Cycling from Ukraine to Georgia – REVIEWING KOMOOT

It’s time for me to cycle from Ukraine to Georgia.

I am on my way to Georgia, I am leaving Europe to get to Asia, on my way, for the first time I will be cycling on mountains, this will challenge my tour.
I am first heading south from Kiev, I will avoid Crimea and the war zone because I already have enough troubles on my way without armed conflicts going on.

I will reach Odessa and there take a boat to Batumi, in Georgia.

From Batumi I will cycle to Tbilisi, the capital. Which is near Azerbaijan.

I am quite excited because I am going south so the weather should be good!
Great things I have heard about Georgia, expecially the fact that Georgians are quite hospitable and make good food. Let’s hope they have some vegan stuff for me, let’s also hope that they will offer to me while I cycle, as I have heard cyclists saying.

KOMOOT

This time I have also an helmet and a 280 degrees camera.

I have just discovered an app with maps for bike touring, hiking, running and outdoors. It’s called Komoot.

After long online researches it seems that the this software it’s the best for people traveling to by bike.

It tracks your route and you can also share it, so I will share it here, in the end of this post.

What make this app more useful than others is that you get cycling directions for any country in the world, you can download offline (you have to pay) the maps. Once you planned the tour, you can save it and see how the way will be, the elevation, which kind of street you will be on (asphalt, path, paved…). It tells you also how to many kilometers will be uphill or downhill.
You get even informations about how fit you should be to do a certain route and you can set your own fitness level.

From Kiev to the black sea

https://www.komoot.com/invite-tour/22664522?code=bk7lht-gM3aXZQ64UNIbhwHlW5ZBlVKpTNVlC-vatDD51NrD7I

From Batumi to Tblisi


https://www.komoot.com/invite-tour/22590410?code=1fne77-fv-WGo3740fvsTSIiaibILrmqgV8v0QZv1OjYPj5c0U

 

 

Ps. There is a misspelling somewhere in this page, if you find it, you win!

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Cycling naked into the world’s most radioactive area: Chernobyl

Wooden bridge with slit in the middle

Cycling through the Radioactive area of Chernobyl and ghost towns

I start cycling from Minsk and I go south to Ukraine, I pass nearby Chernobyl: Naroulia–one of the most radio-contaminated city of the world–, the Radioecological reserve Polesky and the nuclear ghost town of Poliske (Ukraine), which is between two military checkpoints.
Many dangers on the way, but the radioactivity pollution is not the biggest.
The Belarusian army, police, wild animals, falling apart bridges, injuries and even lack of drinkable water was what made the cycling challenging.

LUKASHENKO

It’s like an authoritarian father, not allowing his children to do anything he does not like them to do.
I feel it from his army and police, so close minded and standardized.

THE HIERARCHIC WRONG FAIRYTALE OF CINDERELLA

Belarus make me think of fairytales.
Children’s stories that can make kids adults heroes, or just robots, depending on the content of the narration.
Let’s take Cinderella as example, an apparent nice story.
But there is a manipulative teaching: kids learning that a prince or a king is more important than a common person.
Cinderella wants to get out of her poverty through marrying a prince. This is not just sexisst but higly hierarchic and non meritocratic.

If there would be no prince there would be no poor ladies like Cinderella.

GETTING INTO TROUBLES WITH BELARUSIAN ARMY

To take a shortcut, I go through the forest, crossing a falling apart bridge I see a strange field in front of me: it’s not forest, neither cultivated, on the map is shown just as a gray area. I go into it to cross it.
I see big holes on the ground and I have a strange feeling.

All the patterns marked on the map don’t match the real path and I am stuck in this place. I decide to camp there for the night, feeling a bit worried.

During the night I hear trucks passing, I look more carefully out of the tend and I spot a destroyed war tank far from me.
I start thinking I may be somewhere where I should not be!

In the morning I am awaken by a big military truck passing, a soldier with three stars on is jackets comes out of it, telling me, ‘almost friendly’, that I am in a military exercitation camp, where they are shooting with fantery and heavy weapons. He tells me to leave asap.
I thank him and I leave, I think that he was quite kind to have just told me to leave without even asking who I am.

After two kilometers there is a checkpoint, with soldiers and the man I spoke previously was there waiting for me, he politely tells me that I have to be interrogated.

I am ready for interrogation and I am quite happy to be alive, not aware that the interrogation will lasts seven hours and I am asked about EVERYTHING.
They check all my stuff, included my private pictures on my phone, emails, facebook and all you can find on my google account.
The find some naked pictures of me, where I promote Cyclonudista, and tell me that pornography is illegal in Belarus, I tell them that that’s just my body as I was born.

At the end I am told that a truck will come to pick me up and bring me “on the right way…”.


