Five go east

Five Ro­ma­nian ad­ven­ture rid­ing friends, on el­derly Yama­has, head east through the ’Stans on their first big ride to­gether…


IRECENTLY TOOK PART in the inau­gu­ral Ad­ven­ture Travel Ses­sions in Bucharest Ro­ma­nia. There is a thriv­ing ad­ven­ture mo­tor­cy­cling scene out there pop­u­lated by some hard­core rid­ers. We met one fam­ily that had trav­elled 17,000 miles in a Ural side­car out­fit, a lo­cal car­tog­ra­pher who is map­ping a net­work of off-road trails across the coun­try, and the guys from Heavy Du­ties, a home­grown busi­ness build­ing su­per tough mo­tor­cy­cle lug­gage (see be­low). Ro­ma­nia is a great des­ti­na­tion for an ad­ven­ture ride in it­self, with plenty of wilder­ness to ex­plore, and if you feel the urge you can just keep head­ing east… to Ukraine, Rus­sia and the Stans, which is what the guys (and gal) from Kul­turide are do­ing. They’re a group of Ro­ma­nian ad­ven­ture rid­ers who were busy prep­ping their bikes for a big trip when I met them in Bucharest. I then caught up with them in Rus­sia… Where are you right now? TUDOR: we are stay­ing in a hos­tel in Nizhny Nov­gorod, Rus­sia and we are leav­ing to­mor­row to con­tinue east across Rus­sia.

What’s the big plan? TUDOR: we hope to reach Mon­go­lia in one month, then Kaza­khstan, Kyr­gyzs­tan, Ta­jik­istan, Uzbek­istan, Turk­menistan (if we visas), Iran, Ar­me­nia, Ge­or­gia, Turkey, Bul­garia and then home to Ro­ma­nia.

Why did you choose the bikes you are us­ing? TUDOR: some of us had al­ready owned Yamaha XT600S, so we de­cided we would all go for sim­i­lar bikes as they are ro­bust, re­li­able, easy to main­tain and low weight. Radu’s Yamaha had been in his fam­ily for 25 years, it’s a 1988 Yamaha XT600Z Ténéré.

How did you pre­pare the bikes? RADU: the bikes were old and high mileage so we had to over­haul the en­gines and ser­vice the bikes. We also had Yamaha Mo­tors Ro­ma­nia – Mo­to­dy­nam­ics on our side, and they pro­vided us with spare parts. ALEX: we in­stalled larger fuel tanks, im­proved the sad­dles with sheep skins for com­fort, adapted/ homemade racks for lug­gage, some in­stalled wind­screens and stiffer sus­pen­sion.

Have you done any­thing like this be­fore? CODRU: we all have dif­fer­ent back­grounds, we knew each other be­fore, but no­body had done such a long trip. TUDOR: Codru is mod­est, he’s the only one who’s done a long trip be­fore, but by bi­cy­cle. He cy­cled from Bucharest to Wien, Aus­tria. The rest of us hadn’t left the coun­try on two wheels be­fore.

‘Ro­ma­nia is great for an ad­ven­ture ride’

What gave you the idea for this jour­ney? CODRU: Mondo En­duro in­spired us all to do a long mo­tor­cy­cle ad­ven­ture trip. Also Mi­hai Barbu (Ro­ma­nian pho­tog­ra­pher who toured 17,000 miles in a Ural side­car out­fit with his wife and young son) was an in­spi­ra­tion for us, and our route is sim­i­lar to his. TUDOR: I also en­joyed watch­ing Lyn­don Poskitt’s Races to Places.

Is this an un­usual thing to do as Ro­ma­ni­ans? Are you

‘pi­o­neers’ in Ro­ma­nia? TUDOR: yes, it’s very un­usual but no, we are cer­tainly not pi­o­neers. Mi­hai Barbu had done this be­fore and even wrote a book about it. Also our friends, Ana and Ionut have done an ad­ven­ture ride to Africa. DENISA: my par­ents are wor­ried but my friends are be­ing sup­port­ive and en­cour­age me. And of course, four of my friends are rid­ing along with me on this ad­ven­ture. Which makes it less stress­ful than you’d think. What are your big­gest con­cerns about the trip? ALEX: not to spend too much money. RADU: my bike’s fuel cock, which is leak­ing. CODRU: not get­ting back in time. DENISA: break­ing the bike, and not hav­ing enough footage for the doc­u­men­tary we are film­ing. TUDOR: run­ning out of stor­age on hard disks.

How did you come up the name Kul­turide – what is the mean­ing be­hind it? RADU: a friend of mine came up with the name and logo. It’s a mix of mo­tor­cy­cles and ex­plor­ing dif­fer­ent cul­tures.

What does the fu­ture hold? DENISA: we’ll be edit­ing the film of the trip, and hope­fully we’ll be pre­par­ing for our next big ad­ven­ture.

Fol­low Kul­turide at: face­book. com/kul­turideea, kul­ blog,­nel/ UCXLDGE_N8HHQKX7KD82H7IW and in­sta­­turide_ east­_ad­ven­ture/

Kul­turide: same bikes, same kit, big ad­ven­ture

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