communities so you can always have something to plan with your bicycle. 

  • SECT. The largest among St. Petersburg-based underground cycling clubs, it organizes races of all kinds, from chill rides to alleycat races.

  • Cycle Girls Club. As the name has it, this is a community for girls of various backgrounds united by their love of cycling. You can join them twice a week on Tuesdays in the morning and on Thursdays in the evening for a ride in the city. When the weather gets better, the club also holds out-of-town rides, which, however, require more training as they cover a longer distance at a higher speed. Don’t forget to wear a helmet! 

  • Red Devil Cycling Club. These guys are more on the crazy side, which only adds charm to their events. While most are just your usual races, others turn into full-fledged adventures and always finish with a party to remember. For example, last summer, their race (followed by a rave party) took place in an abandoned airfield.

Not up to getting on a bike today but still want to get the vibe? There’s a special place just a few steps away from the Lomonosova campus – Virage Cafe. Opened by cyclists for the cycling community, it's a starting point for rides and races for a good deal of themed clubs, as well as their place of gathering. Drop by for a cup of first-class specialty coffee and a vegan dessert. It also adjoins a workshop, so you can have your bike fixed while enjoying your drink – it’s a cycling cafe, after all!