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Old 11-01-2012, 03:04 PM   #316
DaveyDave
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colebatch View Post
As many of you have guessed ... we had crossed into the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. Initially, following the 1986 nuclear disaster at the Chernobyl plant, a 30 km radius was cleared out and evacuated. As the shape of the radioactive trace became better known, the evacuation zone took on a shape to reflect the radiation risk.

The following diagram shows the shape of the radioactive trace. Chernobyl on the map is a yellow dot. Our location is 60 km away ... the green dot.



We decided to keep heading towards Chernobyl, which was our planned track. We were not going to be sleeping in the zone and planned to make haste and pass thru it as quickly as possible.

We rode 20 km along our track, still on the abandoned overgrown asphalt road when we reached a barbed wire gate, with a watchtower complete with a kalashnikov toting guard, looking totally shocked to see anyone.

Before he could react, I turned to Terry and said lets get the fu@k out of here .... we did a 180 and turned back to a turn off I had noticed 2 km back down the road.

We turned south to try and escape the exclusion zone. If we were going to get caught, its better to be caught outside the zone, rather than in it. I knew the zone was narrow to the south and we should be out of it within 10 km (6 miles). Our hopes of a speedy escape were halted by another bridge over a swampy stream. This bridge was blocked with a fence, with barbed wire curls over each edge of the fence. A quick survey indicated one of us could pull the barbed wire out of the way, while the other rode past the edge of the fence. The threat of someone potentially following us made sure we did this very quickly. But in no time we were through, and over the bridge. Five minutes later we noticed the abandoned track seemed now to be used, and a few forestry tracks were leading in and out of the adjacent forest. Another 5 minutes later we reached what was clearly a legitimate road. We were out of the zone, and no one was following us.

Our planned track between the armed watchtower and Kiev was now totally useless. We decided to count our blessings and cruise into Kiev on whatever quiet backroads we could. We would rejoin the offroad track on leaving Kiev.
You got any Hero cam shots of the exclusion zone you can show us Walter? Be interested to see what the armed posts look like in the exclusion zone.
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Old 11-01-2012, 03:27 PM   #317
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colebatch View Post
As many of you have guessed ... we had crossed into the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. [...] If we were going to get caught, its better to be caught outside the zone, rather than in it.
Walter, this is amazing!... I did not expect you to plan the route through anywhere near the exclusion zone. Very nice to see actual images from the abandoned area, which is bigger than the actual exclusion zone AFAIK. But you made me wonder... what happens if you get caught in the exclusions zone?


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You got any Hero cam shots of the exclusion zone you can show us Walter? Be interested to see what the armed posts look like in the exclusion zone.
+1!
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Old 11-01-2012, 03:57 PM   #318
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Originally Posted by deathu View Post
Walter, this is amazing!... I did not expect you to plan the route through anywhere near the exclusion zone. Very nice to see actual images from the abandoned area, which is bigger than the actual exclusion zone AFAIK. But you made me wonder... what happens if you get caught in the exclusions zone?



+1!
You have to bribe the guy who caught you, but normally there is no one in there patrolling or smth like that. only some check points with few of cops on the main roads, but you can "negotiate with them"
of course not knowing russian language only complicates and makes price higher, but anyway no prison for such thing
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Old 11-01-2012, 04:32 PM   #319
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Day 3 had really been an eventful day ... lots of action of all sorts, all round.

But it wasnt finished yet.

A mere 10 -15 km after rejoining the non-closed world, our path through a village was slowed by cars and people all over the road. A closer inspection revealed it was a wedding. We quickly became part of the celebrations







You guys are something else; Intrigue, Romance and a Moto for the Babes to pose with...As we all know a wedding is by far the best place there is to pick up a babe.

I would have never thought you'd turn into "James and Bond" taking on no-mans land with a daring escape through the wire and then hide out in the open with a wedding party as a disguise. I wonder what kind of response and search was thrown into action by the alarm from the guard.

Ooooh what fun...I hope this keeps goin.
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Old 11-01-2012, 04:35 PM   #320
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Anyone seen the movie "Chernobyl Diaries"....

Great Report/reading!
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Old 11-01-2012, 06:30 PM   #321
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Well I guess oops, re my last statement. When I lived in Ukraine back in 04 -06 I remember
Watching tv program of some people defying all authorities & odds still living in the restricted & exclusion zones eating local home groan veg' pigs etc with no cancer or illness defying all conventional wisdom & science
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Old 11-01-2012, 06:53 PM   #322
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count me in

subscribed, with gusto!
Your reports have kindled my interest in Russia as riding destination. Absolutely fascinated by the trails.
Kudos to your rides and reports. They belong to the very top and the effort put into compiling them is really appreciated.

I reckon the bikes put on some weight due to the mods (as in larger fuel tank, sturdier parts, etc). Could you give an estimate of the difference versus OEM and wether it affected riding substantially?
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Old 11-01-2012, 07:40 PM   #323
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Awesome!
I Fallowed your Husaberg elevation world record... albeit with a little disappointment that I wasn't on board. You have all the fun!!!
I never even thought of that place (Chernobyl) as a ride destination and now its near the top of the list. This is great stuff!!! Can you give me a heads up next time you have another amazing idea?
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Old 11-01-2012, 09:55 PM   #324
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Originally Posted by DaveyDave View Post
You got any Hero cam shots of the exclusion zone you can show us Walter? Be interested to see what the armed posts look like in the exclusion zone.

