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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Cyclist Spins Into Russia On a Dream and a Song

Linette Dalmasso believes she has found the two secrets to staying eternally young -- singing and bicycling.


Deceptively petite for one so tough, Dalmasso spent the last three weeks cycling from Tallinn to Moscow.


Every year since 1964, Dalmasso has made at least one long-distance bicycling trip, covering much of Europe, North Africa, Pakistan and India on her own. Last year she cycled through Belarus and the Baltics.


"I just love the independence, the liberty and the freedom of bicycling," she said.


In her native Paris, Dalmasso gained fame as an accordion player and a singer when she was only 14, and she continues to perform to this day.


"I am very healthy. I am a vegetarian. My profession helps me remain healthy," she said, declining to reveal her age. "When you sing you feel better, you feel happier, because you have to breathe very strongly."


Although she dreamed about Russia for years and studied some Russian 30 years ago, she said she could not get a visa that would let her bicycle around freely until this year.


Compared to a cycling trip she made 10 years ago from New Delhi via Calcutta to Kathmandu, Dalmasso said, the distance she is covering on her first trip to Russia is "not very much."


And compared to the roads in Mali, where the needles from acacia trees punctured her tires seven times, the roads in Russia are "not bad at all."


Her bicycle, a blue 12-speed tour bike with a rear-view mirror and a bell in French colors, has yet to break down on her in Russia, but Dalmasso said she takes it with her in stores and restaurants to prevent it from being stolen.


Dalmasso was full of praise of the local hotels and the canteens, where she dines on borshch and sandwiches.


But as she toured Moscow in search of maps, Dalmasso was put off a bit by the traffic. "It's not very easy to bicycle here, even worse than in Paris. It's a little crazy. I often cycle on the pavement."


From Moscow, Dalmasso plans to head east to Vladimir, then back west to Smolensk and, if weather allows, on to Minsk. Next summer, she said, she wants to come back for a bigger trip.