The city never sleeps. There is a new type of excursions in St. Petersburg. Now one can see sights of the cultural capital even by night. Segway walks and bicycle taxis. Elena Boldysheva went for a night trip across the city.
2 a.m. The city doesn’t sleep. Tourists have filled the city center. But now one can enjoy the city not only from a window of a tourist bus. The Northern Capital has embraced Segway and bicycle taxi trips.
A lap of honor around the Bronze Horseman, then off to the Marsovo field. Darting past palaces and bridges on a Segway – that’s a particular treat.
Kamil Duev, instructor, guide: “A man on a Segway is an upgraded pedestrian. We move only through pedestrian crossings and only on sides of the road. Not jumping off them”
This instructor has already learnt preferences of tourists – judging by their nationality
Kamil Duev, instructor, guide: “Sometimes people tell me to say nothing. We’re just interested in this or that. More often such is the case with foreigners”
Segways appeared in St. Petersburg only recently. But everyone has got used to them in the West.
Elena Boldysheva, reporter: “This thing was invented in the 1990’s in the US. In some countries it became a regular means of city transport, some Segways are even given license plates. Trainers believe it takes 2-3 minutes to master a Segway. I hope its true”
My non-french origins played a bad joke on me – I failed to learn fast. Accompanied by lively music of street bands, we’re setting off on a search for a more balanced, and nonetheless ecologic means of transport.
Bike taxi at the Nevskiy avenue looks quite natural amid untypical, almost tropical heat, yet is still slightly bewildering.
Elena Boldysheva, reporter: “Bike taxi appeared in our city in 2006. Both locals and visitors say this vehicle is more suitable for Asia, but their drivers disagree and actively dispute such notions”
Mikhail Koltsov, bike taxi driver: “It is profoundly wrong. Bike rishis – that is in Vietnam, where poor people make them out of old beds”
Bike taxi driver – just like his colleagues driving regular cars – is always a good psychologist. He sees through any tourist. However some of those possess unpredictable eccentricity.
Mikhail Koltsov, bike taxi driver: “There are weirdos among tourists. Like ordering a bike taxi to the Pulkovo airport”
Other passengers choose quantity over distance
Mikhail Koltsov, bike taxi driver: “Four passengers – that is literally when they sit on each other. And if it’s six – then four here and two hanging from the sides like bananas. Its not hard with so many – they actually help at bridges, get off and make a slight push”
Bike taxi drivers say their occupation is a rare case when you get healthier while working. And riding a bike while telling stories about one of the world’s most beautiful cities – Mikhail says – is not a work, but rather a pleasant hobby.