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#417118 - 28.02.08 01:35 Ukraine, East Crimea (Krim, Krym)
Gritz
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Unterwegs in Ukraine

I know the east Crimea (Feodosia-Sudak cities region) well and
I'm going to travel there for a 2008 summer with my mountainbike to do nothing but riding, swimming, fishing and so on. I travel with sleeping bag so i'll live anywhere in a wild nature under open sky smile (sorry for my english). I`m a student, not a profesional guide or some sort (that's not a "business")

I know this region (some lovely and beautifull wild and not so wild spots there) and i speak english a little, so maybe i'll be usefull for someone? Will gladly help and answer questions.

Again sorry for my english
Feel free to mail gritz@ua.fm
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#418267 - 02.03.08 23:45 Re: Ukraine, East Crimea (Krim, Krym) [Re: Gritz]
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Hi Gritz,

Thank you for your help laugh
I might cycle through Ukraine somewhere in 2009. Is it possible to wild camp on the Crimea or are there to many tourists?

Cycle the world,
Marc
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#418350 - 03.03.08 13:05 Re: Ukraine, East Crimea (Krim, Krym) [Re: whisky]
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Unterwegs in Ukraine

In generally the situation is next.
The southern part of peninsula is mostly dense inhabited and crowded, the eastern part is lesser crowded. About western part of Crimea i can't say - never been there. Nothern part of peninsula is mostly sun-scorched plain.
In july-august there are many tourists. Lesser In june and a few in may (exception is first half of may - because of holidays) and september/october.
The shoreline and vicinity is the most crowded but the woods which are farther from shoreline lies almost undisturbed (exeption is commercially developed tourist attractions).
There are national forest reserves which is closed to visitors, some of them are opened to excursions, some are completely closed.
Most of southern part of Crimean peninsula is very dense inhabitated, many spots are "tourist developed" and "civilized". Where to camp there i can't say - i hadn't been there for a long time. In eastern generally wild camping is possible (except forest reserves).


I try to tell what i know (sorry for my english and keep in mind that sometimes i speak about matter "in general" so there can be little differences in details). Hope you'll find useful next advices.

Be sure that on beach all prices are higher.

Because i almost all time live in a wild i wear a little dirty (dirt doesn't hurt grin ) old used clothing of grey or green color, that clearly indicates that i do not have much money - that often keeps me from a lot of problems.

Be very carefull when you are riding the road where cars drive. The stupid drivers (there are plenty of them - you even can't imagine how much) very often kills somebody(other drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists) in a accidents, often kills themselfes . This is definetely NOT A EUROPE. Remember that. If it's possible - ride by sidewalk (path where pedestrians go, sorry for my english) - nobody will punish you for that (the traffic police never (i had not seen even a single case) pay any attention to bicyclysts). I personally ride the pedestrians path anywhere where it's possible and sometimes ride by the road in a "wrong side" (don't know how to say this in english) to see cars that is driving by the side of the road which i'm riding (i'm ashamed for my english but please try to understand what i mean).

About cuisine, caffes and restaurants.
Eating at caffes and restaurants is "russian roulette" (you can get really sick) because sanitary conditions is sometimes terrible there (not always of course, but be warned).
I personally live in a forest and cook by myself on wild fire so i had not such problems. I think that it's better to buy some bread, pack of juice or something like that (always look at "best before" data, the shops sometime sell food with this term passed), some fresh vegetables at the market (do not forget to wash them smile . I don't recommend to buy meat, sausages and so, exception is fish in metal cans, but keep in mind that it can be bad too, the best before term can be passed and so).
In shops always look at "best before" data on food products, sometimes they sell products with this term passed. Try to avoid perishable food. The refrigerators are bad and weak almost everywhere. Maybe things are not so bad like i'd described but it will definetly keep you from food-poisonings.

