35 To Chernobyl By Bike

To Chernobyl By Bike

Have you ever dreamed of traveling into an isolated area the access to which is forbidden? Not many people would dare to reach the borders of the Chernobyl region surrounded by a barbed wire.

The area surrounded by a barbed fence is guarded by patrols. But if you are lucky enough there is a chance to get inside the abandoned place.

Dense forest is followed by a number of empty villages. Today the villages are only inhabited by wild animals.

In spite of the fact one will hardly want to spend a night at a haunted house and prefer to use a hammock under the open sky. The empty houses look too grim.


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35 Responses to “To Chernobyl By Bike”

  1. geoff says:

    The place is interesting, but you are surrounded by abandoned and contaminated cars and equipment. I thought that made you very sick at the least.

    And I think the bike is a Suzuki Djebel 250. That model is not available here in Australia to my knowledge…..a shame.

    • Hirsh says:

      “I thought that made you very sick at the least.” – you have much to learn about types of radiation, their interaction with nature, the length of time involved, original desperation patterns, where waste wast concentrated both by clean up and nature, etc… it’s much, much more complicated then simple statements like that.

      There are hot spots that are extrememly dangerous to but “the Zone” as a whole is actually a quite beautiful nature preserve at this point. Not fit for human habitation, but mutation rates of many species are very low, and they live a quite wonderful life free from humans and totally unaware of the danger.

      It’s not like it’s an apocolypes zombie death zone, that’ll leave you ill and dying if you go there, but you are ignorant about radiation and proper precautions to take. Think about it like those coworkers of yours who say you worry to much about asbestos as they drill holes in it with no dusk masks. ;)

      If you know thy enemy then you can take safe trips through the zone. Knowledge+common sense is your best defense against health problems.

      • Hirsh says:

        lol, I really need to start proof reading casual comments better before hitting submit.

        • geoff says:

          Hirsh your writing is OK. Its your meaning that is the important thing. I like desperation patterns :)

          So the bike would not become contaminated unless it was taken to a hot spot ?

  2. I am sure the last person to travel to Chernobyl by bike was actually a farce…?

    We went recently, and took the easy route with a guide and minibus lol. Photos can be found here:


    • Hirsh says:

      Yeah Elena Vladimirovna Filatova (i love that name) didn’t actually go by bike, but it was a great ruse and she weaved a great story about the place. she also explores and treasure hunts old battlefields. Don’t know if she’s updated her site in ages but there’s some cool stuff there about Chernobyl and her other hobbies.


  3. Kent of Sweden says:

    Looking at the pictures of the abondonded vehicles (choppers especially) and comparing to pics taken some years ago by Elena Filatova and others it looks like major parts have been carted off presumably by thieves, just hoping that this contaminated metal does not show up in some car or kitchen-appliance in my store…

    • Hirsh says:

      Absolutely. scrapping, to put it politely, has taken place far and wide throughout the zone. Even in Pripyat they have avoided patrols and carted of household radiators and such en mass.

      For me that’s part of what’s fascinating about studying new pictures from the zone as time passes by. It is forever changing…

      • Kent of Sweden says:

        Yes that started early just a few weeks after the evacuation radioactive TV-sets and radios started showing up in Ukranian markets, that was when the guards around Pripyat started shoodting without warning. But that was not really as dangerous to the public as carrying of parts of the radioctive tecnics (as Elena calls them) since the TV:s (unlike the choppers) had not been right above the burning reactor.

  4. Osip says:

    Foolish. It is not the general radiations that are dangerous, so much as it is ingestion or inhalation of contaminated particles. He is a young fellow, he has plenty of time to live to suffer the effects.

    • Hirsh says:

      Exactly. Riding a bike through the area is particularly risky in that regard! Downright foolish. Getting caught by security is the least of his worries.

  5. putin says:

    Scary thing is that people have mobbed the abandoned equipment for parts, entire engines are missing out of most of the trucks from past photos I’ve seen.

  6. Hirsh says:

    PBS’s “NATURE” program recently premiered the episode “Radioactive Wolves” about wildlife in the zone 25 years on after the Chernobyl disaster.

    If your in the U.S. or territories you can watch the full episode (1hr) at the link below. If your somewhere else you probably need to work around the IP region restrictions they put on viewing it. It sucks when they do that…


  7. neblogenso says:

    Absolutely cool! Just watch out for the wolves, I’v heard there’s lots of them.

  8. Greg says:

    Remains of Chernobyl 2 ????? When did the Woodpecker get taken down?

    • Hirsh says:

      Curious why you think the “woodpecker” has been taken down? Should it be visible in the distance in one of these photos?

