A few days ago I met with two Ukrainians here on Zanzibar. Ruslan and Anna both began their bicycle journey in Addis Ababa and finished in Dar Es Salaam, although travelled independently for much of the way. I’ve met cyclists from many countries before, but never the Ukraine, so I decided to ask them some questions.

1)   Is cycle touring popular in the Ukraine?

Ruslan: ‘Not at all. I don’t know anyone from my country who is travelling by bicycle in places like Asia and Africa. I’m not a typical Ukrainian as I lived in China for some years. It is there that I became interested in cycle touring when I discovered the Crazy Guy on a Bike website.

2) Hardest day of the journey?

‘Crossing the border from Ethiopia – Kenya. The sands started and I wasn’t prepared. There was no food and no water. It was very hot and not possible to ride for much of the way’.

3) Biggest surprise of the journey?

 Discovering that Ethiopia was a really nice country for cycling, as well for people, food and culture. This was a complete surprise. I’d like to make another journey here. Yes there are some places with kids throwing stones, but if you keep your cool and don’t lose your temper it’s OK. This is a game for them.

 4) How far did you cycle?

Ruslan: ‘About 2700km’.

Anna: ‘600km, but my computer broke so I don’t know’.

 5) Where else have you cycle-toured and how does this trip compare with others?

Anna: First trip.

Ruslan: China, Vietnam, Phillipines, Kenya, Uganda, Spain.

Ruslan: ‘ This trip was the most challenging and it was meant to be. The other trips were done in cooler weather. Few people cycle in the Omo valley of Ethiopia. I expected problems from some of the tribes and got some’.

 6)  How do you feel now that the journey is over?

Ruslan: ‘I’m happy as in the middle of March I will start another journey cycling from Istanbul to Rome’.

Anna: ‘I want to come back to Africa, but maybe not with the bicycle. There are many countries I want to visit. Nobody in the Ukraine comes here so I want to find a way to bring more people to Africa’.