Remember DO NOT BUY AND DO NOT EAT smoked (or dried? do not know how to say it in english) fish that is sold everywhere there - that is dangerous, you can get really, really sick, even die. I can say that about any food sold at beach but fish is MOSTLY DANGEROUS. That's not a joke, do not listen to anybody who say different. Do not eat mushrooms which local's gather (this is dangerous too - the locals say that this is safe and they eat this mushrooms anytime and that they know which mushroom is eatable and which is not, but do not listen to them, sometimes people dies from the mushroom poisoning (even eatable mushrooms can become deadly poison under certain circumstances).

I do not recommend to buy homemade wines, so called "domashnie" - usually it's not good (even if it tastes good it is not so for many reasons, it can be even dangerous to your health - just believe me), do not listen to people which sell it - i personally tasted a good homemade wine only once and it was made by the friend of mine for himself, not for sell. Of course you can get poisoned by drink and robbed. There are many vineyards in the region, so look for wine shops which sell wines directly from the wineyard where wines are produced.
For example i know most wine producing wineyards at east Crimea well (don't ask why tongue ) One is in Koktebel not in town but near it - you can see a white (or pastel cream color - i don't remember) columns by the road (if you go by the main road to Koktebel (from Feodosia direction) that'll be on your left side, if you'll go from Koktebel (to Feodosia) it'll be to the right) just before town Koktebel begins - so take a turn from the main road and go by the road which begins from the columns to the sea. About half way to the sea there will be an entrance to wineyard and a shop there. Wines are fine and cheap. As i remember dry red are "Pino-Fran", "Merlo", "Kaberne" (i like "Pino-Fran"), white dry i remember only "Risling" and "Pino-Blan". Don't be shy - buy a bottle and drink it without a glass just from the bottle neck - no one will even look at you. Some wines can be poured out from the barrel to any bottle (PET usually) that you'll bring with you in any quantity, there is not large selection of this wines - usually it's port weins like "White Admiral" or "Admiral's White" or "Admiral's Red" or another one (depends on season). Another shop (wines are from the same wineyard) with same wines is in the center of Schebetovka village (there is usually larger pour-out wines selection).
In the center of Solnechnaya Dolina village is another wine shop with different wines from different wineyard. Wines are fine and cheap. Guaranteed original. Pour-out wines exist there too.
There is a wineyard in Sudak citi and a wineshop also, but personally i'd tried it only once and i didn't liked a red dry which i bought there.

I like very much lemonade in glass bottles. The recipe and technology of production is the same as in Soviet-times was. The glass bottle looks like projectile (wonder why). There is two brands - "Krym" (bottled at Simferopol) and simply "Lemonade" (bottled at Sevastopol). Ask it cold an try at least one time - it's hard to find such anywhere else.
Good local mineral water is from mineral water resort town Saki - it's bottled in 1 or 2 L PET bottles with simply white labels with name "Krymskaya". The "Myrgorodskaya" mineral water is fine too but it is not of crimean origin.
Try blue onion - it's sold there almost everywhere, it's unique and don't grow anywhere else (at least in our country), i like it much and i think you'll like it too.
Also i recommend you to try round flat breads which crimean tatar's bake. This breads can be found sold with other bread in shops (without plastic wrap usually), or tatar grannies sold this breads at the markets, or on the beach sometimes can be founded a traditional tatar oven's where this breads are sold too. The breads are of two types - bigger ones and smaller ones - bigger ones are made from puff paste, so personally i like smaller ones more than puff-pastry bigger ones.


Beware of forest fires (it's very easy to start one) and keep in mind that there are many foresters wandering the forests (they fears forest fires and tourists which in most cases cause forest fires so they will be unhappy with your presence). In the southern Crimea there is plenty of them, but in eastern Crimea not so many (still sometimes i feel myself like some sort of guerrilla fighter grin ) When you wandering in the woods it is usefull to keep separetely small amount of money to give to foresters if they'll ask (this happens rarely and probably 5-10 USD in local currency is enough (it's about 20-50 hryvnyas), but keep away from closed national forest resortes there nothing won't help)

