1.For start, tell us a little bit about you Vera. How did you start riding a motorcycle ? When did you know for the first time this is what you want ? I know that from the moment you obtained the motorcycle license and the moment you got your first bike it was a while
I was in high-school when I saw for the first time a motorcycle. I remember it was like seeing something from a science fiction movie. I started searching on the internet, but back than the info was limited. After I became a student, I restarted browsing forums about motorcycles. I was dreaming about the moment I will have my own bike. After my first year of college, my father asked me if I want to go to driving school ( to obtain the driving license for cars obviously), but I managed to convince him to pay also for motorbike category. That was back in 2002. After that I dreamed for many years I was building my own motorcycle, because I couldn’t afford to buy one. Finally I made it, 13 years later I managed to buy a motorcycle. Actually I couldn’t afford it yet, so there have been some sacrifices still, but I couldn’t wait anymore. I got a BMW F650GS, the mono-cylinder version, the one that I was dreaming about for some years.
2. How was it to be for the first time on your own motorcycle? Do you remember which was your first trip ?
My first trip was to the ITP office in Voluntari for the authenticity check. I say it was a trip because at that time it seemed an eternity. It was July, it was very hot, I was on the ring road, everything was stuck, many trucks on the road, all the nightmares that a beginner can imagine.
After two days of city riding, I went for a proper ride during the weekend, to a moto gathering at Luncavita. That was my first long ride, 300Km and my first river crossing on a ferry. It took me 6 hours without GPS or map J . I knew the route but I got lost in some villages in Dobrogea. It was a mini adventure that I liked very much.
3. I saw that your first longer trip outside Romania was in 2016, in Portugal? Why did you choose this destination?
I wanted to see the Dom Luis I bridge in Porto, and also Spain and Portugal where on my list for the next vacation. So when I bought the motorcycle I decided to go and see the bridge. After one year of riding locally I left for Portugal.
4. What feelings did you have when you left, knowing that it’s going to be a long ride, alone on two wheels ?
I had many emotions in the weeks preceding the departure. But when I got on my bike, everything calmed down. I was so eager and curious to be on the road. From that moment, all the emotions left because I was doing something familiar to me and comfortable – I was driving a motorcycle.
5. Then in 2018 it was time for Norway. Why did you choose this destination ? I am asking because the Nordkapp it’s like the Holy Grail of beginner overland moto travelers, before they depart on longer journey like Mongolia or the whole world.
I had other ideas at the beginning , but it the end it was just how the universe wanted J My brother lives in Sweden and every time I visited him I was wondering what would be like to go on a motorbike there. So, in the 2017-2018 winter I started planning the trip to Sweden and south of Norway. Also in that winter I joined WIMA Romania (Women’s International Motorcycle Association) and I found out that at the end of Juy 2018 there will be the WIMA Annual Rally in Finland. Some of the girls from WIMA Romania said they will go, so I decided I will go also , since I am already in Sweden. And since I am in that area I want to see also Nordkapp. This was the plan.
Afterwards I found that by brother wouldn’t be in Sweden in July, so there was no need to go to Sweden.
The plan when I left home was to go through Germany, Denmark, afterwards pick the ferry to Norway, wander around there, visit Lofoten and Nordkapp and come back through Finland to attend the WIMA Rally. All of these in one month.
But my motorcycle broke in Germany…I lost a week there. I realized I couldn’t reach Nordkapp. I pushed to see Lofoten and then came back in the south of Sweden and cross the border in Finland. I stayed longer than I predicted at the Rally because I liked it very much, so I had to hurry up and do the last 2000km back home in 3 days.
Of course I dream about Mongolia, Africa and mostly South America, but I don’t think I want to go there all by myself. I will find a solution !
6. 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 ?
During the trip to Portugal I stayed in many camping sites and this offered me the chance to interact with many people. Several times I received coffee in the morning from strangers, from elderly couples that were my neighbours. Once I even found a flower on my motorcycle. During this year’s trip there was one day that I couldn’t find a place to stay , or at least something I could afford. There was one guy that was selling souvenirs that tried to help me. He called all his bikers friends. He didn’t find anything available but he suggested me some facebook groups that could be useful and he gave me his phone number to call him in case I don’t find anything till sundown. With the help of another motorized couple, I managed to find a hut to stay. I noticed that people who travel understand your ordeal and are always trying to help.
