This is one of the most chilling stories I have ever read. I had it linked on the BBR but then the link went dead. I found it on another site where someone was able to save it to their site. I have done the same and tried to look for a way to contact the author of this story (Elena) and let her know that we have a direct link to her site here and that we have copied it to our site too incase it gets lost again. I have resized the pictures for the web and made thumbnails to all of the pictures
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link to her site can be found here.
my rides through chernobyl area
beginning of a story about town where one can ride with no stoplights, no police, no danger to hit some cage or some dog..
My name is Elena, I run this site and I don't sell anything in here and to tell the true, I don't have anything to sell. What I do have is my bike and this absolute freedom to ride it wherever curiosity and speed demon take me to. This pages maintained by author and with internet traffic site may be down sometimes
Motorcycling is a great hobby of mine. I ride all my life and I owned different bikes and I ended with big kawasaki ninja. This motorbike has matured 147 horse powers, some serious bark, it is that fast like a bullet and comfortable for a long trips. I travel a lot and my favorite destination lead through so called Chernobyl "dead zone" It is 130kms from my home. Why favourite? because one can ride there for hours and not meet any single car and not to see any single soul. People left and nature is blooming, there are beautiful places, woods, lakes. Roads haven't been built or repaired since 80th but in places where they haven't been ridden by trucks or army technics, they stay in the same condition as 20 years ago. Time do not ruin roads.
to begin, we got to learn a little something about radiation, it is simple. Device that we use for measuring level of radiation called dosimeter and if you will turn it on in Kiev, it will show 12-16 microroengen per hour, in cities of Russia, America or Europe normally it will be 10-12 microroengen per hour. 1.000 of microroengen make one milliroengen and 1.000 milliroengen make 1 roengen. To die quietly human need to acquire a tan of 500 roentgen within 5 hours. This sort of radiation can not be found this days in Chernobyl. In first days after explosion, in some places around reactor it was 3.000 roengen per hour and people who were throwen to put down that fire have been dying on the spot. Now everything is much better, they put a big sarcophagus on that thing and we can travel there with no danger for health. Here is map that shows radiation level in different parts of dead zone and which I updated for our local biker club in March 16 of this year (2004) map shows level of radiation on asphalt, usually on the middle of road, because on edge of road it is twice as higher and if you step 1 meter off the road it 4 or 5 times higher. Radiation sit on earth, on the grass, in apples and mushrooms. It is not on asphalt, which makes rides through this area safe. I always go for rides alone, because not need anyone to rise dust and I had never problems with dosimeter guys. They are on check points and if they will find radiation on you vehicle, they give a chemical shower and this eat ya bike.
1960-1970th has been a time of a great nuclear enthusiasm. With such slogans as- "atom is our friend".. they were building atomic plants here and there, like starling houses and then in April 26, in year 1986 a guy named Akimov pushed wrong button and launched the biggest nuclear catastrophe ... Akimov was jailed for 14 years and as it was in tradition with soviet justice, they put in prison all other people that worked on that day shift with no matter who was guilty and who was not..... In theory radiation will stay in Chernobil area for the next 48.000 years, but in reality first people must start to populate those area already in some 300- 900 years. This is when the most dangerous elements will dissapear. If government will find money to finance our science, then, I suppose there will be someway discovered to neutralise or clean up this area sooner, otherwise we will have to wait this 900 years untill radiation will evaporate by itself.
disaster in my memory
In Ukrainian language Chernobyl is a name for a grass, wormwood (absinth) This word scares holly bejesus out of people here. If I tell someone that I am heading in a "dead zone"... you know, what I hear.. In best case- "are you nuts?" My dad used to say that people afraid of a thing which they can not see, can not feel, can not smell and that kills. Dad is nuclear physicist and he also says that of all dangerous things in my life, he can only think about one, which is riding my bike on fifth or sixth gear. In any way, dad and their team work in "dead zone" for last 18 years. They doing researches from the day when nuclear disaster happened. The rest of guys in a team are microbiologists, doctors, botanists.. etc. I was 7 years old back in 1986 and in a few hours after accident happened dad sent us with sister off with the train to Grandmother. Granny lives 800 kms from here and dad wasn't sure if it was far enough for us to stay away of troubles. Communists kept silence about this accident. In Kiev, they forced people to take part in their stupid labor day parade and then people start learning about accident from foreign radio, from relatives of those who died and real panic began in 7-10 days after accident. Dad says, that in those first 10 days exposure to radiation was the most powerful and can not even be compared with what we have now
heading up north
Time to go for a ride. This is our road. There won't be many cars on that roads, this places having ill fame and people trying not to settle there. The farther we going, then cheaper is land, then less people and better roads.
as we passing 86th kilometer we'll see this big egg. This is where civilisation ends and where Chernobyl ride begin. Someone brought this egg from Germany. The significance of this egg is LIFE that will break through, life that will survive through radiation. Here is last place where one can get something to eat and fill bike with fuel. Choose any dirrection from here and you will see the same picture- desolated towns, dead villages, ruined farms.
This is what left of village with population of 4.500 So called exclusion zone is a territory of 30 kms around atomic power-plant. We are not in a dead zone yet, we cruising around big egg and now we are some 50 kms on South from reactor.
now we are 50 kms on west from reactor.
This old man lives in Chernobyl area, he is one of 3.500 people that either refused to leave or returned to their villages after 1986. I admire those people, each of them is a philosopher in own way. When you ask if they not afraid to die, they telling that at home they may die with radiation and in some other place they would definately die with home-sickness. They eat food from own gardens, drink milk of their caws and claim that they are healthy, but we can't get away from facts, only 400 of them left out of 3.500. It appears that stubborn people, those of fortitude- are first victims
We crossing border with Belorussia, it is another country. Evil wind brought here 70% of Chernobyl radiation. If we will travel deep into Belorusian territory we'll get an idea about total area that is poluted and not good for living. Houses here mostly made of wood and they absorb radiation like a sponge.
this is Belorusian cemetery, in many villages scratches on that crosses the only chronicle that left. I couldn't find particulary this village on my map and on cemetery I saw that all people that lived in this village for last 200 years were Smirnovs. It must be sectarian village, one of the sect where brothers have been marrying sisters and they all used to have one last name. I put this village on my map as Smirnovka.
road on Chernobyl
Time to fill bike with fuel and open throttle, we are on best road in this area, this one lead from big egg to Chernobyl. There is no commercial gas stations in a dead zone, so tank must be full. We don't need to run out of fuel on the middle of some nuclear desert.
We are going through passport control. One need to have permission to enter zone of exclusion. I have one of nuclear research center.
this is where they give a chemical shower.
Every time I pass through a check point, I am trying to realise what I feel being in a dead zone. This is new feeling. Villages, roads, woods here might look the same as beyond zone, but they are not the same. It feels like you steped inside of the picture. Everthing is not real, like painted.
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