Krzysztof visited our country last year and made a series of very interesting videoclips. You can find hereunder one of our favorites, but I advise you to watch the whole series on his youtube channel.
Although he told us, many years ago he had a bad impression about Romania, coming here by car some years ago made him change his mind and made him wish to visit again the country on two wheels. You can find more about Krzysztof and his trip in Romania hereunder.
1.First of all , tell me a little bit about you. When did you start riding motorcycles and how did you get stuck with this passion :)? What was your first motorcycle ?
My name is Krzysztof, i am 33, come from Poland and I was born to travel. It all started with my parents taking me on every trip, right after I my birthday. Then happened something what you call the „snowball effect”. Travelling was a part of my life always and I cannot feel free without moving somewhere. Travelling became my idea of freedom. This somehow evolved to buying a scooter to be able to move from one part of the city to another during my studies (it was very crowded city). Then came the idea of buying a motorcycle and doing the licence. And voila! Around 2009 I think, I bought the Yamaha XJ650. It was then when I thought for the first time: it would be cool to travel on a bike for a few days.
2. I saw you currently ride a Honda Africa Twin, why did you choose this bike for the trip, what you like best about it ?
This choice was made few years ago when I bought it. It was a time I was riding the street naked bike and was thinking about changing it to XJ900 diversion, so more touring bike. my friend recommended me enduro/adventure bike – at that time I was completely against such bikes. I didnt like the overall look and somehow offroad was not for me. I read some reviews however and found the Africa Twin , which seemed to be a good, reliable and comfortable bike. Being „motivated” by my friend who owned Honda Dominator, I decided to buy it! It was then, when I came up with an idea of a longer motorcycle trip, which was to be realised much, much later. What I found good in this bike is really that it is simple, durable and comfortable to ride. Believe it or not, but Africa has also this special „adventure vibe”. You look at it and you are suddenly the part of its legacy. Thats how I perceive it. How the bike feels and looks – it also define what you feel, how and where you ride and how do you experience the life and world.
3.What was the first long trip that you took on a motorcycle and what was the feeling of starting on a new adventure for the first time?
It might sound really funny, but before going to Romania in 2018, I didn’t have absolutely any experience with offroad riding and my longest motorcycle trip took one day and was around 700km. All of them were around my region, one day trips of 250-350km. At that time I didnt have either the money, or the time or both. I dreamed about the tour for around 5 years, but it just didnt happen for a number of reasons mentioned already. When it all started to be real and I made the plan for a trip in 2017, a month before the journey I went to the hospital for 5 days and stayed there almost 4 months. The plan had again to be postponed.
4.I went a little bit through your pictures and saw that you came to Romania before in 2015, during a road trip around other balkanic countries. Was that when you decided you want to come back here on two wheels ?
Yes, it definately had a huge impact on me. Shame on me, but I was very sceptical about Romania before. My thoughts were: the country of gypsies, they will steal my stuff there and „I have been to already 45 countries before, what can Romania offer to me?”. It was my wife who was a huge fan of Carpathian mountains, the Balkans and the culture of this region. She was pushing all the time to go there, what we did in 2014 and 2015. This was the time I completely changed my mind about this country and wanted to come back. And what can be a better way to explore Romania than travelling off-the-beaten-track on the motorbike? And when I found out Calins Carpathian2wheels guide in march, nothing would stop me. Calin wanted to have the book published around may, but there was the delay in the printing house and he didnt make it. So with a help of Facebook and my friend, we found hers friend who lived in Syghit and Calin sent it to her directly, 3 days before I arrived to Romania. It was real last-minute! So I started then my journey in Maramures with pickin up the book and almost no plan, because the plan was in the book 🙂
5.Why did you decide to come alone ? What were the advantages and the disadvantages?
It was not the original plan, however to be honest I am a solo-player. I hate travelling in groups, I do not like waiting for others or the fact that someone has to wait for me. I read a lot of information and it seemed like an acceptable solution to travel with only one partner. I was very anxoius about solo-travelling and I was looking for a companion for around 6 months. But it is very difficult to find the right person. No time, no proper motorbike, no holidays… and so on… but I was waiting so long and this time I was prepared and ready to do it. In may it was clear that nobody would join me and I had maybe one in lifetime opportunity: prepared motorbike, one month holiday and determination. I was getting better after the illness and I knew that such chance might not happen again for the next few years (or never). So I decided to go alone. The obvious disadvantage is of course the anxiety about being solo out there and that something might happen and there would be nobody to help you – this is also the most exiting advantage of such way of travelling. I don’t mean the regular roads. There is plenty of people who will help you. I mean the totally wild areas where you can only count on yourself. You are experiencing the world and you need to overcome alone whatever it brings on you. It makes you stronger. It also gives me the sense of absolute freedom in the world where everything is insured, controlled and so overly artificial.
6.During this trips did you had any issues , like mechanical failures or have you been in any danger situations ?