After another half hour a truck comes, I am helped to get inside of it with my bicycle, there are soldiers with weapons in it.
I am not able to see outside, it’s dark and I am about to vomit for the shaking and the dust.
I can now understand a little what animals in cages feel when they are transported from one place to another, I understand why many of them die on the way. I almost wished to die myself on that truck.
I am worried and paranoid, I think  that they would harm or even kill me. They seem too kind to be true.
The truck stops, the same people who inspected me open the door from outside and I am free, for real.
Never felt better in my life.

DOGS AND WILD ANIMALS ON THE WAY

In the tent I clearly hear wolves, I am ready with pepper spray and a metal stick–a detached handlebar–to fight, but luckily they don’t come too near.
Dogs are barking to the wolves all night long. What to know what I think about dogs?
Dogs are the most evident example of human insatisfaction.

I see a farm in front of me, I see people kicking and pulling cows as they are pieces of

EVEN IMPORTANT THINGS ARE EASY TO FORGET

When we change from different situations we can forget really fast, and deeply. We may easily forget all the struggle we were in before, if we are suddenly in a more comfortable situation.
The ones of us with memory for the sad past, the ones that remember also the bad times of others around, the persons that have this sensibility, those are our heroes, those are the ones to whom we have to be grateful.


YOU CAN’T UNDERSTAND

When you have a home, you can’t understand homelessness.
When you have a full belly, you can’t understand the hungry one.
When you are healthy, you can understand pain.

I also don’t understand how I am able to cycle: just one week before starting, I do a wrong movement and my back gets blocked, people need to pull me up and lift me for about three days in order to let me move.
My right eye has some loss of sharpness; while cycling I fall down, I hurt my hand and I am not able to use it for all the rest of the trip… But this didn’t stop me.


USSR AND COMMUNISM – UKRAINE OPEN TO EU

Kiev is much different than Minsk or Riga, which both give me USSR, anti western, pro-Putin feeling.

I was more keen to like the Soviet Union before my trips to the Baltics, Belarus and Ukraine.
After the seeing huge economic and social differences even in Belarus, which is the only country in the world that continues on the USSR regime, I am not sure I like this kind of communism. I would not even call it communism, but dictatorship.

I have noticed that freedom of speech is unknown in Belarus, the country is ruled by police with little-no personal liberty.


I would say that among ex-USSR countries, Ukraine is the most open and EU-oriented country, even if there is a long way to go.
While Latvia was the most unfriendly country for western people.

TRAVEL COMPANION

I mostly travel alone because I am often disappointed by travel companions. Some of them pretend to be lovers, but are much better than expected as traveling companionship, much worse than expected as lover.

WAR IN UKRAINE

What’s the difference between a detainee and a soldier?
The only difference is that the soldier can let out his hunger and frustration freely on other people.


EUROPEANS SHOULD LEARN FROM UKRAINIANS

In Ukraine people is not smiling all the times, sometimes they give you the impression of unhappiness. Except this, I have experienced great manners, honesty and really friendly attitude.
Things work well here, public services are smooth and internet is really fast and cheap.

The subway in Kiev works extremely efficiently, it’s clean and everyone is perfectly well educated to stand up from their seats for an older person. The same in the tram, trolley bus and minibus.

Walking at night, even in really dark areas, is totally safe. Nobody bothers you even if is clear that you are a foreigner. 

Police and army people are friendly. They are working hard and will not bother you, in south europe (especially in Italy) this is not the case.

I never felt unsafe or threatened here ,  to be sincere I felt much better that in many European capitals.

Cyclonudista Helsinki 2016 WNBR Finland 12 June – World Naked bike ride

Biking naked in the city

 

CycloNudista is coming soon!

Get rid of your materialistic possessions and jump on a bicycle with us!

Last event was spectacular, I remember a beautiful situation that made me so proud of being a CycloNudista: a big luxurious car—that may have costed as much as a house—stopped next to us and the driver, astonished, started to take pictures of us. I didn’t feel honored of course, but I felt the power of the simplicity. This to remember that our body is more shining than a supercar.

See you again; Sunday 12 June at 16:00


As human we love to own things, we challenge each other to whom is owning the most and we pass ownership to our offspring. With this system of accumulating and restrict resources into casts we have often huge social and wealth differences. I think this causes the main problems of our society.
Bicycles are equalizing us in a certain way. Being naked too.

 

NAKED AGAINST CAPITALISM – PRO NATURE’S PROPERTY SYSTEM

Being on a bicycle make us more humble and down to earth, a bit more like animals…

The main points of CycloNudista are of course to Protest against the oil and car culture, celebrating bicycles.
While cycling naked I was thinking about how Animals also have some ‘property’ rules,which we ignore, but they are actually much more fair, sustainable and efficient than ours. For example, we kill or arm bears, or other ‘dangerous’ animals in forests, just because we don’t understand about their territories rules.
One of the simplest, and smartest at the same time, system for animals to define territory and ownership is urine, it seems something of little importance, but actually is a really smart practice.
You urinate just when you are alive, that means that from the moment you die, you have automatically no possession.

