Start: Lviv, Ukraine
End: Ternopil, Ukraine
Elevation Gain: 3248ft
Elevation Loss: 3079ft
Reading Material: The Good Soldier Švejk – Jaroslav Hašek; Ukraine: A History, 4th Edition – Orest Subtelny
Audio Material: Diane Rehm Friday News Roundups; Bullseye with Jesse Thorn; Planet Money; Unpacking my Library – Currituck County
New trip max distance day: 128km!
Got a nice early Sunday morning start from Lviv. This is the first city which insists on cobbling all major streets out of the metro area for a radius of nearly 5km. And, the farther you get the worse shape. Once I escaped, it was a straight-shot on the H-02 road all the way to Ternopil.
Everyone brings up the poor conditions of Ukrainian roads. But, for biking, the secondary roads really aren’t that bad. Yes, large potholes. But, on a bike, I can dodge these much easier than cars which you often see weaving at slow pace. And, today’s road featured what I can best describe as a kind of frost heave which runs longitudinally along the shoulder (as opposed to normal heaves which cross the road). Easy to avoid, but you have to choose a side and be very careful of crossing the heave. Even with these features, I averaged 17km/hr (with stops) which I consider a pretty good road.
First Sunday where I saw a large number of brides out — in churches, in motorcades and (rare) making a pitstop at a desolate petrol station where I stopped to top-up on juice (grapefruit). Lots of church services. Lots of blocky concrete Soviet monuments. Also, lots of sad cows chained up along the road. And, one sad dog who was free to roam but just wanted to lie down in the grass.
A Pancho & Lefty cop team with radar gun flagged me down. I wasn’t speeding, they just wanted to say “hi” and check out where I was headed. Good English and very friendly as they wished me well on my way.
Arrived at Ternopil tired but grabbed a shower and went in search of food. Ternopil is the second largest city in Galicia (to Lviv, pop. ~200,000) and young for the region (founded 1500s). It features a large, man-made “pond” created by a big Soviet damming project. Quite pretty, actually. Ate in front of the well-known, baroque Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception of The Blessed Virgin Mary until it was time to pass out.