Ukraine and Moldova by AZUB Mini recumbent

8 09 2009

text: Yarda Balatka

Our trip started in Frýdek-Místek (Czech Republic), we took a overnigt train to Michalovce in eastern Slovakia. In the morning we took of on our loaded bikes towards the city of Uzghorod in Ukraine. Our first night we found ourselves in a military area, which we found out in the morning when we got waken up by tanks. On the second day came the first of many technical problems – Marketa’s rear derailleur broke off and got stuck in the chain between the chainring and the rear wheel. Fortunately a very nice man gave as ride to the town and helped us find a replacement. We actually had to hitchike again a week later, when the new rear derailleur committed suicide as well. We had at least a minor technical problem every day, but fortunately it didn’t affect our good mood in any way.
We made our way through Zakarpat Ukraine – Mukacevo, Kolocava, Solotvino, Vorochta, Verchovina and Cernivci all the way to the Moldovan border. We witnessed an unusual international cooperation here, when a Ukrainean customs officer couldn’t resist and tried riding the recumbent. His Moldovan colleague was running along, helping him balance. Thanks to the recumbent we crossed all the borders without any problem or bribes, because the officers were always more interested in the bike than in us.
In Moldova we continued to Briceni, Bilci and then took some really rugged local roads to Ribnica and the Saharna monastery. From here we continued to the most famous rock monastery Orhei, Transdniestr to Tiraspol. Degustation in an underground winery Milesti Mici was a real treat at the end of our trip. After couple days and some conductor bribing we arrived back to Frydek.

Our roads weren’t always straight and comfortable. We had to ride through sand, gravel, mud and sometimes even rivers, but every time we thought we’re through the worst, we were soon proven wrong. In our tent we had grasshoppers and mosquitoes and on special occasions also cows. I got to taste their presence more than I hoped for and it took me two days to get rid of the smell from my bags and clothes… We run up the highest mountain of Ukraine – Hoverla (2061 m n. m.) in a record time and couldn’t see even each other through fog at the top. Almost anywhere we went, we were the center of attention, especially because of the recumbent. In some villages we rode through they may have never seen a turist before, especially riding bikes, not to mention recumbent.. But this attention usually turned into a conversation and besides new friends and experience, we sometimes left with a watermelon, bag of cucumbers, pears or liters of wine. We were invited to stay at people’s house twice and we always left very full and a little drunk. In Moldova they even insisted on doing our laundry and taking us fishing. When we finally managed to leave, they provided us with more food and wine, that our own relatives from Moravia would. The hand-woven carpet wasn’t the easiest to carry, but there was no way we could explain it to the nice people 🙂

For me it was the first time riding a recumbent, so I had to learn it on the go. The beginnings, especially in the gravel were not very smooth, but fortunately the ground is so close and the speed so little, that it’s no big deal. When the roads later turned into muddy holes and then merged in a river, I managed to ride through without a problem. The rear suspension helped a lot. I appreciated especially the comfort of the ride and no pain, that usually comes after riding a bike for couple hours. It is still a challenge for me to loor around my shoulder or go up a very steep hill, but that will need a little more practice.

I would like to thank Azub for the support on our trip and especially for the bike. It was a wonderful experience and I’m looking forward to future journeys.

good luck on your travels 🙂

Jarda Balatka & Markéta Lepíková




2 responses

9 09 2009

[…] Neutral  :  +0 / -0  0 rank      Re: Ră: Re: BICICLETA ORIZONTALA Ukraine and Moldova by AZUB Mini recumbent Azubrecumbents's Blog […]

4 01 2011
2010 in review « Azubrecumbents's Blog

[…] Ukraine and Moldova by AZUB Mini recumbent September 2009 1 comment 2 […]

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