A Europe by Bicycle Project

Cycling Transnistria, Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh and More

On September 2nd 2018, I reached the end of another spectacular cycle tour, finishing with a celebration of Independence Day in Nagorno-Karabakh, also known as Artsakh. Ever heard of it?

On this page is a very rough map showing my 10,000 km (6,000+ mile) route through 18 countries but, more importantly, through 39 (and very near a few others) of the bits of Europe that are, however serious or desirable, moving towards independence. Some of these movements are entirely jokey, some little more than an excuse to form a football team, some are legit but with a minuscule number of crazed devotees, a few have millions of serious advocates and, in a handful of places, it's been important enough for thousands of people to die for. Some places have no great desire for independence but may have it thrust upon them by the machinations of others. Three are technically still at war, including one - Nagorno-Karabakh - that faces its enemy daily across a frontline with guns and tanks. Many, however, have their own rich history, culture and cuisine.

It was a fascinating ride through parts of Europe you may never have heard of. Perhaps once you read about them, you'll want to visit some of these places yourself.

Stage One: Competa to Lyon

Dates: 2nd April to 8th May

Countries: Spain and France

Independence Movements: Andalusia, Eastern Andalusia, Murcia, Valencia, Catalonia, Val d'Aran, Occitania and the Sovereign State of Barbe Island

Map of Andalusia, Eastern Andalusia, Murcia, Valencia, Catalonia, Val d'Aran, Occitania and the Sovereign State of Barbe Island

Stage Two: Lyon to Katowice

Dates: 8th May to 30th June

Countries: France, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Poland

Independence Movements: Savoy, Romandie, Franche-Comté, Alsace, Fürstentum Rheinbergen, Bavaria, Südtirol, Padania, Veneto, Friuli, the Free Territory of Trieste, Istria, Rijeka, Enclava (near), Carinthia, South Slovakia, Moravia, Kingdom of Wallachia, Czech Silesia and Silesia

Map of Savoy, Romandie, Franche-Comté, Alsace, Fürstentum Rheinbergen, Bavaria, Südtirol, Padania, Veneto, Friuli, the Free Territory of Trieste, Istria, Rijeka, Enclava, Carinthia, South Slovakia, Moravia, Kingdom of Wallachia, Czech Silesia and Silesia

Stage Three: Katowice to Odessa

Dates: 30th June to 30th July

Countries: Poland, Slovakia, Ukraine, Romania and Moldova

Independence Movements: Ruthenia, Western Ukraine, Szekely Land, Bukovina (near), Transnistria, Gagauzia, Taraclia, Budjak and Odessa People's Republic

Map of Ruthenia, Western Ukraine, Szekely Land, Bukovina, Transnistria, Gagauzia, Taraclia, Budjak and Odessa People's Republic

Stage Four: Ferry to Batumi and then cycle to Stepanakert

Independence Movements: 5th August to 2nd September

Countries: Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan

Possible Future States: Crimea (near), Adjara, Samegrelo, Abkhazia, South Ossetia (near) and Nagorno-Karabakh (aka Artsakh)

Map of Adjara, Samegrelo, Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Nagorno-Karabakh

Find out more...

The book of this amazing adventure (currently rated ★★★★★) is now available:

Biking Broken Europe

Amazon UK | Amazon.com



You can follow past and future European cycling challenges by following the Europe by Bicycle page on Facebook, and you can support it and, at the same time, have a damn good read by buying one of the following books:

Everywhere in Europe

No Place Like Home, Thank God

Amazon UK | Amazon.com

Ultimate budget cycling

Hungry for Miles

Amazon UK | Amazon.com

Southern Britain (plus Wales)

Route Britannia, the Journey South

Amazon UK | Amazon.com

Northern Britain (incl. Scotland)

Route Britannia, the Journey North

Amazon UK | Amazon.com

All images © Copyright 2009-2018 Steven Primrose-Smith. To contact Steven, please visit primrose-smith.com.