I’ve reached the western Ukraine and now I have just around 1,000 miles left. I’m also on the edge of one last time zone change. One thing I find really cool is that the sunrise/sunset times move later, according to my GPS. Beating the Sun on a bicycle. How cool is that?
Speaking of that, my bicycle was in pretty rough shape coming into Львiв. It now has very close to 7,000 miles on it and 11,000km is only a day or two of riding away. The bottom bracket was shot and the rear wheel needed three new spokes. It also needed a chain, which meant that the cassette needed to be replaced as well. The rear tire also had somewhere around 2,000 miles on it and was also D-O-N-E. I think it has something to do with running higher or lower tire pressures. I might have to see if Schwalbe has a graph of tire width and tire pressure correlated to wear. Anyway, one of the mechanics at Х индустрия, a local bicycle shop, caught up to me when I rode into the city. I told him about the problems I was having and he said he would pick me up at my hotel the next business day to take it to be fixed. I’m now much more confident it will hold up until I reach the Atlantic, but I think I might do a full overhaul when I get home.
It took me a week to get to киïв from Moscow. I stopped off in Тула, where much of Russia’s weapons used to be made. There’s a kremlin which is mostly empty except for a church containing a weapons museum. That was unfortunately closed on the day I was there. Tula is more well known as the home of Tolstoy. I crossed the border on the 25th, exactly 90 days after going in. The M02 on the Ukrainian side is nice and modern. Which was nice after the Russian side. A former colleague asked me to visit his mother in law’s hometown, which sent me off on quiet backroads for several days into киïв, where I spent a day touring a monastery – another World Heritage Site.
Getting to Львiв took a day longer than planned. The worn out bike started to wear me down and getting the route right took a little … exploring. But I got to see another very old city, тернопiль. The secondary highway I ended up on, P32, was rough but traffic was moderate to nonexistent. Plus sometimes there were patches where I could see cobbles underneath the asphalt, a cool bit of history. At least Google Maps is starting to give routing answers after leaving Russia. Just that sometimes they aren’t very good answers. Sometimes the roads are surprisingly good and other times surprisingly bad. At least it’s an improvement over Russia, where they’re frequently bad to “You call this a road?”. I’ve found some very nice back roads with light traffic here. At least the Ukraine is a much more reasonable country to travel in. Russia is not a “value” destination.
Львiв is a fantastic ancient city. Well worth a trip. Since the shop was closed on Sunday I was able to put the bike out of my mind and take a few tours.
Next is another border jump into Poland and one last time zone change. Unfortunately the temperature is supposed to drop 20*F.
Today I finally got on a scale on the street. The guy said 87kg, or 190-ish pounds. About 30 pounds (15kg) less than when I started. Plus this was mid day fully clothed walking around weight.