Ever wondered how somebody gets rid of having nightmares about riding a motorcycle and sets off to discover Europe and Asia, gets to ride in India and Mongolia? We were also curious, so we asked some questions to Mihai Tica from motorcycling.to, who together with his friend , Adrian Badea, made last year, a 25.000km trip, all the way to Mongolia and back to Romania.
1. First of all, who is Mihai Tica? We found out from your website that 10 years ago you rode a friend’s motorcycle and since then the passion caught up. It was this simple or there were more steps on the way that lead to getting the rider license and becoming a motorcyclist ?
My fist contact with motorcycling was at the country side, when I rode for the first time a friend’s bike. I wasn’t attracted at that moment about this “phenomenon”, besides this guy I didn’t know other person that owned a motorcycle.At that time I didn’t think how much impact motorcycling would have on me. After the first experience I started to have nightmares… I was riding a motorcycle and suddenly I got stop by police and that moment I would realize I didn’t have a riding license. I started having this nightmare more and more often. This was the reason that my wife made me a gift a voucher at a motorcycling school. To be honest, not even when I started the lessons I wasn’t very passionate about it. I did the motorcycle school just for fun, without having a clear goal in my mind and without having a motorcycle at home.
2.After I got the license, what was your first motorcycle and what was your first long ride ? Thinking about those times, what feelings do you have?
After I got the license, I rode the first kilometers on two wheels, around 1000km, on a Bajaj Pulsar 220cmc. At that time I was on a business trip in India. This was in december 2012. The first motorcycle that I bought, was a Suzuki V-Strom DL650, in the spring of 2013.
The longest ride through the country, was in 2014, when I went on a trip around Romania.Being the first moto-holiday we loaded the motorcycle like a mule. Luckly for me, I went togheter with a more experienced friend, which helped me very much. Remembering that holiday brings me back great memories. That was when I made the first rides off-road also, it was the first time that I was seeing what lies next to the road.
You can see a short clip from that triphere.
3.I guess the adventure spirit was present before your first motorcycle. I saw on motorcycling.to that you did other trips through Europe and Asia and if I calculated correctly, you did around 45.000km on two wheels until know,including the Mongolia Trip. Was this a plan from the begining or these trips came as a natural evolution of your passion for two wheels and traveling?
I used to travel a lot also before I got the bike – I did different road trips with friends by car – Wien, Amsterdam ,Barcelona… Getting the bike just help me to travel in a different way.
4. How was the first trip to NordKapp? Why did you choose this destination? I am asking you, because lately it become a very popular destination amongst romanian riders.
The trip to Nordkapp happened due to an invitation from a friend.Basically it was his idea 🙂 .
5.After Nordkapp I saw you went to Georgia? How did you pick up this destination 🙂 ? Where you already thinking about the trip to Mongolia and you picked up Georgia as a training trip ?
With Georgia…it was almost the same way like NordKapp- an other friend asked me if I wanted to come, and to be honest at that moment, I didn’t know where Georgia was on the map. At the moment we left for Georgia, Mongolia was just a far away dream, wihtout a deadline. Funny thing is that the next step from dream to an actual plan happened during the trip in Georgia. We were talking and we asked ourselves “Would Mongolia be the same?”. We riding through some vast plains, the kind we saw in the pictures from Mongolia of Mihai Barbu. More about the Goergia trip can be found here.
6. Going on fast forward we get to 2017 and the trip to Mongolia? Why did you choose to change the bike and get the KTM 1190 Adventure? I saw in another interview that you and also your friend Adrian were saying that you wished you had ligher bikes.
I wanted to change the V-Strom with something more powerful. Also I wanted something with more ground clearence, in Georgia I had some issues. After all, any motorcycle you have means to accept some compromises – weight/power/cost/looks – all are factors that I kept in mind when I choose the KTM.
7.How much it took since the moment you decided to go to Mongolia and you actually left on the trip? What preparation you made ( regarding the bike) ?
It has been less than a year since the moment we had the talk in Georgia, till we left. Talking about the special preparations for the bike – I bought the KTM without any accesories so I had to buy some protections – engine guard, crash bars , a higher windshield , etc. We also bought some spare parts, which , thank god, weren’t necessary. ( a fuel pump, extra filters)
8.What difficulties have you run into during the trip? What were the hardest moments ?
One of the hardest would be trying to cross the Gobi desert. The mix of heat, sand , heavy bikes and our scarce experience on sand , made us turn back to UlaanBaatar and take a different route.
Another difficult moment was that we lost one week at the Mongol-Russian border. The national holiday Nadaam happeend close to the second round of presidential elections, so we were there at the wrong time, there were several no working days.
9.How did you manage to talk with the locals. How did you get over the language barriers?
Somehow, weirdly, the mongols are not very good at body language. Everywhere else, through all the Stans or Rusia we managed to communicate using the 10 russian words that we knew + body signals. And we got along well. In Khazakhstan I “talked” with a soldier for 15minutes about different stuff, from the clasic lines “where are you from”, “from where did you came”, “where are you going” to more complex things like “how many kids you have?”, “what is the country’s average of children per family” 🙂 I found out he still had 2-3 months till he finished his mandatory military service…
In Mongolia however the discussion were more limited , I don’t know why…
10. I am sure that you heared before my next question. Many times, we make up a lot of excuses not to go on this kind of trips, we don’t have the time, we can’t skip work for 2,3…10 weeks, and most ofter we don’t have enought money for the trip or it is too expensive. What was your buget for the trips you took ? This way, some of the readers can have a better picture and plan their dream ride.
For Georgia, if rememember correctly, it was around 2000euro for 3 weeks – 2 persons ( I was together with my wife). For Mongolia I think it was around 3-4000euro, without the visas fees and the bike preparations.
The moeney you spend depends very much. You could make this trips a lot cheaper, if you cook for yourself, if you camp more, there many variables for the costs. Everyone has his motives, especially not to leave on this kind of trip. But if you want to go somewhere make a list with what you have ( time, availability, etc.) and afterwards you will find a way to solve the others that you miss.
11. If you made a top 5 of the best moments on the road what would those moments be ?
The road Usghuli – Lentekhi in Georgia, the last year – more details here.
The road on the border with Afghanistan, in Tadjikistan
West coast of Norway with the Lofoten islands – absolutely spectacular – more details here.
We came back once from a moto meeting on Transalpina (from north to south). It was a wonderful summer day, riding on that road was incredible. video here.
In 2014 we made a trip around Romania and we ended by mistake in Comandau, actually we got lost. We arrived there during a party. They were celebrating the city days and also there was gypsy music festival. When we saw the camping we thought first to leave. Luckly a photographer from Bucharest convinced us to stay and it was one of the greates night of my life.
12. Since we are talking about tops and charts, and we are a website that promotes the beauty of discovering Romania on two wheels, which 3 places or roads would you recommend to others to visit in Romania ?
Transalpina coming from North to South – coming down south from Urdele pass is absolutely fabulous , if it’s a clear day, you have the impression that you are on the roof of the world
Apuseni mountains – there are a bunch of off-road routes there, I’ve always envied my friends that live in Transylvania. In one hour max they can be on some impressive off-road routes.
Moldova – Bicaz gorges, Durau – there also some nice roads around there.
13. What are your plans for 2018? What people should expect to see and read about on motorcycling.to ?
I have nothing planned yet, I guess I’ll keep you in suspense 🙂
For more information on his trips you can check out Mihai’s facebook page, youtube channel, instagram account and his website.