      Hmmm googling found some comments about plans to take it down in 2007, but i haven’t found any confirmation it’s happened. I’ll miss it if they did. Talk about cool artifacts of the cold war…

  9. There was a good website by a Russian woman that was titled “Kid of Speed”.I don’t know if the website still exists or not.

  10. YJ says:

    STALKER fanboy dream vacation.

  11. sikki fuxx says:

    looks like a great place to film a death metal video. radiation and desolation are kewl. that’s what I love about Russia and Ukraine – so much vast social and structural destruction. hahaha

    • reznor says:

      kewl? how old are you, 12? “social and structural destruction” is not “kewl”, it’s actually very sad.
      grow up, idiot.

  12. Kex says:

    So sweet i like chernobyl very muchhh!!!!

    • reznor says:

      sweet??? people are you crazy? we can talk about strange and otherwordly feeling around these places that approximates the category of “beauty” or maybe “fascination”, but “sweet”? come on…
      ok just my opinion…

  13. robin yates says:

    very interesting post, thanks for showing me a hidden world

  14. KeMa says:

    Fake. it’s not the Chernobyl-Zone.

  15. Zema says:

    Very interesting post!
    What a nice pictures!
    But what a pity, it is a FAKE!
    At 2007, and 2011 (from 29’th of May) we are visited the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, organized by the ChernobylInterInform, (State Agency of Ukraine for Management of Exclusion Zone and and Zone of Unconditional (obligatory) Resettlement), and spent 3-3 days at Zone, including ChNPP, Pripyat, sourrundigs, etc.. We spend the nights in Chernobyl. We are in good (personal) relationship with many ex Pripyat inhabitant, and many others who’s interested in the exclusion Zone affairs, or concerned with them who deal with the other cases of the Zone. Like pripyat.com, reactor4.be, lplaces.com, etc…
    At May the Duga (Chernobyl-2) still standing, and then is at a standstill now . Check this ER post: http://englishrussia.com/2010/09/15/chernobyl-2-a-pearl-of-the-past/
    Please compare the area ont he pictures! Photos taken by Kranz.
    Those sourrunding buildings are not the same, where the forest was disappearing around the buiuldings, where is the four storey main building, where are the signs, where is the concrete parade and training, ground, etc…??? Besides of this, there is no scrap metal yard at the Duga.
    At the Zone there are areas sesignated for this, like Burjakovka, Rassokha, etc…
    The surface, and background radiation exploration vehicles and the exemption vehicles which ones are contaminated (every one), are rest there. the visit of these are strictly forbidden, and guarded. Besides of this, there is no scrap metal yard at the Duga. Where is the „Zona” paintings from the wrecks?
    The area has many characteristics, and earmarks, nothing is apparent from these on these pictures.
    There is’nt a demolition plan, and the area is preserved today, the visitis not possible only with permissions. Duga is an iconic part of the Zone like the NPP’s chimney), so if Duga was demolished, it would be published in many topics, headlines.
    Only that vehicle may go into the Zone, which ones has the registration plate published by the Zone Administration. You think that a motorcycle is not rather prominent, and they do not look for it? We did not meet a motorcycle in the course of our organized tours.
    Getting closer to Kyiv apart from the Zone, there are many desolate, and abandoned farms, buildings, these pictures may have been being made there. Also the radiaton background values are not really correct on the display…
    Elena Filatova’s travel diary is a big lie, like this.

    • Hirsh says:

      Everything you say is basically true, except for you failure to comprehend that despite all the precautions and patrols people, “stalkers” as they’ve unfortunately become know due to the silly video game, know many illegal paths into the zone and do go in. They included poachers, metal scrapers, looters, graffiti artists (were did you think the graffiti came from? That it was done with permission? Officials were outraged and embarrassed when it happened) etc.

      As for your assertion that these particular photos are “a lie”, you haven’t provided any convincing proof of that at all. They could also be from the desolate area surrounding the zone. I had that thought as well, but your denial that only those with permission can get in makes me think you’re not realistic about the situation there and it puts your firm assertions into question.

      And asserting Filatova’s story is a lie (my opinion as well, but a great story) and linking it to this one doesn’t prove anything about these photos.

  16. Zema says:

    Dear Hirsch!

