We do not know what’s the secret, but Romania is a magnet for Polish motorcyclists. We talked to Mateusz, a 30-year-old Polish who has been here twice in the last two years to find out why many Poles prefer our country. If the first time he was here with a Kawasaki Z750R, last year he came with an Africa Africa Adventure Sport, to explore also what’s beyond the asphalt. More about Mateusz and his journey below.
1. First of all , tell us 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 Mateusz, I was born and I live in Poland. I have been living in Warsaw for over 10 years. I learned to ride on motorcycles when I was about 10 years old, I started from mopeds (Romet Pony “motorny”, Romet Ogar 200, Romet Komar), then a little bigger (WSK, MZ 251), usually were motorcycles made up of a few without documents.
In 2007, I went to Warsaw to study, it was no longer possible to ride such motorcycles in the city.
I started to ride real motorcycles in 2016,when I bought my first Suzuki SV650n (2005) motorcycle and signed up for a driving license course. Unfortunately, I did not enjoy this motorcycle for too long, because after 3 months a driver forced me to crash, no giving way. During the next week I bought another, a Kawasaki Z750R and I have it up to now. In 2017 I was on it in Romania and I liked traveling so much that in 2018 I made a present for my 30th birthday and I bought a Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports, which also had its 30th anniversary.
2. I saw you currently ride a Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports, why did you choose this bike, what you like best about it ?
There were several reasons why I chose the Honda ATAS.
– I wanted a tourist motorcycle, where I would take 2-3 weeks without problems
– I also wanted to be able to take my girlfriend for some short journeys and that she would be comfortable
– I wanted to sometimes leave the asphalt during the trip
– I would like to play a bit in the off-road, I already had a motorbike to play on asphalt
– from technical things it appealed to me, front wheel 21 “, big suspension stroke, large range on one tank, heated grips, cigarette lighter socket
– Africa celebrated its 30th anniversary, just like me
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?
The first long expedition was in August 2017, we decided to visit the Transfagarasan and Transalpina road, advised by others polish riders. We went in 3 people, it took us 5 days, we traveled over 2800 km. I just set about riding, I did not even take cameras. Fortunately, a colleague took the camera and recorded something from time to time. In this way, the material for a short film was created, which can be seen here https://youtu.be/4uaTf6y318A. After this trip I knew that I want to go on a much longer trip.
4. I went a little bit through your pictures and saw that you came to Romania two times on two wheels. First time last year on the Z750R and this year again on the Africa Twin. Why did you come back to ride here?
Yes, that’s right, I have been to Romania twice and I know that it is not the last one, I like it very much. We were heading to the black sea, so Romania was kind of in our way. Plus, one friend was never in Romania, so we had to show him the two roads.( Transfagarasan si Transalpina)
6. During this trips did you or your friends had any issues , like mechanical failures or have you been in any dangerous situations ?
Yes of course, this year I do not even count how many times my road has been taken or pushed off the road. Fortunately, nothing happened, except to wipe the motorcycle. In Bulgaria, I broke the brake handle, in Albania I broke the trunk, and my colleague brake lever like me. I also punctured the tire twice. I was most afraid to sleep in Moldova, everything was running around us, I slept with a knife under my pillow.
7. 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 ?
Yes, we met many Poles along the way, until we were surprised. In Romania, we met many hospitable and obliging people. Even if we wanted to pay for permission to pitch our tents on the plot, they did not want to pay. Big culture on the roads. In Konstanz, we met a resident who was two or three times in Poland, he knew her history perfectly, and what is most interesting, he fluently used our Polish language. In Bulgaria, in the workshop, they repaired the brake handle for me, so far I have been riding it. Also, he did not want anything in return, but we pressed him 4 beers.
8. 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?
It’s like I wrote, a beautiful country, views, mountains, sea. I recommend every trip to all motorcyclists in Poland because it is not very far away. The culture of people on the extra roads is missing in Poland. Hospitality of people also at a high level. I do not remember that we must have somehow run away from someone, a few times before a dog.
9. 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 roads that you enjoyed very much and you would recommend them to other riders ?
I like transalpina more, it is as beautiful as Transfogarasan in terms of views, but it is more wild and I like it. The changing climate on her, during one pass through Transalpina, we sweat, freeze, get wet and be chased by dogs. It’s a bit harder and probably thanks to this there is less traffic there, and I like places like that.
10. If somebody is thinking about doing this kind of trip and is currently doubtful, what would you advice them ? What they should be careful of ?
If you will stay in a tent, it is definitely a good tent, sleeping bag and foam pad. Certainly, some basic tools, powertape tape and paracords. I had to repair the lever and it came in handy. For sure you have to be careful, I noticed that in some countries asphalt may differ.In Bulgaria, for example, according to us, it was slippery. However, in Romania, you can expect a corpse of an animal around the bend.
11. Some may 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 ?
In 2017, a 5-day trip cost us not much, I think about 1300-1500 PLN (300-350 euro). At this price there is fuel, food and accommodation (booking.com). This year 16 days and 7000 km cost a lot more expensive, it is difficult to estimate it, but it was about 5000-6000 PLN (1150-1400 euro). Although we focused mainly on camping in the wild, it was not always possible to pitch tents. One thing is for sure, that even when the journey comes out so expensive, you do not regret it after returning.
12. 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 ?
Most definitely, Transfagarasan and Transalpina. As for visiting a specific place, it is hard for us to recommend something, because we do not know about museums, art and monuments, for us the greatest fun was on the road, to ride and visit what is on the way. We know that Dracula’s castle is there, maybe someday I will be able to stop and see it.