Start: Kiev, Ukraine
End: Oster, Ukraine
Elevation Gain: 1038ft
Elevation Loss: 1018ft
Reading Material:Ukraine: A History, 4th Edition – Orest Subtelny
Audio Material: On The Media; EconTalk (Bruce Schneier interview); Stuff You Should Know; Fresh Air Gandolfini remembrance
Turns out Kiev is a pretty late sleeper. Most cafes don’t open until 10am, so I had my own power croissant and pastry breakfast with a pourover coffee and was on my way by 9am. Big thanks to Viktor Zagreba, one of the bicycle enthusiasts in Kiev working on extending the EuroVelo network east, for some routing assistance which made for a pleasant and safe exit from the Kiev metro area.
I crossed the Dnieper into the region of Ukraine historically known as the Left Bank (look at the river from the perspective of a Kievian Russian in the 10th century floating down the river to the Black Sea, and not the “right” side of a modern map). After the destruction of the Kievian Rus empire by the mongols, the Left Bank often fell under control of Moscow whereas the Right Bank was fought over by Russians, Poles and the Austria-Hungary empire.
Peaceful cycling on decent roads ensued. I found the physical instantiation of Sky Mall and passed what I can only describe as a Tatooine Sand Person riding a bicycle in the opposite direction. Arrived in Oster (named for the large Oster River which passes through town) and even though it was only 330pm, decided the river would make too good a camping spot to pass up. Picked up a salmon steak in local market (my fishing skills are horrible, but I’m pretty good in a grocery store) and had a nice dinner and evening by the surprisingly swift (I will swim in any body of water) river.