Flatland in the Ukraine by Daniel Fuhrmann
How often have you heard about BMX-Flatland in the Ukraine? Never before? So I think it is very interesting to write some words about it.

I remember last year I got a message over ICQ: "Hello my name is Vitaly from Kiew and I ride your bike! (KHE dafunction)". It was a very nice feeling, because the Ukraine was a very strange country for me and someone in this country rides my bike ! The first conversion was the beginning of a friendship and we wrote a lot of messages, nearly every day. I remember one day in winter he told me it is now -15 degrees and he goes out riding. For me it was a great motivation to feel his love for BMX-Flatland. We wrote more and more and it was clear for me that I want to meet this guy.

After I did shows in Abu Dhabi (UAE) for 2 months I booked a flight directly to Kiew. The mentality in Ukraine is different than the mentality in Germany, for example at the airport nobody smiles and everybody looks at you very strict. Getting special things like bmx-parts is nearly impossible. The delivery of packages from others countries sometimes takes months. So I was surprised to see so many people riding BMX-Flatland.

imageOne Spot in Kiew is at the Marinsky Park with a beautiful view over the river Dnepro  and the city Kiew. The weather that Sunday was rainy, but the mood was great. Many people from all over Ukraine came to Kiew that day to ride their bikes. Some riders travelled over 12 hours by train "just" for a jam! The rain was no problem because there is a roofed stage at the Marinsky-Park. I was surprised about the level of riding as well. For example Sergey Supryaga. He does crazy X-footed-Wheelchairspins to Halfhikerspin without breaks but with a lot of style. Also Yevgeniy is very young and very good. Pumping X-footed-Mccircle-Gturns. They look so easy when he does this move. In the evening the rain was gone and the sun came out. It was so nice to ride with all these guys. This is what I love about our sport. Mostly it doesn´t matter who you are or where you are, if you meet a flatlander you directly have a place to sleep and a new friend, who has the same level of thinking in his mind as yourself, because we all have the same feelings, problems, motivation, love and we all are living in our world full of "small" bikes which "normal people" don´t understand. And this especially in Ukraine.

imageAfter the Jam we went to Vitaly´s house and we ate some Ukrainian food and had some special Wodka. I want to say at this point that I especially enjoyed the food (check the photos) :-).

Back in Germany I thought a lot about the Ukrainian riders and I wanted more. In Abu Dhabi I met a performer, also from the Ukraine but from another city called Dnepropetrovsk. I asked Vitaly and he knew some riders there like Max. So I started to write him over the messenger aswell. I decided to go back to the Ukraine during my semester break. Kiew looks a little bit like a Western European city in the 90´s but Dnepropetrovsk looks different. Some things you will never find in Germany. For example a pick-up full of people instead of a bus. In Germany everybody would say „It is not safe enough. There are not seatbelts and there are to many people.” I remember I couldn’t get out of the „bus“ because I couldn’t reach the door and my Russian language isn´t the best.

imageThis is another thing I love about being a flatlander. You have the possibility to see other places. In Dnepropetrovsk it was the same situation as in Kiew. I meet the riders and from the first second we were friends. Some guys who visited Kiew before visited Dnepropetrovsk aswell. Aleksey aka Loscher arrived at 6 am, started to ride at the spot at 8 am till 7 pm.

It is just an example where you can see how motivated the riders are. Another very friendly and good rider is Ivan. He impressed me with his skills. Cliffhangerspin to wheelchair with power I have never see before. I was surprised to see the Hitchhiker-to-Pegwheelie-Jump of him. Ivan, Vitaly and Yegor also told me that it is very hard to get a VISA for people in the Ukraine. Therefore it is much harder for these guys to visit contests in Europe. They have some competitions and jams in Ukraine, too. For example the „Championship of Ukraine“ in Mykolaiv. I hope in the future the guys from the Ukraine will make their contests more public, for example at Global-flat.

First the Ukraine looks very strict but soon you will find some friendly people, like the flatlanders, there. The Ukraine has a very good scene and I am so happy that I made this experience. If any of you guys is coming to Stuttgart, Germany: My doors are open for you!
Thanks to all Ukrainian riders for the nice sessions, conversations and the motivation. I will see you guys soon!

Special Thanks to Aleksey aka Loscher , Victor, Sergey, Daniel, Yevgeniy, Vitaly, Vadim, Yegor, Max, Ivan, Arthur, Marina, Mum and Dad of Marina (best food ever) and all the other people I met there.

I love Flatland!

2008-12-08 - Daniel Fuhrmann