I don’t suggest you to pee on your belongings, this was just an inner thought I had making a parallel between human and animal systems. This was just a parallel between humans and animals.

 

WE WANT TO SEND A MESSAGE AND CELEBRATE

Cycling, is not just nice because you are in contact with nature, get healthier and more spiritual, but also helps us appreciate simple things and the fact that we are independent.

We don’t pretend to save the world by having a naked ride around the city, but we do pretend to send a worldwide message asking more bikes and less cars.

CycloNudista is a way to get back on our roots, to be a bit more natural, at least for a day 😉

 

 

JOIN THE EVENT!

 

HELSINKI
https://www.facebook.com/events/1583702101895473/

COPENHAGEN
https://www.facebook.com/events/276654189171501/

BRUSSELS
https://www.facebook.com/events/1737276733219135/

 

and many more cities…

 

CycloNudista main page:

http://wp.me/P4ZVpc-aq

2015 in review, thanks for following!

My best wishes to all readers of BikeTravelTheater.org , which are surprisely increasing!
For 2016, my New Year’s Resolution is to go more into Bike, Travel and Theater of course.
I have several Social and Artistic projects waiting for me, but also many adventures cycling in the north-east and discovering what street performances are like there!

Cycle & ReCycle 2016!

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. My blog was viewed about 19,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 7 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Baltic’s States, I meet a blood drinker around Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania

ESTONIA

One of the difficult things for me, to do on the road, is to take picture and enjoy what you are photographing at the same time. Is not easy to catch the beauty of what you are watching, often by photographing all the time, you even lose connection with the reality and the enjoyment of the moment. That’s why sometimes I just leave the camera on my bicycle and I record everything without even pointing at it! (not always with the best results….)

Blood drinking girl in Pärn‍u

On my way south, from Finland to the bottom of Estonia, I was searching for a place to sleep, suddenly I met someone…

We met in the middle of the night without knowing each other, in a dark street in the countryside.
I was lost and she offered me her place to sleep (without even seeing my face).
I liked her style, her way of behaving and her apparent foolery, she was really extravagant.
While we cycled to her place, she was telling me that she was a monster and enjoyed killing people. Drinking their blood.
I was slightly scared, but tired enough from the trip to follow her without resistance.

We arrived,
her room had many dark-style decorations on the walls.

It was the house of her grandparents, with her alcohol addicted grandfather, always drunk, screaming all the time, and her extremely sweet grandmother, gentle and kind, suffering all the time.

Even being afraid that someone is a dangerous person, if you like that person and you think it’s someone worth to get to know, you should go for it.  Everybody is a potentially dangerous person, and remember that even if someone is ‘bad’, he may change as well. Better to be now, with someone that looks like a dangerous person, or maybe not perfect, than to get to know someone thinking he is totally safe  (which does not exist actually) , that will eventually change in the future in someone dangerous while the first person may get better.
Not even death always related with ugliness: the dying of leafs on a maple tree are delightful to see for example.


LATVIA

RIGA

The most people has a quite archaic and conservative opinion about sex and man-woman relationship. If you like to be in company of women you are seen as a dirty, stupid, unwelcome.
The first impression is that western Europeans can be just good to get scammed and ripped off.

There is a huge Russian influence here, even if people told me: “Lithuanians are more Russian-style than us…”.
Anyhow, I don’t see here a big wish for change from the past.

If a man is not prone to expose himself for his ideas, or his ideals have no value at all or he, as person, has no value at all.

Luca x2, the paradoxical coincidence

Passing by a hostel in the center of Riga, asking some information’s, I notice a person that I have seen somewhere before.

I ask:

“Hallo, did I see you anywhere before?”

“yes, maybe” – he says with a strong french accent,

“ah, that’s funny, where were you the past weeks?” – I reply,

“in Tallinn,”

“me too! we should have met there then, did you hitchhiked to here?”

“no, I came with the bicycle”

“me too! what a coincidence!”

“what is your route?”

“I am coming from Scandinavia”

“me too! that’s more than a coincidence… ! where are you going?” – I say, almost not believing it!

“south, direction middle-east,”

“me too!” – I even start to worry about too many coincidences! – “since when did you start?”

“many months”

“me too, seen that we have so much things in common, we should introduce each other! What’s your name?”

“Luca” – he says

“me too!!” I reply

This is funny, weird and does not even look like to be possible, but it is. And you have seen it on video!

 

I love Gulliver’s travels because whenever he was traveling,  in the each new place he arrived, the people could not understand or properly interpret experiences he had in the previous places. This happen in real life as well, who hasn’t traveled into a country, is not really able to understand certain things about that culture.


