Transporting Your Bicycle in Ukraine
Getting your bike to the starting point is often the hardest part of any bike trip. In Ukraine this is actually easier than in many countries due to its well-developed railway system.
Taking your bike on Ukrainian trains
Most bike trips involve traveling to a destination by train or car, biking in the area, and returning to the city you came from. Bikes may be taken on the train if they are in a case or cover and their front wheel is removed.
I personally transport my bike in thick plastic wrap. You can buy it at local markets in two-ply sheets (forming a bag with open ends). Bikes can even be wrapped in sheets. Eventually I plan to buy a light nylon bike bag at a local sporting goods shop in Kiev.
The best thing to do is ride up to the train a half hour before it departs, and, once you know where your carriage is, take off the front wheel of your bike and wrap it up before you get on the train. In critical situations when you only have a minute to get on the train, tell the conductor you will pack up the bike inside the train at the end of the carriage before taking your seat.
3rd class only for bikes
Bikes should be taken on 3rd class cars ("platzkart"), where they can be stowed across the top shelf after removing the front wheel. Up to three bikes can be stored in one compartment this way.
There is some confusion as to this rule, but you should buy a "baggage ticket" to transport your bike on the train without being hassled by conductors. The cost is typically around 5 UAH ($1 USD) for an overnight train. To get a baggage ticket, you need to present your train ticket at the ticket office and say that you're transporting a bike. There are no special carriages or compartments for bikes as in many western European countries.
Elektrichki, or short-distance electric trains that connect villages and small towns, are also convenient for bike trips. For example, for a day trip you could head out of any large city in any direction on your bike following secondary roads, reach a town where there is an elektrichka, and take it back to your city. Elektrichki, however, have no convenient place to put your bike, and so you will probably have to ride with it the whole way at the end of the car by the doors. Also, keep in mind that elektrichki stop for often as little as one minute, so you must jump in and out of the train as quickly as possible! You will probably have to stand with your bike at the end of the car by the exit, since there is probably no place to put a bike in the seating area.
Ukrainian buses and taxis
Public transportation is not equipped to carry bicycles, and it is highly inconvenient or simply not allowed unless you are traveling at a time of day when the bus or subway is nearly empty. Some taxis have fold-down seats or trunks large enough to put a bike. Inter-city and international buses will usually be able to store bicycles (with the front wheel taken off) in the baggage compartment, sometimes for a reasonable fee. These details are best found out in advance, especially for international trips where other passengers will be carrying a lot of luggage, too.