I ordered a new Trek 520 bicycle. It arrived mid-month. I had customized it in a few ways: (1) adding 48-spoke rear hub for strength (2) adding a solid front rack (3) adding a longer stem (4) adding fenders (5) adding leather saddle (6) adding steel pedals with toe clips. It looks like a nice bike to ride. At end of the month, I’ll take it to San Diego for the Hostelling International Christmas ride. If all goes well, this will likely be the bike I ride.
I’ve started looking a bit more at the Russian visa’s I’ll need. Seems like you can’t order them more than 45 days in advance. I’ll get a 12 month business visa that allows for multiple entries. It looks like there are several places on the web to order such a visa. Of slightly more concern will be seeing if I can get it registered for six months at a time – from a place in St Petersburg. It seems like most of them only register it for 3 months maximum. In any case, I can now start getting paperwork in place.