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Old 08-28-2012, 08:41 AM   #1
BlackSide OP
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Location: Lviv, Ukraine
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Ukraine Mountain Ridges

Hello Everyone

my name is Vova and this year I've discovered a new passion in my life. Off-roading in mountains. Also I discovered advrider and already managed to find few friends here.

However it seems like Ukraine is a mystery country for our community. In this thread I would like reveal this mist at least partially and briefly show you incredible places of my country. This thread is dedicated for my small trips in Ukraine Mountains (Carpathian, Crimea in near future). I will be posting pictures, descriptions and maps of my trips.

Ukraine has 2 mountain regions Carpathian and Crimea mountains. Mountains are not so high as Alps or ones in Romania (up to 2000m) but they not less exciting and at the same time Ukraine doesn't have any prohibited areas. So rider can go as far and high as he and the bike can manage.

Few posters to let you know what to expect from this thread:




Subscribe for mor more.

BlackSide screwed with this post 09-04-2012 at 01:09 AM Reason: updating posters
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Old 08-28-2012, 08:56 AM   #2
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Mountain Ridges around Slavske

Slavske region is part of Lviv oblast and located in north area of Ukraine Carpathian mountains.

Slavske village is very crowded by local turists. It has a lot of Hotels, Resorts, Private accommodations. Entertainment list is usual during a summer. During a winter there are few ski resorts in this area. IMHO this region doesn't have anything interesting except mountains by which it is surrounded and cheap places to stay if you passing by.

My previous day tripping report shows some scenery in this region. Except this track I did there are more trails to ride in this region. If you need any help in planing route across it or need additional info - feel free to ask.

BlackSide screwed with this post 08-28-2012 at 09:09 AM Reason: typo
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Old 08-28-2012, 10:57 PM   #3
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Ridges around Skole

Skole region is neighbor to Slavske. Mountains are not high here (around 1000m) but somehow it has more nature and historic places. Also because of lower mountains those places are reachable even on heavy bikes like GS's.

This trip was performed on August 24 of 2012. All my local friends refused to participate so I decided to make it alone. Route is not hard and risks was acceptable to try.

I woke up quite early and was on starting point at 7:30 AM. Previous day had some rains but this one got perfect forecast. As well as start of the trail:

Ascend started at the back yard of someone house. Left road doesn't have any signs and seems not to be used very frequently:


However this road is clearly visible on satellite images. Such case means that you will be able to easily navigate, but it doesn't provide any guaranties that road will be easy. My bike stuck first time during trip in mud after few hundred meters from start:



Weather conditions is critical for Ukraine mountain roads. Too much rain and you will be floating in mud all day long. Anyway hard point was crossed and as reward first mountain ridge met me with early dew and perfect grass road:




After few kilometers another forest road. This time road is not visible on satellite images but is available on paper maps. Such case is sometimes dangerous because of following reasons:
  • forest roads could be full of mud all the year regardless of weather
  • they could be blocked by fallen trees
  • they could not exist anymore (outdated maps)

I decided to try this road and was rewarded with 2 options listed above :). Next picture should be self descriptive:



15 minutes later I was 2 meters away and I stopped counting how much time I dragged my bike from 4x4 trails filled with mud. It took approximately 1 hour to ride 2 kilometers of this road. So when you want to use such road - be prepared. However at the end I was rewarded by another incredible place.

Dovbush rocks are natural and historical place at the same time:


There are plenty of history and legends about this place and at the same time it is very nice:



This place is easily reachable from another side (Bubnyshche village) by anything which can handle gravel road like this:


Following trail to this place Skole -> Kamianka -> Sukil -> Bubnyshche is not marked on any GPS maps but will be light off-road during dry weather for any adventure bike. Follow Google Earth images and you will be able to see the road.

My trail was in the opposite direction and few kilometers of perfect gravel was a reward after hard off-road:


Also I wanted to visit Kliych mountain which has memorial to the Ukraine soldiers died during the First World War. This place was a good challenge of my navigation and riding skills. As well as a good place to visit on Ukraine Independence day (24 of August). Lot of people died to make our country self aware and good place to live.


On my way there and back it was first time I felt pity that I don't have head cam. Incredible moments when you are riding in group of horses will be only in my memory:


They are not wild but somehow they followed me more then kilometer closing the gap as only I stopped to take a picture.

Few minutes later I'm on the Kamianka -> Sukil pass mentioned earlier:


Such places keep me alive and ready for new adventures.