 

LITHUANIA

What if we would say to an anthropologist: “are you sure the culture you talk about is not just a scientific stereotype?” – I don’t think it is, but would be interesting to hear the answer.

Vilnius

If you just go in the street and shout: “Giedre” you will get at least the half of the girls turning their head. This is the most common name for girls.

Food

Lithuanians really love to add sauces to any kind of food, especially ketchup!
Pizza with ketchup, mayonnaise or tartar sauce is quite common.
Coffee and tea are not filtered, which means that you are mostly eating, not drinking it.

Vegetarians and vegans in Vilnius

When I asked to a waiter in a restaurant for a vegan meal, she gave me this explanation:

“Vegetarian here means that you are allowed to eat fish, Vegan means that you don’t eat fish or meat, but you do eat milk and eggs.”

I was surprised, but actually I have to admit that in Lithuania people is still much more forward than in more southern countries about fair and healthy food, for sure Latvians and Belorussians are not better…

Police

A group of three persons was behaving a bit annoying around the main train station during night time, once I called police they came really fast, they were helpful and did a good job, I even got a translator.

With Police the truth is sometimes the least credible.

The danger of who generalize is to end up fighting against his companions.

Cycling

There are public bicycles and some bicycle paths, still the system is not perfect and in many streets it’s really hard to cycle because the path may be marked as “cycling lane”, but , it has in some areas paving stones that makes it almost impossible to cycle.  The crossings points need to be improved too.

Street Theater, Street Performances

Lithuanians have a sense of creativity, art and modernism, I was quite surprised to notice that.
There are many enjoyable street performances in Lithuania, regardless the cold climate (of course mostly in the summer), if you happen to pass in Vilnius in August you may enjoy some carfree days with Art, Sports and performances open to all.

Theater VS Real Life

Theater and reality overlap in my life, it merges until the point I don’t play theater anymore but I play my life, making the world as scene. This makes my technical acting skills decrease, but my social and life skills improve.

Technology

Regardless some other fields where there is room for improvement,  in Lithuania, you have great internet infrastructure: the best European fibreoptic internet penetration (usage) and both home and mobile internet really fast and affordable.

Technology VS Nature

How to know when tech is going against nature?
Well, one easy attitude would be to use technology to better understand and follow nature’s rules.

The countryside northen of Riga (Latvia) so charming but so tough

Cycling to the capital of Latvia, I had some tough time but it made me end up in a wonderful place…

 

Bicycle on the beach
Vidzemes akmeņainā jūrmala

 

 

I never thought that I in the northern coast of Riga (about 70 km from the city) there would be such beautiful landscapes, amazing, fascinating views that drained up the battery of my camera.
Actually I regret to have made so much pictures, because I spent the most of my time looking at the camera instead of looking at the reality.

 

Vidzemes akmeņainā jūrmala
Rocks on the Latvian north-east beach

 

The enjoyment of the sight made the time passing fast, suddenly it was dark and I was still 70 KM from my destination (Riga), I thought “ok, I will spend the night in a hostel here…”; actually I didn’t had into account that there are no hostels in those villages, not eve motel, there were two camping but they were close.
After few kilometers I find a guest house, I call the owner and he asks me: “how many you are” – I say – “I am alone…” I don’t finish the sentence that the guy reply: ” we are closed.”
I start to think to pass the night in the forest, but it is about to rain and for the day after there is the same weather forecast: rain.

 

20141014_171433

 

I go to a supermarket to ask if they know any place where I can go and to buy some food. The food is extremely expensive and of bad quality, I ask the woman if I can eat inside the supermarket cause I am cold outside (I cycled for 10 hours and I wanted some warmth), the woman says: “no”.

 

20141014_180123

 

I find a last camping on google maps, I call and a really kind woman, speaking perfectly english (better than me at least), says: “just come to a green gate”.
Of course I don’t find the gate, but after a couple of calls we find each other and I am so surprised of how friendly and kind this person is.
She tells me that they are close, but she wants to help me and she can offer me an appartment, for free! – I was actually shocked from her kindness and good heart.
I enter the place and is just amazing, beautiful wooden floor, wooden doors and all modern with all comfort!

 

20141014_223533
Is from here that I am writing, in this moment…

 

20141014_223415

 

I want to link this place cause such kind acts are not common:
https://plus.google.com/109814064533338343955/about?hl=en

The traveller

Traveling with bicycle theater - Keskväljak (Estonia)

The traveller is in some ways weak, he has no ability to joining political life of the visited country, sometimes he has to accept rules and even misbehaviors just because he is the “new” in the country.
But a big duty of the traveller is to inform, to see and report, to use his eyes as security cameras, that will trigger any time some improper happening is seen.