This isn’t your typical bicycle tour report. Kyiv is a beautiful and vibrant city with so much tragic history, yet here it is today a bustling and thriving metropolis sandwiched between East and West. My topic is not so much what I see riding through the city, but what I feel, literally, what vibrations and proprioceptive sensations arrive at my cortex during exploration of the city with Maria on our Q45s. The city has many smooth roads and paths, but the focus here will be on the unsmooth and the obstacles that make cycling much more than a visual feast. When you look at these photos, imagine how the texture and contour would be transmitted through the tires, suspension, and the cushion which runs from your buttocks up to between your shoulder blades. What would you feel? Which way would you go?
Old brick to new brick via ramped curb. Avoid upcoming pole barricades.
Uphill on cement hexagons, some with a sandy layer, causing brief traction loss; some loose tiles make interesting percussion sounds when passing over.
Downhill on dirt with dips and rises. Fun and just a little scary. Keep in mind I am taking all of the photos riding with just one hand on the handlebar!
Angled tile surface approaching a pole and curb drop.
Cement block path next to the Dnieper River. We had to carry our bikes up those stairs. Some stairs have a ramp for pushing your bike upstairs. This one did not.
Sharp left turn from brick, up a smooth ramp. Low gear, keep the RPMs up.
Metal swirlies on a narrow city sidewalk.
Gravel and sand trail.
Uneven brick to cement with slight elevation change.
Cobblestone street next to a memorial to 12,000 dead in the ongoing war with Russian separatists.
We have ridden our bikes around many of the landmarks described in the documentary Winter on Fire, Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom. This is available on Netflix and I highly recommend it if you want to know of the battle for freedom that took place here in 2013-14 and is still going on today elsewhere in Ukraine. Cycling Kyiv has been quite a sensory experience, and I hope this focus on the texture and 3D surfaces enhances your enjoyment of cycling wherever it may be.
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