Near the Kamianka village you can visit Kamianka waterfall. It is not very spectacular comparing to others (like poster), but still a good place next to the road:


Filling the fuel, small lunch and I am on the other side of E50 road on the ridge which starts in Nyzhnje Synovydne. It is not high as well but has perfect road on 98% of it:


Because of small hight some houses are located on top and have garage like this :):


More forest roads (those 2% :)) with moderate mud:


and I am again on perfect trail where you can go 40-60km/h without any problems:


Mountains around Skhidnytsya has dozens of mineral water sources as well as some oil. This oil ridge is working:


Thanks to this road become very easy and half hour later I was near Truskavets (another Resorts area) on easy bicycle trail:


Trip summary:
Distance: aprox 100km
Map:
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Old 08-29-2012, 12:37 PM   #4
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More Please! I will be following along! Subscription entered!
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Old 08-29-2012, 12:53 PM   #5
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Hey BS , awesome photos, great places to ride. I've been to L'viv and other parts of Ukraine, fabulous country, really liked Odessa and L'viv. My wife is Polish and her family lives not far from L'viv, just acros the border in Jarczow. Looks like I need to find a bike my next trip there and take a ride to the Ukraine mountains
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Old 08-29-2012, 01:25 PM   #6
fjk
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beautiful landcaapes.

Hi, thanks for sharing.

I'm, enjoying the pictures, what do you call the style? hdr + painting mix? (+how?)

Tell us more:
- whats your ride?
- would you recommend Ukraine to foreigners (is it safe? sry for my ignorance)?
- camping/lodging possibilities ?

It would be cool if my Dnepr and I could someday revisit it's hometurf

/Fred
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Old 08-30-2012, 02:54 AM   #7
BlackSide OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Riff View Post
More Please! I will be following along! Subscription entered!
Next adventure is planned on this weekends. Stay tuned

Quote:
Originally Posted by DCrider View Post
Hey BS , awesome photos, great places to ride. I've been to L'viv and other parts of Ukraine, fabulous country, really liked Odessa and L'viv. My wife is Polish and her family lives not far from L'viv, just acros the border in Jarczow. Looks like I need to find a bike my next trip there and take a ride to the Ukraine mountains
Agree that country is awesome. If you will be searching for bike - look for something light and off-road. In this case fun is guarantied.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fjk View Post
Hi, thanks for sharing.

I'm, enjoying the pictures, what do you call the style? hdr + painting mix? (+how?)

Tell us more:
- whats your ride?
- would you recommend Ukraine to foreigners (is it safe? sry for my ignorance)?
- camping/lodging possibilities ?

It would be cool if my Dnepr and I could someday revisit it's hometurf

/Fred
Pictures are HDR specially tone-mapped to look like this. Every picture is bracketing shot with +-4 EV correction. Then they are composed into HDR in automatic mode (I don't like correcting every picture) using free for use Luminance HDR application.

If I understand correctly the first question. I use Kawasaki D-Tracker 250cc bike. It is Supermoto bike with offroad tires (50/50).

I don't see any problems with visiting Ukraine by foreigners. Lviv (where I live) visited by hundreds of tourists every day, and they enjoy the city and country. Our country is very hospital and has conditions similar to other Post Soviet Union countries (like Russia, Kazakhstan, etc). Safety is not a problem unless you leave your wallet without attention :).

Camping is allowed everywhere unless you put your tent on someones field :). General advice for camping - search for areas far from people, stay there as long as you want and don't forget to leave the place in good condition after yourself. I backpacked in mountains more then 10 years and never had any problems. Lodging is also not a problem. Plenty of hotels/motels on busy roads/cities. In mountain region almost every village has number of houses which accept visitors (approximately 20EUR for single person with dinner and breakfast included)

As long as your Dnepr can handle a distance and bad roads (sometimes) - I don't see any problems with such trip
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Old 09-04-2012, 01:08 AM   #8
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North Carpathian Ridges

Let the story go on.

This Sunday I got a chance to visit North region of Ukraine Carpathians and ride along unique mountain ridge in this area.

It's has official unpronounced name Bukjuska Polonyna. I call it Pikuj ridge in the name of highest mountain on it (1400m). This ridge starts at the Ukraine-Poland border near Uzhok village. And continues for more then 30km up till E50 highway. This ridge contain highest mountains in the area and unique because of it relief. In general mountains below 1600m in Ukraine are not rocky. This takes a revenge in this aspect producing unique terrain and views. You will not find any other ridge in ukraine which looks similar, but I will let the pictures to tell the story.

I left my house at Lviv earlier then 6am at the morning. In order to start trail at the border it was required to cover 180km on bad roads (gravel pitholes, etc). It took more then 3 hours to get at the border. Roads in this region are old and wasn't maintained for the long time. However views compensate this problem:



Trail started near Yavoriv village and few minutes later I was on the ridge. Very good gravel road with few mud spots and step uphill. Weather forecast was promising but actual weather wasn't (at least at 10am).



Almost at the top of ridge (1100m) nature started to smile at and weather became much better. The sun rays going through morning mist:



And finally first mountain peek and I am starting to experience lack of Enginsh knowledge to express my feelings. This is where I am going:

This is what I left behind:


Next hour I was just stoping after every kilometer and making pictures. It is such a pain to filter all those beautiful scenery but I did my best and left only essential ones to share with you:

Highest peek at the horizon is Pikuj mountain.