Traveller must be warned that in may, june and in july (at least first half of july) mites (ticks? sorry i do not know correct name of this insects in english) are very active in Crimean forests and proper repellent must be used (and proper closed clothing must be weared). Be sure to examine carefully your body each evening after forest travelling. Clothing must be examined too.
Those insects can even infect you (i don't know what is it's english name but this disease is terrible - paralysis and death as result). But don't be scared - that happens very rare (they bite me a couple of times - i'm still alive) but need to be careful anyway.
You must use repellent and wear hat and closed clothing when you go to forests, it's not funny at all to remove this insects - when they bite you they remains on your skin (insect get it's head through your skin to suck your blood) and must be removed very carefully by counterclockwise turning (2 or 3 turns usually) and very slight pulling (if you do this in wrong way the head of insect will be left under your skin) - the small tweezers (or small pincers? don't know which word is correct) is a right tool for that turning and pulling - must have. Anyway don't be scared, if you know how to it's easy to remove them. And do not forget examine your body to find them.
Mosquitos can be found in some places too.

There lives poisonous vipers, so look under your feet and be careful in wild grass areas. Poison spiders exists too (some examples can be seen in the museum of nature at Biostation at the foot of Karadag mountain).
I do not know english name of that plant but latin name is Dictamnus (i'm sure you will easily find an information on it). Do not smell it (it blossoms in may-june and has large flowes of purple-rose color) it can damage your skin and if you'll smell it's flowers you will burn your lungs for sure.

The sea is not clear near towns but exist places where water is like crystal. I'd been there (i'd lived a couple of weeks ont a wild shore in a hut that i'd build from the washed away wooden wrecks - it looks like a hut of a shipwrecked pirate so i'd made a pirate banner (jolly roger) from cotten towel blackened by charcoal - it's harder from year to year to find such places but they still exist.
I'd seen myself how dolphines hunt and jump high out of the water near shore rocks so close to me like at "dolphine show"


I'm a little tired typing.
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#418422 - 03.03.08 16:35 Re: Ukraine, East Crimea (Krim, Krym) [Re: Gritz]
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Wow shocked Thanks for all the extensive info laugh

I already suffered from a food poisoning in Tajikistan (russian canned fish) and since then I stay FAR away from any fish products. Thanks for all the warnings.
Do they by any chance sell something called ´gazly suv'? It is basically a mixture of syrup with carbonized water and it´s cheap and tastes great smile
What is the bread called? Most of the time I could only find the russian bread but it looks like a brick and it tastes like one, too tongue
Hmmm, wine, I normaly don´t drink and drive but a bottle in the evening is a nice thing to have smile

Cycling in old clothes is something I like, too as it keeps the beggars away and the prices in the stores (Magazin?) are way lower when dressed that way. And it protects my skin against the blazing sun, mosquitos and ticks.
Ticks are also a problem here in germany and I normaly wear long trousers and sleeves to keep those critters away

Cycle the world,
Marc
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#418490 - 03.03.08 19:44 Re: Ukraine, East Crimea (Krim, Krym) [Re: whisky]
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Unterwegs in Ukraine

I got light food-poisoning by canned fish last year also. Anything can happen from time to time. But if it's impossible to be complete vegetarian it's better to buy some fish than some sausages.

Be warned that you might get poisoned by melon or watermelon too (it is not so common but possible).
I do not recommend to eat this early, melons and watermelons ripen normally only at august (they often become available much earlier).

Those bricks of bread sometimes taste good (it's different from bakery to bakery and usually bread which is local baked at village(or small town) bakery is better than all-crimea brands in plastic wrap. Bread must be fresh to taste good (today baked). I personally like rye brick bread (is it correct name? sorry for my english) which is called "borodinski" - but it also differs from brand to brand, some are better than another.
I don't know correct name for that tatar round bread and i use to call it "tatarskaya lepeshka" (or "tatar lepeshka", tatar bread anyway - if they have one they probably will understand what you mean). Look for tatar grannies (old ladies? sorry for my english again) with baskets at the market-places (usually one round bread lies over cloth that covers the basket). The tatar ovens at the shore can be found too. The prices was about 1.25 to 3 hryvnnyas for small sized one depends on a distance to the sea coast wink (normal exchange rate is 5 hryvnyas for 1USD, but in resort cities at the beach there is hard to find exchange at a good rate).

