Ukraine

Ukraine is a huge country with a lot of great sights to see. Fortunately, a lot of them are concentrated in the western part.

There are some disturbances in the Eastern part as well as Crimea, but there are lot of information on that elsewhere, so I’m going to leave it at that. There are no issues on the Western part.

Besides from the Carpathian region, Ukraine is flat. Farmlands for thousands of kilometers. But there is a lot of interesting history to research and sites to visit.

Riding Ukraine is a special experience. And that is meant in a good way. The roads – how bad they may be – is part of this experience.

Absorb the scenery, the every day life, how much is going on – even in remote places. Slow down, soak it all in, and just enjoy. This is what makes riding in Ukraine so awesome.

Passport: Yes

Yes.

Green insurance card: Yes

Make sure it is accurate and valid. Bring the original.

Vehicle Registration Certificate: Yes

Yes, always. The original. This is also sometimes referred to as “moto passport”.

Financial means

You need prove you have the financial means to get by in Ukraine during your visit. This means that you need to prove you have 800 UAH to spend per day in Ukraine. There are several accepted ways to prove that, but the easiest is just having some cash. It can be in Euro. I have not heard of anyone on a motorcycle being asked, but know that they have the right.

Toll: No

There are no toll roads in Ukraine.

Condition: Poor

Generally the backroads are in poor condition. So make sure your suspension have some travel and do expect a lower average speed. If riding in rain, it is difficult to judge the depth of the potholes, which are sometimes rim bending deep if you go too fast. The locals are friendly and often set up makeshift warning signs like branches, boxes, or the like. The larger road are generally OK.

Road Safety: Low

Ukrainian people are very friendly, but they often drives without lights and poorly maintained vehicles. Do not drive in the dark.

You: Medium

Ukrainian people are very friendly, but I do recommend you to stay away from nightclubs.

When using ATM (or Bankomats as the are called), try to use those inside bank buildings to better avoid those with skimmers. I have never had issues, though.

If you can, connect with Ukrainian riders.

Check in with your embassy to let them know you’re in the country.

Make sure your travel insurance covers Ukraine.

Bike: Medium

I would definitely find secure parking. Either garage, backyard, or similar. One time, I had to park it in the middle of a town square over night. Nothing happened, but I didn’t sleep well. It was in the town Volodymyr-Volynsky.

Bringing a bike cover is a good idea. It doesn’t prevent theft, but it is a little less obvious, and people usually fiddle less and do not sit on a covered bike.

Cell

Cell phone coverage is good, except in the mountains. But be vary of the roaming prices, as they are not EU. If you need to use your cell phone, consider buying a local prepaid SIM card. They are often found at larger gas stations.

Wifi

Like the rest of the world. Even small private B&B’s often offer wifi. But the quality is probably not as good as the one you have at home.

Language: Ukrainain and Russian

They speak English for the most part. If you’re in the western part, they understand Russian too, but some can get offended if you assume that Ukrainain and Russian is the same.  Do not ask what something is called in Russian, ask what it is in Ukrainian. You donøt offend anyone by saying something is Russian, but just know that it’s not the same. As always, it is a great courtesy to learn a few phrases.

Thanks: Dyakuyu
Goodbye: Do pobachennya

Alphabet: Cyrillic

Learning cyrillic will get you further, but it is not too important. Don’t let it stop you from going.

Currency: Ukrainian hryvnia (UAH)

Pronounced “grivnya”.

Check how much 100 UAH will set you back.

Corruption

There are dirty police in Ukraine, and meeting them can be an unpleasant experience that unfortunately clouds the experience of Ukraine.

Besides from staying away from the E471/E50:

 There’s not a lot that I can recommend, but know this:

  • Police are not allowed to accept cash, not even if the fine is legit. If they have a credit card terminal, that is OK. Otherwise they have to issue the fine which you pay at a bank (or online, I believe).
  • Ask them their name, rank, and the reason for being pulled over. They are obliged to tell you.
  • They may try to intimidate you by “big trouble, you go jail” kind of threats. Try to not to let them get to you.
  • The police have the right to stop you, so do not try to run away.
  • Be polite, but firm. Repeat that you have done nothing wrong (assuming you haven’t). 
  • Insist on an official report being written.
  • If you can, call the corruption hotline on +380 44 272 4659, or 102. Also call your embassy.

Check out Ukraine's great roads to ride:

Great Road: Arabat Spit, Ukraine

Great Road: Arabat Spit, Ukraine

This narrow strip of sand connects the eastern part of Crimea with mainland Ukriane. It is a flat, road - actually if is most of the times, multiple parallel roads. And the fun part is to navigate which road to take. They will all take you the same way,...
Great Road: Rakhiv Pass, Ukraine

Great Road: Rakhiv Pass, Ukraine

The Rakhiv Pass road is a nice gravel road that offers exceptional view over the town Rakhiv. By the way, Rakhiv is a fine place to stay the night. The road is gravel, with occasional patches of broken asphalt. But is a relatively easy surface. I have...
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