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, kulturide.ro/ blog, youtube.com/channel/ UCXLDGE_N8HHQKX7KD82H7IW and instagram.com/kulturide_ east_adventure/
Kulturide: same bikes, same kit, big adventure