Okay so I have been in Ukraine for a few days now, my first impressions were about how little traffic was on the road. I was a bit hesitant with my route through Ukraine as I was following the M07 into Kiev and on maps it looks like quite a main road but this soon changed when I started to ride on it and it is just a single carriageway road with the occasional truck and car whizzing along. Happy days with a direct route like this I thought it would be quick miles.

My first full day in Ukraine was pretty uneventul I managed 187km feeling I could have done more but was close to a town so didn’t want to overcook it so that I would finish in a town where I would want to stop for the night. I found a nice forest though and settled for the first night bivvying in the snow. I had now reached the point in my journey where snow was on the ground everywhere and I thought great! No more water issues and hot chocolates every night bivvying.

Awakening the next day I realised that the bivvy bag had frozen solid which was new! However I had been comfortable for most of the night. I set off feeling confident that I could do a big day and started riding. I noticed it was snowing a bit more than I had seen before and I was pretty much going into a blizzard, must have been amusing to be a truck driver and to see this little cyclist going down a road. The people in the petrol stations sure thought it was amusing with two guys inviting me and giving me coffee sitting me down next to a radiator to let the beard defrost. I was happy with this and was in high spirits. I was nearing the 100km mark and was feeling great and then I had just reached it.

Video about 20km before the crash. Feeling good but you can see the weather;

The mind games one plays with oneself on a ride is amusing, I try and count in 20km splits and then think I will eat and drink every 20 km so I am literally counting down, then I am trying to break this down further and working out percentages and all sorts just to keep the pedals turning. Anyway when I got to 100km I was elated as I hadn’t realised and was already at 105km, I pedalled on and saw a car at a junction trying to get on the road, I was in a rhythm and thought I would make it past him before he turned on as in the UK the car would have given way and let the traffic go but he pulled out and I couldn’t stop so hit him from behind and smashed my head onto the top of his boot. Always wear a helmet! I always do and think this helped me greatly. I split my eyebrow open but apart from this was okay.

The bike was a bit worse for wear though. I had seen that the back rack had totally been ripped off the frame. Not good. Both front panniers front hinges had snapped off. Not good. The front wheel would not move and the front fork was all skewed. Not good! Lots of things were going through my mind and I thought that this was it and that would be the end of the race for me. I took all the luggage off the bicycle and the car had stopped also and they must have seen me in a bit of a shock. They had a lot of tools in their car so they worked on hammering the forks apart so that we could get the wheel loose and back into position.

Eventually we got the wheel spinning freely clipped into position but the brakes would not connect and the wheel was further back than usual making it impossible to do anything than cycle in a straight line. To top it all off the blizzard was still going on. The car then drove off leaving me to put everything back onto the bicycle and get going again. I knew I would have to get help as if I had punctured the front wheel I would not have been able to take it out and put it back on due to the bodge job.

I bungeed the back rack on straight both sides and put the luggage on, it seemed to hold which was nice and was pretty sturdy. I then proceeded to get out the emergency rope. Why I always carry spare rope I don’t know but this time it was perfect I had 2x2M bits of 12mm rope and they did the job on tieing the front panniers onto the rack into position. Things were secure and I could ride…. be it in a straight line. I was kind of near a town called Korosten. I thought if I could make it there and get to a hotel and internet I could sort something out. However this wasn’t to be and my negative thoughts were winning so I stopped in some forest. Ignored the paw prints and set up camp. Another night of freezing bivvy with an uncertain tomorrow. I just wanted to shut the world out.

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