Murman Rider Lada –woman on two wheels
MURMANSK: Lada Bakholdina (43) has a typical name, name of a Russian car. But more than cars, she loves motorcycles.
Lada studied in polytechnical institute in Saint Petersburg and works now in a snowmobile centre as a director in Murmansk. But the big thing is this: she realized her dream and bought a Harley Davidson this summer.
“My Harley Davidson Fat Boy is a model of year 2007. I think it will last a long time for me. I dreamed of it for two years. Harley is good, because you can put new details to it and love it like it was a living thing.”
Lada is not a beginner with her hobby. She has driven a motorcycle already since she was 16 years old. At first she drove carting, when she was 11 years old. At age of 16, she got a driving licence for motorcycle. Then she bought her first one. It was Minsk. After that came Java. Before the Harley Davidson Fat Boy she now has, Lada had also Yamaha Thunder Cat YZF 600 R.
Murman Riders is an organization of about 20 motorcycle lovers. Lada joined it in 2007. The club was founded in 2005.
Short season, but long summer holiday in the North
Murman Riders organize a season opening every spring in the city of Murmansk. Unfortunately the season in Barents area is short. This year the opening was in 19th of May. The weather in the north allows driving until about 22nd of September.
“Yes, the season is short. But what can you do? You need to accept the fact. You need to plan and arrange the holiday and free days, so you have time to go where you want.”
“And the law gives us a long holiday. We, who live above the Arctic Circle in Russia, get the usual 28 days of holiday, plus 24 days. We can use all those days at once or divide them.“
Welcome to the festival in Murmansk in 9th-12th of August
Murman Riders organize a festival called Arctic Riders on 9th -12th of August. The club has had the festival every August since 2008. 100-200 motorcyclists have visited it from many countries every year. Last year they also organized a big concert with rock stars from Russia, Norway and Finland. Also this year there will be parties and an open air concert in Ogni Murmanska, a hotel complex in Murmansk. The main concert will take place in 12th of August.
“We welcome our old friends and new guests to the festival.”
An Australian man called Mike came the longest way to the Arctic Riders festival in 2008. He drove 16 000 kilometres. But the way is surely worth it. The polar day with sun all night long. Arctic nature and Northern Sea. Beautiful. Exotic. Interesting.
Charity work with orphan children
Guys of the club, and of course lady Lada, meet with children, drive with them and give them presents. They organize football games and other happenings in children´s hospitals of Kola Peninsula and in orphan´s dormitory in town Olenogorsk.
Does not sound like a criminal organization, which image sometimes is connected with bikers.
“About the image of criminality, what can I say? We are a social association. We do not have any commercial missions, and no criminality. I don´t have anything bad to say about anyone in Murman Riders. They are good boys. And so are the friends of ours, the friend organizations from other regions and countries,” Lada tells.
In the heart of this woman lives “an angel, that invites to meet with the wind”
Lada is an only woman in the club. She got a membership in clubs board, so she became so called senator. It is rare.
“Everybody does not like, that there is a woman as a senator. But I try to manage with that situation. It is very pleasant, that the guys respected my work in the club and took me as a senator. I helped the club in social work already in 2005, before I became a member of the club.”
Not very many women are driving a motorcycle. Lada agrees, that it is true, but in her opinion it is okay.
“Women usually like comfort. With motorcycle you don´t have steel walls around to protect you like in a car.”
“For driving a motorcycle you need to be a person, in which an angel lives. An angel, who invites you to meet with the wind.”
Honeymoon on two wheels
Favourite places of Lada in Barents region are in Finland and in Norway. She mentions Saariselkä and campings on the beach of beautiful lakes in Finnish Lapland and Vadsö, Norway. Not to forget fabulous Lofoten islands in Norway. In one season she drives from 15 000 up to 20 000 kilometres. She has been in Kiev, Ukraine, Minsk, Belarus and many other places. To Saint Petersburg she likes to drive through Finland.
“This year I am not going far away. And I will get married with my fiancé Igor. He also has a Harley Davidson, a Night Train. We will drive for a short honeymoon to Saariselkä, Finland. We have good friends there.”
The friends over the border are also motorcyclists. This is a hobby that connects people and opens the world wider.
Destination: Norway and Finland (where the roads are in better shape)
Sometimes Lada takes her Harley Davidson and drives to Kirkenes, Norway, or to Ivalo, Finland.
“Some Sunday, if it is a good weather, we drive there to drink a cup of coffee. Just for fun. It takes three hours to Kirkenes, and about four hours to Ivalo. The road from Murmansk to Kirkenes is better than to Ivalo.”
These small towns of neighbouring countries are both 250-300 kilometres from Murmansk. It takes hours to drive this distance, because the roads are not highways. The bad and bumpy roads are the eternal pain in the neck in Russia.
“Roads should be built like they do it in Finland. There are signs every 10 kilometres telling how many kilometres there are left to the destination. And there are clean toilets, tables and parking for a rest.”
Smile, take care and be happy! Everybody is an enemy, and equal
Other pain in the neck is the driving culture. Sometimes on any road and in any country of Barents, there are aggressive drivers. A driver in a car might not give space enough for the motorcyclist.
But these problems do not slow Lada down. She voluntarily works in Murman Riders to educate people to drive safely, legally and friendly. She thinks that everybody in the traffic is equal: automobiles, motorcyclists, even pedestrians.
“I drive with a principal, that everybody on the road is an enemy. But it does not mean that I hate people. It just means that you need to protect yourself and think about those, who drive behind and in front of you. It helps to avoid unpleasant moments on the road.”
To think not only yourself, but also the others, and drive carefully. The rules are the same for everybody. These are the tips from Lada to anyone in the traffic. And:
“My main tip is this: smile more. Smile, even with your helmet on. A good feeling is the path to success.”