Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Test ride Ukraine

To test the bike, gear and off course ourselves, we decided in the end of May to go for one week on a test drive. This trip was going to lead us, depending on the weather, to Saint Peters burg or to Ukraine. Because of the rainy weather in the North we decided to go south from Lithuania, passing Poland to Ukraine.

As we have been in Poland several times we wanted to spend as much time as possible in Ukraine and pass Poland within a bit more than a day. After having spent a night on a campsite nearby Lublin Milda had a hard time (the trip just started!) as it was raining, cold and she lost her lenses. But as soon as we had the first border crossing everything was OK again. The border crossing seem to be rather straightforward and easy (especially for motorbikes as they are able to go to the front of the line). A funny moment for us was that the Ukrainian border guard asked for the technical papers of the motorbike and started looking very carefully at the bike and trying to move with his hand the moving parts as if there was something wrong with our, almost new, bike. He seemed to be very charmed and took his chances to inspect the bike as good as he could (old Russian bikes were passing without any check),

Having passed the border you can notice right away rather big differences with Poland. Roads are in a rather bad condition (we used to think that the roads in Poland are bad), you notice mainly old cars, people walking with cows and traveling with horse and carriage. It seemed to be a perfect place for testing our gear!

The highlight for Milda was that in the city centre of Lviv there was an old soviet lemonade machine that serves drinks in one reusable glass. Exactly the same machine that used to serve people in Lithuania during soviet Era. As well by crossing the Carpanian mountains and being stopped by horses, carriages, cows and ducks we feld like going back in time. From the moment we met locals, and especially one Ukrainian couple were we stayed overnight, we noticed that the Ukrainian have common interests and mentality as we have. Another funny part was when a local television program wanted to interview us. This interview can be seen next to the pictures that were taken during this test ride in our Picture gallery.

So what was the result of the test ride: Different from what we hear from other travellers we took the right amount of gear right from the start. We kept the top box empty, which was very handy when you stop in a city or when you need to pack quickly (f.e. when it rains). As well the tank bag and the side cases were not fully packed and the bike felt rather comfortable. A list of what we will take during our travel can be found on Bike & Gear.
The only thing that failed during the test ride was our Loobman Chainoiler. The poor thing is not made for bad roads. It's better to spend a bit more on a good item. Our bike and our gear are ready for the trip!

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