On the left side group of villages surrounded by smaller mountains (less then 1000m). On the right side "Sharp Mountain" and "Polonyna Runa" another remarkable place in this region.


Road on ridge is very good. Sometimes it goes over the mountain peeks transforming into very complex single trail between rocks:



However all those places is possible to traverse on mid complexity gravel roads like this one:


Such trail should not be a problem for you if you are able to go up and down on 15-20% hills and use road with has moderate amount of rocks.

It wasn't a long time while I got to the end of this ridge:


Top of the Pikuy mountain is solid rocks partially covered with land. One of the views from it:

and local backpackers deciding where to go next:


It's quite common to met backpackers in Ukrain mountains. This people are always friendly and can help you with navigation, provision or anything else. It's quite common to meet Polish guys in Ukraine. Also probability that backpacker will know english is much higher then with people who live in Ukraine :). So don't hesitate to speak with them.

Also other people in the region are very friendly. They will try to reach you whenever you stop in a village or in the middle of nowhere. In 99% they just curios, want to chat and will try to help. In the 1% you probably enter some private territory and they want to warn you that you should go back :).

View from the top to the place from where I started my trip:


And respect to my bike which get me there:


This mountain get a lot of visitors during summer and has at least 3 trails to go down to the Bilasovytsya village. However they are only for adrenaline addicts who can go hard enduro way.

I've spent more then hour searching for a straight road but without any luck ended in the middle of nowhere:


Decided to go back and use road to the nearby village Verkhnje Husyne. Road to the village is very good and can be done on any off-road bike.
Then going straight to the E50 highway with ability to look at the Pikuj mountain from another side:


Quickly crossing E50 and through Nyzhni Vorota on back road which goes to Tukholka till another monument to the people who gave their lives for Ukraine freedom:


At this point started another ridge between Lviv and Transcarpathian regions. It is very easy and except few mud spots you are able to relax and enjoy the views:


At some moment you start to think that there are no better place to be then here:



The day was going to end soon so I descended to the Oporets village and followed very good gravel road up to the E50 highway:


If you have a road bike E50 should be the place for you:


That was the end of this trip but not the end of my adventures.
In the next series:
Borgava ridge. Unique place for winter freeride and summer adventures:


Map of the trip on google maps
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Old 09-04-2012, 01:18 AM   #9
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Wow, stunning scenery and great photographs.
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Old 09-04-2012, 02:14 AM   #10
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It looks very fantastic, I will be yalta in a few months later for business. What can you tell us about motocycle rental companies and buying a motocycle in the Ukraine as foreigner.
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Old 09-04-2012, 02:34 AM   #11
mikecbrxx
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L'viv

Hi Vova, glad you have started this thread and share some of your knowledge.

For readers/subscribers, I met Vova and his family on my way back from Kazakhstan/Russia this summer and he took a day out to show me around L'viv. Which, btw, is a lovely city. His intimate knowledge of the place brings ordinary things alive! Like the statue to a writer that has soldiers boots, and the S&M Cafe!

He's a great guy and keen to help anyone planning to visit the Ukraine, Unfortunately, due to time pressures on my side, we didn't get to ride together this year. Looking at the pictures here, that's a big loss for me!

I'll be back
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Old 09-04-2012, 02:51 AM   #12
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It looks very fantastic, I will be yalta in a few months later for business. What can you tell us about motocycle rental companies and buying a motocycle in the Ukraine as foreigner.
AFAIK there are only few companies which provide motorcycles for rent. From search I 2 companies which should work.
One of them seems to work only in Kiev:
http://prokat-moto.com.ua/en
Another seems to work in all country:
http://avtodal.com.ua/en/motorcycle-rental.html

Unfortunately they provide only road bikes. Crimea and Yalta region has the same amount of mountain off-roading possibilites as Carpathian mountains. I haven't find direct links to companies which make off-road tours or rent dirt bikes but you should ask locals if you are interested in such kind of ride. There definitely should be people who doing something like this in Crimea.

Buying motorcycle is possible. There are lot of people who sell their own bikes and few companies which sells used motorcycles in Ukraine (Kiev, Odessa, Dnipropetrovsk) like this one:
http://www.motodom.ua/
I bought my bike there. However you should carefully select a bike (some of them need a lot of maintenance). Also used and new bikes are very expensive in comparison with Europe.
Another option is buy some chinese bike. It should do the job for few weeks. If you want to buy a bike, my best advice would be to find local friend who will help to deal all the edge points and then sell the bike when you leaving the country.
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Old 09-04-2012, 06:13 PM   #13
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Very cool, thanks for sharing.
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Old 09-04-2012, 08:36 PM   #14
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Excellent. Thank you for taking us along.
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Old 09-10-2012, 03:18 AM   #15
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I like the approach of your report, Vova, focusing only on mountain ridges, that is my view of what offroad bikes are mainly for. By the way, I thought that your country was absolutely flat, thanks for teaching me some geography. Subscribed.
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