Sorry, i don't know what is ´gazly suv'.
The lemonade that i'd described is cheaper (of course price depends on a distance to the sea coast) than any other bottled drink. It's bottle has a distinctive look (back to USSR, eh cool ). You can found that lemonade in PET bottles also, but there is difference in taste between that in PET bottle compared with one in to glass bottle.

Yes stores are called "Magazin". But prices there usually are fixed and depends on a distance to the sea coast, closer to sea - higher prices (of course it's possible that personnel tell a higher price when they see a foreigner).

Ticks there are very obstinate insects and can get under the clothing (once get on you it will "travel" to find how to get under clothing). They bite me often when i'm forgeting about using repellent.
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#418495 - 03.03.08 19:50 Re: Ukraine, East Crimea (Krim, Krym) [Re: Gritz]
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Unterwegs in Ukraine

About all warnings. Some people at another forum say that i'm "scaring people". Sorry for that, things might be not so bad, but if you are warned you are armed.

Maybe you'll find something usefull in my posts crazy .

Geändert von Gritz (03.03.08 19:56)
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#418573 - 04.03.08 00:44 Re: Ukraine, East Crimea (Krim, Krym) [Re: Gritz]
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This is my short travel notes about some interesting places in eastern Krimea.

Town Stari Krym is unique place - the highest (from the sea level) situated town on whole peninsula. Only some villages are situated higher. You can say that this is not a town but a large village but it's oficially called "town".
It lies at the foot of Agharmysh mountain (Old Mountain). Agharmysh mountain is the first mountain on my usual way to eastern Crimea and from the road i can see it far at the horizon standing magnificantly under the sky dome.
This mountain itself is mostly leaf forest covered and has some carst caves. The biggest one is called Endless Well. Ancient greeks (which had colonized this lands about IV century b.c.) believed that it leads straight to the Realm of Dead and Styx river flow down there. The cave itself is not big in diameter and there is particulary nothing to breath down there even not far from it's entrance (no air flow, no ventilation). There are also some smaller caves randomly situated in the forest (for example one of them which looks like a hole in a ground 20-30 cm in diameter - i time to time pass near it). On the top of Agharmysh there are three places from which an outstanding sightseens opens. The one that can be found easily is Wind Rose, the one on the other side of the mountain is Ship's Bow, and the one that is hard to find is Wolf's Canyon.. On the path to the Wolf's Canyon stands a some sort of wooden gate (two trees at each side of the path crossed by another tree). It was built by someone unknown for unknown reason. Beware - a "fairy land" begins there - i know what i'm talking about. Just in wild forest (there is no beaten paths there) stands stoned gnome (naturally it's a rock pile about 1m in hight but this is definitly a gnome which was turned to stone). There are many strange things there - like moss growing on the rocks in the form of letters. From Wolf's Canyon is impossible to go further - i'd tried many times and always i returns to the road where my travel begins. Cannot explain how it happens, maybe fairys know? confused (i know that one leg is usually shorter than another so people in forest usually go in circles but this is not that case).
At the foot of the mountain, just where ascent begins, grow juniper, so air is fresh and healthy there. Up ahead not so far from there stands a big rock which looks like sofa (i rest there usually when i'm going to gather herbs in a forest). At the right side of the Agharmysh mountain (if you look from the town) where forest ends and landscape become stony and sun scorched movie "9 regiment" about Afghanistan war (1979-1989) was filmed - soviet army blockpost was built (like soldiers in Afghanistan did) and left untouched - i'm sure it's still there.
Near town (on an another mountain which is called Gritz's mountain (Gritz is ukrainian man name, common in past times and this mountain is named on all maps by that name, so it's funny to say "that's my mountain - look at the map if you don't believe me") is situated armenian orthodox church monastery (it was built about first half of XIV century). It is called Surb Hach which means Holy Cross. The forest road leads there. By the side of this road is a grave of the christian monk who was killed by islamic warriors. Soon after the fall of Kiev Russia state under tatar-mongol invasion the Crimea was invaded by tatar-mongol too. They killed poor monk (not him only but many) for the icons of the saints that he was painting (islamic law, which was installed imediatly after invasion, prohibited to depict any people or living creatures). Grave is marked with stone plate with cross engraved on it. Monastery itself at present time is in a stage of reconstruction, and there is some sort of a small museum (it's a museum only, as i know there are no monks now there, but monastery church is still functioning). There are about four or five water springs just near monastery building (water is very clear and has an incredible taste - in each spring a little different).
Forest road leads farther in a woods. Clearly there are many roads but almost all of them leads nowhere - they suddenly ends or go in circles crossing with each other. Do not get dissapointed by the word "road" which i'm constantly using - i mean so called dirt roads which were sometime long ago used by foresters but now are abandoned. It's easy to lost in a woods so regular tourists do not go there (only steady ones). In the middle of a wild forest at a distance lies a ruins of a second monastery which is about XII or XIII century (i don't know exactly). It is completely uninhabited and ruined - only some piles of stone and a base of an unknown building with a stairs fragment left. There is a water spring there, but i don't know if it's safe to drink fresh water from there - i usually boil it.
I'd travelled farther a couple of times - there lies forest covered mountains (not very high), from some points opens beautiful sightseens, forests lies almost undisturbed. I'm sure that is possible to get to Schebetovka village that way and probably to Krasnokamenka village (but i'm not sure).
Once i'd seen there a bunnie jumping in a woods very close to me (i was sitting queitly and resting and the wind blow in such direction that bunnie can't smell me) and another time a boar jump out from the bushes and run away (i was riding quite fast by the road so i think that i'd frightened this boar). Bunnies are common there, foxes i'd seen a couple of times too but in another places not in this forest exact. Boar i'd seen only once. There must be many squirrels also but i didn't see any.

