Once a year, my friend Klaus Schrader (second from right below) in cooperation with Tiberius (“Tibi”) Erdelyi (far left) arranges an enduro offroad adventure in Romania. One week of gravel roads, trial sections, mud patches and a glas of vodka to complement breakfast (an old Romanian tradition I am told). – Tiberius has a Romanian background and owns a small farmhouse in a village near Arad, close to the Hungarian-Romanian border.
"Arad - City Hall"
(Click here for map - red arrow indcates approximate location)
This year, that is in 2003, the event took place in late September. I had just returned from my European tour and this was an opportunity to add another country to my list and to see whether my off road riding skills had improved since last year.
There were five participants: Klaus, Tibi, Sven (son of Klaus), Gerold and myself. The primary idea was to enjoy offroad riding in the woodlands of the rural area of western Romania; tourist activities were and were limited to the odd sight along the way and -of course- visits to local restaurants.
"Offroad in Romania - 2003 Participants"
(Click here for larger picture)
Our motorcycles (1 KTM, 3 Suzukis, 1 BMW G/S, 1 vintage Kawasaki) were transported by trailer. Otherwise the road trip of about 1,250 km from Frankfurt to Arad on offroad/enduro bikes would be a little demanding.
We stayed in Tibi's place and went for daytrips of between 50 and 80 km. This may not sound like much, but the average speed is relatively low, and serious offroad riding can be physically demanding (and that without having to pick-up fallen bikes).
While a fair portion of our daily excursions was on gravel tracks
the terrain could soon become rough and what looked like a fairly easy stretch could momentarily turn into a slippery surface
or you might have to face a tricky trial-like section
And if you were really unlucky (some of the more experience riders in our group might have thought themselves lucky) you had to confront a "muddy trial section". In reality, the last two situations shown above had been considerably more scaring than they appear on the pictures. - Rescue operations were frequent:
The area around Arad has not yet been discovered by tourists and getting around, especially in the far off villages, can become interesting if you do not speak the local language. In the city or town (Arad for instance) this in not really a problem (you can always go to Mc Donalds). However, in the small villages hidden in the woods, getting something to eat and drink, could be challenging without local language skills:
"A typical village scnene"
"The Village General Store and Bar"
"Refreshments the Romanian way: Vodka - served in water glasses"
Compared to the other eastern countries I had been too recently, Romania seemed noticeably less wealthy and often you would find that people have to make do with whatever means are at hand. Improvisation skills rule.
After one week in the woodlands of western Romania, we had go back to Germany where such offroad trips are strictly forbidden. This was my second enduro experience and I noticed progress: after having broken off all possible levers (with the exception of the gear shifter) last year, the only casualty this time war a slightly bent break lever. So - there is hope.
"Moi – after a week of fun in the wilds of Romania"
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