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Hundreds brave freezing temperatures for Moscow bike ride

Hundreds of hardy cyclists on Sunday braved temperatures as low as minus 27 degrees Celsius (minus 16.6 Fahrenheit) in Moscow to complete a mass bike ride through the snow-bound Russian capital.

Participants — some dressed in outfits of Santa Claus and his Russian equivalent, Ded Moroz — pedalled along the bank of the frozen Moscow river in front of the Kremlin walls.

The Moscow authorities said over 500 people took part in the 15-kilometre (nine-mile) event — designed to promote cycling in the sprawling city — after organisers refused to call it off despite a danger warning over the freezing temperatures.

“Not one of the participants of the winter bike parade ended up going to the doctor after it finished,” the Moscow authorities in a statement.

“I feel better than when I was lying on the sofa over the holidays,” said Mikhail, a well wrapped-up 42-year-old engineer who took part in the ride.

“It gives you energy, it’s great, just marvellous. I cycle to work every day but it’s still a real pleasure,” he told AFP.

The Russian capital is currently in the grips of a severe cold snap that has seen temperatures plunge around Europe.

At least 23 people have been left dead by the frigid temperatures across the continent.

Russian media reported that Moscow recorded its coldest Orthodox Christmas Night for 120 years from Friday to Saturday with temperatures pushing minus 30 Celsius.

Temperatures in the Russian capital are expected to rise over the next few days to hit around minus seven Celsius on Tuesday.