Geändert von Gritz (04.03.08 00:53)
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#418575 - 04.03.08 03:07 Re: Ukraine, East Crimea (Krim, Krym) [Re: Gritz]
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Some more.

Not far from the place where town of Stari Krim ends an old post road begins (it's not hard to find where it is but to miss it and go wrong is also quite easy) from Stari Krim to Schebetovka (or to Koktebel or to both - it's hard to say now where this road was pointed exactly). The locals know it as a road of Five Turns (or Osmanov Yar (Osman's canyon) also). This road descents all the way (there are couple of small ascends-descents but they are small in comparsion to most of the road, so it descents at a direction to the sea coast and ascends all the way back to Stari Krim). I like to ride it fast standing on pedals (it's quite stony so bike jumps and shakes hard sometime). The beautiful sightseen from this road opens at the forest covered mountains (especially beautiful at an autumn). This road leads you to the small lake (there is nothing interesting). From that point if you go to the right you'll came some time later to the forester's houses and another lake. If you go a little straight you will find yourself at a quite large plain where vines grow. From there it's possible to turn left (and get to Nanikovo village or to Koktebel) or turn right and get to Schebetovka village. There lies almost flat plain but it's very easy to get lost there in a vines and dirt roads. In any case i think that there is impossible to get lost totally so it's only a matter of time when you'll come out to "civilization". Travel carefully - there are people which are guarding vines, so try to avoid lone-standing buildings near the dirt roads when you're travelling where vines grow, do not travel through vineyards, use dirt roads. The guards will be probably unhappy with your presence. If you encounter them try to pass by with busy face. If they ask say clearly that you are tourist and you are travelling (they probably become a bit angry but i suppose there is nothing they can do (i'd encountered them a couple of times and they only sometime a little "snarl" at me or simply do nothing (different from time to time). Anyway i had not any problems travelling there. At vineyards near Solnechnaya Dolina nobody even pay me any attention.
If you'll turn to the left from the post road i'd mentioned before just after small lake you'll get to Nanikovo village. It stands at the foot of Koklyuk mountain (Blue Eye mountain if translated from tatar language - i don't know why tatar called it like this) and dirt road leads from village up there. This road leads to the Pilot School which stands at the beginning of the Uzun-Syrt range. The top of Koklyuk will be to the left (the path from the village directly to the top of the mountain exist too, but keep in mind that it's very steep). At the top stands a white colonnade. From the collonade beautiful sightseen opens. Koklyuk is interesting for wind-shaped cliffs which looks like giant stone columns (this cliffs are situated only on one side of the mountain - where mountain becomes very steep just under the collonade).
The Pilot School was built in 30th years of last century, the two buildings of that era still stands there and can be viewed from outside. From the school there is a road which takes a long descend and crosses with main road from Feodosia to Koktebel.
By the road from Feodosia to Koktebel not far from Koktebel you might have seen a mountain with a small model of glider on a square stone at the top of it. This is the end of Uzun-Syrt range. This place is called Klement'ev's mountain (in the name of russian pilot Klement'ev who had died in a plane crash there).
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#418647 - 04.03.08 13:38 Re: Ukraine, East Crimea (Krim, Krym) [Re: Gritz]
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Hi Gritz,