7. During these trips did you ever felt you are in a dangerous situation ?
I didn’t have any issues during these trips and didn’t feel in danger whatsoever. I hope it stays the same in future
8. How did the motorcycle handle during these trips ? What incidents did you have ?
As I was saying, I had some issues during this year’s trip. The first signs were in Czech Republic when the motorcycle didn’t want to start one morning. I recharged the battery and manage to get on the road. In Germany a friend advised me to mechanic, in order to check my motorcycle. I had bad luck to arrive there on a friday evening, so, until Monday I had to wait. Only on Tuesday he discovered the issue – one of the starter’s cables was broken. On Thursday the issue was fixed and I managed to leave, but I’ve already lost a week.
9. Did you prepare in some special way for these trips? Did you take spare parts with you ?
I prepared myself by traveling. Like any other endurance sport, you must accustom your body to the effort of long trips. You can’t just commute daily 20-40km and than go for a one month trip. I am joking, but there a little bit of truth here. I usually spend my free time riding my motorcycle, this is how I prepared.
Regarding the spare parts, I took with me some brake pads, a measurement device and a batter charger, because had some electrical issues with the bike in spring. They were useful. In Czech Republic when it didn’t start I could measure and see the battery was gone. For the Portugal trip I only took the battery charger with me, but I didn’t have any issues.
I usually carry with me, even on short trips, the motorcycle’s tools kit, a tyre puncture kit and the universal riding kit powertape + zippers + WD40.
10. If you had to make a top 5 of the best moments spent during these trips what would that be ?
It’s hard to pick only 5, but I remember a very hard day, when I crossed Thassos in Greece during a very hot day, on some mountain trails with street tyres, the day I spent in Lofoten, Norway, the night spent in Rhonda, Spain, the moment I see for the first time the Luis bridge and the 2 days spent in Kotor golf. And I like very much to wander around in Bulgaria when it’s colder in our country. They have empty roads, good and cheap food, always helpul.
11. Since we are talking about tops, motoroute.ro being a website that promotes moto tourism in Romania, what would be your 3 favorite places or roads here, in Romania ?
I like very much the road from Lepsa to Targul Secuiesc and from there to wander around on trails like DJ113 towards Baile Tusnad and in general all the secondary roads in Transilvania. In Dobrogea I have some favorite roads as well, like the one from Horia to Luncavita. In the nord part of the country I like the road from Ceahlau to Bicaz, through Durau. I like going to the seaside on DN3, crossing the Danube with the ferry for Silistra. There are also places that I only passed by, like the ones in the west part of the country. That is where I would like to lose myself, but being far from Bucharest, it’s kind of hard for one weekend getway.
12. We all dream of long journeys, we dream of riding on the best roads, but for most people, dreams suddenly stop either because of the lack of time or the fact that they are unable to leave work or the family longer, and one of the most common reasons, or rather the apology, that Romanian motorcyclists use to NOT go on such trips is the cost of such a trip. Have you ever made an estimation of what were the costs of such a trip?
I always do a cost estimation before to leave and I saved enough money for the trip. For Europe the estimation is easy to do, because you can find a lot of info on the net. In my opinion the cost split in 5 categories :
1. Fixed cost – like ferry crosses – I usually try to book in advance to get a better price.
2. Gas – it’s easy to find out the prices in Europe
3. Food – I already know what I eat on the long trips, what I can take with me, so I do also some supermarket shopping. In Spain/Portugal I had a daily average of 5-6Eur/Day, in Norwau 10-12EUR/zi.
4. Accomodation – it depends if you stay in tent or a house/hotel/hostel. I stayed a lot in campings in the south of Europe and it was like 9-10Eur per night, little huts or Air BnB were around 28Eur/night in Norway.
5. Unexpected – I usually add 20% for unexpected expenditures.
13. Since we were talking about the excuses people make up, how do you manage to have the time for these trips ? Do you have a flexible schedule or you use a big part of your vacation days ?
I work for a multination corporation and we have , like most of the employees, 22days of vacation per year. For this year’s trips I spoke with my manager way upfront , so she knew that I wanted to take all my days once. It takes a lot of diplomacy and also support and understanding from my colleagues. Of course I run out of vacation days after the trip, but it worth it. I think that if we want something bad enough, we find a way to pass all the obstacles.
14. What plans do you have for 2019? Did you make up your mind where do you want to ride your motorcycle next ?
I have some plans for 2019, but I am not sure it they are going to happen. I wish I do a tour around Italy. I love very much that country and I yearn for the passed holidays spent there.
I also wish I do a tour that would link beautiful landscapes with great lake side views, like Bled… where I could stay for 1-2 days and take my SUP board out on the lake. This is a plan that I want to happen very much and I hope one day to make it.
I also have some other plans with the family, but those don’t involve the motorcycles.
You can see other stunning pictures from Vera’s trips or follow her next adventures on the facebook page : Off to see the wizard.