    I think these photos taken at the early autumn. Just check the leafs on the ground, the yellow grass, the lights / shadows, etc… I think it was probably in September, but can be up to October. Maybe this year. At this June I saw Chernobyl-2 with my own eyes, than I saw pictures what were taken at August. The condition of Duga, the buildings, sourrundigs, the radar fence, the close enviroment, etc… was just like that on the photographs, than was I saw personally. Those photos was taken at august, this is sure, and proven. If our stalker shoot this photos at this September-October, and if it is true, there is the Ch-2 on these pictures, then in Ukraine there may be very professional specialists, that this was made of the site which can be seen in the article linked by me… Short 2 months, and the whole enviroment changes? The Ch-2 is really a huge one object. By the way, why would they have taken it to pieces? In the Zone the main priority is the renewal/build processes of the new Object Shelter, and decomissioning the other parts of the NPP. (third stage, etc…) They are in continuous delay with this, the deadlines are rewritten repeatedly. Do you think that they deal with the demolition of the harmless radar, beside these, and important, and essential resources are grouped there? This is not too lifelike. By the way, in the Zone there is no dismantling, unbuild plan for any object, building, etc, except the part of the NPP. The generally know dangerous buildings are not demolished because of this in Pripyat. From among these a 2 storey school collapsed till now. There is no plan, no money, no focus to demolish anything. So this part of this article (in relevant Ch-2) is completely fake. So if a part of the story is a lie, then after these the rest of his story how credible?
    There is two pictures where is a radiation counter attached to the bike’s handlebars. At Ukraine, and Russia in the considerable part of the cases, the display shows Roentgen values. We see a 0,059, and a 0,017 values, so maybe 59 micro R / h, and 17 micro R / h. The average background radiation level at city of Chernoby – except the hot spots, of course – was about 20 micro R / h (two times than the normal, it is nothing), the average in Pripyat was about 50-70 micro R / h. So I dont know where were these photos taken, but could be even in my living-room, because 17 micro R / h is may be on any parts of the world. If those pictures taken in the Zone, taken in any forest, or any wooden area near the NPP, Ch-2, or Pripyat, or the Red Forest, especially on the neighbourhood of the wreck cemeteries, the counter MUST to show a higher value! In a forest the background radiation increasing due to the trees, so those pictures seems to me to make for effect…
    Besides of this you have basically right, about illegal paths. Filatova’s story failed proven in several parts, one of our guide at the zone mentioned, she’s only take a 140 USD tour with soloeast. The pictures with the bike was taken outside of the zone, as I mentioned earlier getting closer to Kyiv, there are many abandoned buildings. Filatova take pictures at there. The mood is similar. And she mentioned she’s got permission to travel by bike in the zone. That’s impossible, because there is not a permit like this, and may not driving alone anywhere you want, without a guide. Besides of this there is curfew at the night. Filatova take a helmet, a leather jacket, and hop on to tour bus at Kyiv… What a shame.
    I am realistic about the Zone, I know there is many “stalker” playing the hero without permissions. This is not question of a debate. I can tell stories about it… BUT there is many places at the Zone, what these people avoid, because it is known that they may get caught. Including Ch-2… Including scrap-metal yards. There is possible to stealth to Pripyat, to Janiv, to Chernobyl, etc…but impossible to Vektor, Rassokha, Buryakovka, and the NPP including reactor island, semi state 5-6 reactors (stage III).
    Please check those images: http://englishrussia.com/2010/10/02/nuclear-waste-repository-buryakovka/

    This is Buryakovka. With radiaton signs, with “Zona” paintings on vehicles. Check the 39’th picture in this post, and the 20’th of rhe Buryakovka post……. It is the same site, but Buryakovka is an area preserved strongly may not go in daytime here. And there will be different values on the detector’s display. Beside of this Buryakovka is not the backyard of Chernobyl-2 radar station…!!! The Buryakovka pictures in this post was taken by somebody else, on those pictures on what the bike is visible beside a wreck, they did not taken the same site.
    Fake. There is many questions you’ll see. Why does he not mention Buryakovka if the pictures were taken there really? would getting in there be a big thing for a stalker.
    Why lies that this is Ch-2, and that it was broken down, and the wrecks was at the backyard?

    • Hirsh says:

      Excellent comment and observations Zema and i think you are right! I don’t disagree with any of your points, and would love to discuss a few of them, but don’t have the time right now. Thanks for the report on recent conditions there. And i’m envious you’ve gotten to go, twice no less! Would love to pack up some photo gear and do the same one day.

  17. Zema says:

    One more thing:
    This is Ch-2.
    Do you find any kind of similarity between the two slideshws? Is what it is not possible to pull down, is what it is possible to recognise after a demolition is many characteristics like this? And how the wrecks got there when it is visible that a couple of his years are already suddenly there they are. I claim it because of this, that is a lie. I do not say that he was not able to get into the zone, but lies about the sites, and many other things.

    Best Regards,

  18. Zema says:

    An other article from 29’th of Aug.
    Chernobyl 2 still standing, there isn’t any signs about the demolition, and scrap metal yard at the backyard, etc…
    This is Fake.

  19. Kevin says:

    Great photography, what type of equipment did you use?

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