Thanks for the tips! That would be a great day out laugh Do you think that it is possible to cycle those roads with luggage (25kg) or are these to stoney or steep?

Cycle the world,
Marc
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#418844 - 05.03.08 08:38 Re: Ukraine, East Crimea (Krim, Krym) [Re: whisky]
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Usually i cycle with about 15kg load. Not much, eh? blush

There are not many stoney roads there, speak in general only a part of old post road is stoney, and 2 small ascend-descends (don't know how to say this in english) near town are stoney too.

The small path from Nanikovo straight to the top of Koklyuk is very steep (you must push bike up), the road to the Pilot school is not so (i can ride all way up on the bike). On the old post road i ride all way in both directions (mostly).
Road to monastery is boring (for me) but not very difficult.
It's hard to get to the top of Agharmysh mountain on bike straight from the town (there are beaten paths and you for sure can push your bike up there if you want to), the top of the mountain is almost flat and there is a dirt road there (foresters time to time drive this road, but i don't know where this dirt-road leads).
All other ascends are long and sometime boring, but not very steep.

I don't like to travel by the road where cars drive. Cars pollute environment. So if it's possible i'll ride a dirt road instead of highway. Still not all routes can be done in that way.

Is it a shame that i sometime push my bike instead of ride on him? grin

.
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#425904 - 30.03.08 00:12 Re: Ukraine, East Crimea (Krim, Krym) [Re: Gritz]
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Look for grannies (or anybody else) solding nuts at the markets (or just at the streets). Look for almonds, you must find almonds which can be cracked by bare hands (so you must ask to try), do not buy almonds with hard shell (it's very, very hard to crack such, only hammer will help grin ). Good walnuts can be found too (ask one or two to try) - buy walnuts with thin nutshell (two nuts will crack one another if you press them in your hands).
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#513816 - 07.04.09 09:07 Re: Ukraine, East Crimea (Krim, Krym) [Re: Gritz]
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spring-summer-autumn 2008 passed just fine, sure 2009 'll be better. going there again so feel free to mail me.

best wishes.
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#514815 - 12.04.09 09:51 Re: Ukraine, East Crimea (Krim, Krym) [Re: Gritz]
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Got some experience, hope it'll be usefull for somebody

Riding off-road is quite nice. But regular inner tubes does not suitable for that. Thick tubes for downhill match perfectly. In comparsion: on regular tubes i got about 2 holes in 3 days (sorry for me english smile ), thick "downhill" - about 10 holes in 5 months.
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