Thanks to the good preparation i had no major issues, but I was really surprised to find just before Transalpina that my brand new rear brake pads are completely gone. I hadn’t thought that they wouldn’t last 5000km. I read about the fact that in offroad they can be gone sooner, but didn’t expect it to be THAT soon. But the helpful people of Sibiu helped me and in few hours (on saturday) I was back on the road. Regarding the dangerous situations – riding solo motorbike is always more dangerous, but nothing really happened to me. I tried to act reasonably and if you have some travelling experience you know what to do and what not to do. I didnt also have any dangerous road situations, but it is probably due to the fact, that I was almost only using offroads where was nobody 🙂 also not very dangerous maybe, but I was in a few places where I doubted I will mange to ride down without a fall.. I was also stung once by the wasp and had to ride two days with only one eye – glad it was the part without much offroad sections, with more sightseeing.
7.Since it isn’t all about roads, sometimes touring on a motorcycle is about discovering remote places, or historical tourist attractions, what would be you favorite places that you visited so far on two wheels?
I am definately more an „experience of riding” then „experience some attractions” type of turist. So for me for example the remote road along the Ukrainian-Romania border connecting the Maramures and Bucovina was one the greatest experience. You really felt like entering the different, remote world. I had the same feeling riding along the Strategica Road at around 2000m above sea level. This is something I cannot describe. You need to experience it.
8.I believe a very important part of this traveling experience is meeting different types of people. I guess you met other travelers on the way.Do you remember any funny story or interesting encounter that you had on the way ?
To be honest I only met few Czech guys on the motorbikes (exactly 6). Once in the forest and once doing the hardcore section of the guide. They were very surprised to see me there, because they were using super-light offroad bikes and I was riding 250kg Africa in a place where probably they wouldn’t expect such meeting 🙂 it appeared they live quite nearby my region, they shared some sandwiches with me and we had some chat. I didnt meet almost any travellers on the offroad sections (most of the journey). But I met some interesting people – like in Bucovina I was invited to the Hucul house by the shepherd. He was almost 70 but he had all built by himself and he still wanted to built some small hotel for the tourist. Impressive motivation and initiative in such age.
9.Coming back to this year trip, since we are a website that promotes motorcycling tourism in Romania, how did you like Romania? What was your experience with our country, in terms of interaction with people, nature, landscapes, roads?
Romania is actually my number one, because it let the people explore the country how they like. And hopefully it will stay like this for some time. It is a perfect blend of tradition, architectural attractions and landscapes. I think that it is so rich, that you need probably half of your life to fully explore the country. I had only very positive interactions with people – everybody was nice and helpful and I will remeber it that way. To be honest almost everywhere in the world people are generally nice. It is up to you to show them the respect and positive attitude and they will surely respond in the same way. What can I say about the roads? Romania is a paradise for a motorbikes of any kind. You can find both super-flat asphalt on transalpina and some ultra-long offroad sections just 10km away. It is great!
10.I saw that you rode on the Transfagarasan and also rode on Transalpina, and other roads that are well known amongst the romanian bikers.The inevitable question that any foreigner receives is :Transfagarasan or Transalpina, what do you prefer? Are there other roadsthat you enjoyed very much and you would recommend them to other riders?
Haha, obviously. I already knew this roads from my previous car trip to Romania. I drove the closed Transfagarasan which was extremely cool experience. I drove the transalpina on a very cloudy day and had some spectacular weather conditions. Lets call it a draw 🙂 I would definately recommend the Bucegi Mountains area. This was a big positive surprise and my completely own idea to go there.
11.If somebody is thinking about doing this kind of trip and is currently doubtful, what would you advice them ?
Take as little things as possible. You do not need almost anything apart from basic stuff and some emergency portion of food. You will find anything else on the way. Bring open mind and don’t be scared. Use the common sense and ride reasonably.
12. Probably there are people watching your videos and thinking to replicate your trips, but they just remain at the status of project.They think they don’t have the time or don’t have the money or both.Could you make a rough estimate on the money you spent during this trips, so that they could estimate a budget for a future dream trip?
Yes. I was doing everything on the budget. I travelled for 21 days, starting in Nurnberg(germany) and finishing in Wroclaw(Poland). It took around 6700km I think. I spent around 670€ on the fuel, around 5 nights wild camping, the rest for about 50-100Lei, another 250€ accomodation often with breakfast and maybe 50 lei on food and drink during the day. Maybe 120lei entrance tickets and such things. Add to this 160Lei on repairing my brakes and next 250€ to prepare the bike, oil, filters, brakes, brake pads, tyres. So in a budget version you might expect to spend 1300€ for such trip.
13.After this trip to Romania, would you recommend other foreigners to plan a moto-trip here ? What would you recommend them to see and to do ?
It hugely depends on the style of travel but everyone can find something new to discover. Definately Maramures and Bucovina for wooden architecture, Fagaras mountains for streetbike riding, transylvania for castles and Apuseni if you want to experience Romania but have only few days 🙂 I would also highly recommend Sibiu or Brasov for architecture. I would also recommend staying where you can in local Pensions with homemade food, this will make the whole journey much more tasty 🙂 .