Winter refused to leave without a fight this year in Ukraine and twice last week we had fits if snow and sleet mixed with the bright spring sunshine.

This weekend all that changed. Spring arrived, the sun shone, everything turned green and everywhere you went Ukrainians were making the most of it. There was the Kyiv half-marathon, old car fest, retro bike fest, the Ukrazyans exhibition and thousands of ‘BBQs with friends’.

I tried to make the most of it by taking the bike out early on Sunday so I could enjoy the rest of the day at one of the above…



Some strange standoff between Rodina Mat and a bunch of security guards along the banks of the dniper.


The symbol of Kyiv is back


Early morning by the dniper

I cycled down the river past the Lavra and up to Big Mama (Rodina Mat).

During my trip I realised that there’s one massive difference between walking/hiking up a hill and cycling up a hill. When you walk, you have to walk back down and this is often harder than walking up. However, when you reach the top on a bike, the way down is a high-speed freebie.

Instead of grumbling about sore knees you can stop working and enjoy an effortless descent – in this case across most of Kyiv city centre from Pechersk to Podil – as you admire Kyivs 1000s of new burger bars and coffee kiosks.

Now it’s Tuesday morning and I’m back on the cycling machine (level 6!) and wondering why the guy in front of me is running every morning in full-length leggings, long shorts, a long-sleeved top and a large woolly hat. Seriously!

I dont know why but he looks like he might be from Finland so maybe it’s some kind of Nordic running.