Sadly no Dave. It was late afternoon. As you saw from early day 3 pics we got a lot of go pro footage in the morning - the battery was dead by then.
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Old 11-01-2012, 10:10 PM   #325
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Not pushing Elena's site in Colebatch's report. Just trying to make the point that the exclusion zones may not be as dangerous as some may think.
I agree. My considerations were based around the fact that guards were stationed there and tv crews occasionally ventured in there so any short term exposure can not carry a high risk.
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Old 11-01-2012, 10:39 PM   #326
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Walter, this is amazing!... I did not expect you to plan the route through anywhere near the exclusion zone.
I figured the risk was not crazy. We were planning on spending a very limited time in the zone. The Ukrainian government sells permission for tour groups to enter the exclusion zone and visit the actual reactor site. I had hoped to approach the reactor from the west, away from the roads (and tour group access) ...but I guess I was a bit optimistic. I certainly didnt look into it in great detail. There were so many interesting potential aspects of this ride and I didnt have time to look into them all in great detail. Stuff like this brush with Chernobyl, we just made up on the hoof, based around a track I had drawn approaching the reactor from the west. It didnt work out the way I hoped, but we did get have some really interesting riding and experiences around it anyway. Last I heard, the Ukrainians are talking about stopping all access to the site except for scientists - closing off the tour group access entirely.

Quote:
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But you made me wonder... what happens if you get caught in the exclusions zone?
I discussed it with Terry at the concrete barricade on the bridge ... my best guess was that the worst case was they would deport us. We werent doing anything to threaten their national security, and we werent hurting anyone else. It was not worth the expense to them to jail us or have a court case that would only bring bad publicity.

In reality the guy who caught us would probably bring us to his boss, who would threaten to lock us up, but would then let it slip for a "present". Reality is no-one on the ground wants to get involved with locking up EU or US citizens in the Ukraine ... The Ukraine does a fair bit of sucking up to both at a national level. So if someone on the ground made that call by himself, there is a career risk that he would get badly scolded or fired by someone higher up the food chain in Kiev.

Russia is a totally different kettle of fish, Russians would have much less compunction about locking up foreigners doing semi-dodgy shit. But this wasnt Russia - this was Ukraine.
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Old 11-01-2012, 11:05 PM   #327
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Kiev

Despite much pleading from the locals for us to stay with the wedding party the entire evening, Terry and I dragged ourselves away as the daylight was fading. We rode to the outskirts of Kiev, where we found a cheap hotel, grabbed a few beers and crashed out for the night.

Day 3 had been a whopper. Action packed from start to finish with good riding and good people. We were exhausted but had huge smiles on our faces. We were going to take a day or so to rest in Kiev and sort a few things out with the bikes.

Here we are outside the hotel the following morning, doing routine checks and maintenance on the bikes.

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Old 11-01-2012, 11:30 PM   #328
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Electrical work - Day 4

While Terry is normally a super handy self fix it guy, one problem was beyond him. On one of the morning trails on Day 3, a branch across the track had caught on his GPS power cable and stretched it. The cable appeared intact but the wire inside had broken somewhere and his Zumo was powerless. We needed to find and fix the break.

While washing the bikes at a local car wash, one of the other patrons asked about our problem. Then he told us to follow him. It turned out his father ran a factory nearby, and our new friend, commandered the plants electrician to solve Terry's wiring problem.

Which he did

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Old 11-01-2012, 11:39 PM   #329
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Day 4 - Kiev

Terry had one other problem ... His shock absorber was leaking oil. Terry had a quality Hyperpro shock in his bike, but all his adventures over the last few years had taken him WELL over the recommended service interval - for replacing the seals on the shock. I called the Hyperpro guys in Holland to get some new seals sent out. They said rather than risk having them put in incorrectly, they would send Terry a replacement shock, if Terry promised to get his current leaky one back to them.

We decided in order to keep on schedule, that Terry should get the replacement shock sent to Sumy, the last town we would pass through in Ukraine. That way we could keep moving while the shock was being sent out and going thru customs etc. That meant he had about 2-3 days of off road riding to contend with, on just a rear spring. I offered Terry the easy option of just taking the asphalt road, but he wasn't having any of it.

With the shock sorted, we went for lunch in downtown Kiev in a traditional Ukrainian restaurant.

Here's Terry tucking into a bowl of mushroom soup, the bowl is a hollowed out loaf of bread.



We moved on to find a nice hotel in downtown Kiev to spend an evening in the city. That night was beer and pizzas till midnight.
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Old 11-01-2012, 11:44 PM   #330
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Russia is a totally different kettle of fish, Russians would have much less compunction about locking up foreigners doing semi-dodgy shit. But this wasnt Russia - this was Ukraine.
AD-fucking-Venture! You has it. Rock on.
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