Cycling in central Ukraine. May 2015 trip report

Apr 7, 2015
Date: 1-4, May 2015. (4 days)

Distance: 310 Km (around 192 miles)

Longest distance per day: 100km (62 miles)

Participants: 2 persons

There is a kind of big lake right in the center of Ukraine, but actually it’s a Kremenchugskiy water reservoir on river Dnieper.

Last year we travelled around northern part of this lake, started from Cherkassy. This year we completed circle around the south part.

Map of the travel


  1. High place and really nice view (“Piviha” hill).
  2. Private museum with ancient statues.
  3. High place and really nice view (210 meters, highest place on left part of Ukraine).
  4. Abandoned place (not-finished nuclear station).
  5. A place to buy delicious fish (fish factory).
That was a lightweight trip
No big tent, only 1.2 kg, one level tent. Tiny amount of eating in the bags. No panniers.

The only one big thing I have to take this May – a warm sleeping bag. Nights was cold (0 +5).

Money spent
$25 (buying eating in a village shops, eating in a road cafe two times).

Trips to Ukraine are really low cost trips now because of Ukrainian Hryvnia (₴) to $ exchange rate jumped four times up few months ago (from 8₴ for $1 to 23₴ for $1.


“Piviha” hill


Private museum

Camp on the Dnepr bank

Rainy road. That was first time we have to drive 4 hours under the rain. That was not hard rain, but everything was wet in the end of the day.

The only one dry place we found – an abandoned apartment 10 flour building. It was a part of not-finished and now abandoned nuclear station and village “Orbita“.

A view from 10 flour of abandoned building. Forest is everywhere around.

Some advices for cycling travellers in Ukraine.
Beginning of May is the best time. Mostly because is not too hot and no insects. But water is too cold to swim.

People are friendly

Nobody knows English in the villages but you can easily find English-speaking person in the city (especially among young people). No English road signs except big cities. No camping, no hotels in a village area, only in a cities. Do not rely on any tourist infrastructure.
Basic safety rules perhaps same as for other world: put your tent 1 mile away from village and 2-3 miles from the city. Avoid groups of drunk people, especially in a national holidays, they can be annoying.

Roads are terrible sometimes, that’s why I prefer MTB. Be aware of pit on the road filled with rainwater. Nobody knows its depth. Oftenly I’ll better use ground roads than asphalt.

Good meal in a road cafe costs $4-5. Buy some eating in a village shop costs $1.5 – $2.5
Do not buy meat in a village shop or other perishable food, some products can be outdated. You have to ask what is fresh, but nobody knows English.

What to visit
Ask locals (if you can). As I told – people are friendly and will be proud to show you something juicy and exclusive. That was the way we found amazing private museum.

How to buy food
In a village area you will easily meet 3-6 village stores during the day of cycling. So, you don’t need to take a lot of meal with you.
If nobody knows English in a store you can just show what you want and ask seller to write total sum on a piece of paper. Be patient, seller can be a bit slowdown because of unusual situation.