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Cycling in the Baiului mountains

Were I to write this post right after the trip it would have sounded completely different. It’s funny how, just a couple of days after finishing Alain de Bottons, The art of travel, I get to experience it first hand. Sometimes, trips really are more interesting and bring more joy while planning them and after when retelling the story, but not on them … What a difference a couple of weeks make …

We had initially planned to take a one day trip to the mountains with our bikes. This would be my first trip with the bike above 1000 meters and, since I like both cycling and mountains, it sounded like the perfect combination. So I was hyped. And when it randomly became a two-day trip the night before due to the elopement of two people from the group (which btw involved a crazy concert that started in town and ended 300 kms away and a sunrise on the beach, but it’s not my story to tell 😛 ) I was even more enthused.

And so, two of us (from the initial group of four) woke up later than initially planned on Saturday, squeezed the bikes in the car and set off for the mountains. And of course, the closer we got to our destination in Azuga, the heavier the traffic got. And then it stopped altogether. And so we waited and waited …

… and waited …

By the time we got to the hotel, we were already tired and less hyped. But after a refreshing lemonade we decided to follow our initial plan and do a short bike route. As usual, I had done my research before the trip and found a map (= image file) that showed specially made bike routes starting at the top of the gondola ride and ending back in Azuga. They were marked as easy rides so they were supposed to be a good start for us.

view from the gondola station

the view from the gondola station

We got on one of the last gondolas and up we went. While we were admiring the view from the top gondola station the last gondola arrived and the cable stopped, leaving us with no choice but to go down by bike. Which indeed, was what we had intended in the first place, but just knowing that we had the gondola as a backup to go back to Azuga would have been a bit reassuring. We picked one of the routes from the map and started on it. At least that is what I hoped for, since the markings were pretty much nonexistent. The first part is up on the plateau so it was ok, but once we got to the forest, the bike route turned out to be nothing more than the walking path with three extra markers. I’m sure the path is perfect for skilled downhill riders … but that we are not. So we ended up walking by the bikes for a great part of the route. At least the forest was quiet and empty and we got to enjoy some time away from town. 🙂

cycling Baiului mountains day 1

the first part of the route

The day ended on a bit better note with a short walk in Azuga, a dodgy pizza and the arrival of the two crazy people from the seaside.

On the second day we set off right after breakfast, took the gondola again, stopped on the benches to enjoy the view and set off on the route we had initially planned for.

Which, obviously, started with a climb. We pushed our bikes for most of the climb and kept asking (or at least I did) ourselves whether to go back to the gondola. After the first climb, the route is mostly (= not really, but it sure helps pretending it is) flat, following the contour line.

The scenery is amazing though! So, in case you do manage to take your eyes off the road and away from the rocks that are trying to knock you off your bike, you will get to admire the Baiului mountains that stretch all around you 🙂 We also met lots of sheep! 😛

cycling Baiului mountains day 2 route

We made a few stops on the way to take pics, hydrate and eat some of the goodies we had brought. These stops also involved a lot of complaining, whining and the like, but these parts have mostly faded from my memory 🙂 The two from the group that were in front even found some money on the route! And not a small sum! We made such great plans of spending them on sweets and cakes and other stuff. But ended up disappointed when we met the people who had lost the money and returned it. But those were some of the best imaginary cakes I’ve ever had! So it would seem that keeping your eyes on the road also has some other advantages apart from keeping you on the bike 😛

cycling Baiului mountains day 2 route

cycling Baiului mountains day 2 route

All in all, it was a good ride, but I definitely need more practice, mostly for keeping my balance on unsteady rocks. On this first ride, I was really glad when I caught the first view of the village where I knew the pavement would start!

cycling Baiului mountains day 2 route

the first houses from the village

And of course vowed never to bike in the mountains again once I reached the pavement. Maybe that’s what got me the flat tire a few meters after getting on the pavement? 😐

But now, a couple of months after the trip, were someone to ask me to bike in the mountains again … I’m afraid I’d say yes 😐

Can you think of a time when your opinion regarding a trip changed a while after returning from the trip?

Useful info:

  • here’s where we stayed in Azuga. The room was clean and neat, but the food was not the best I’ve had. All in all, it was a decent accommodation.
  • the gondola ride costs 20 lei one way
  • our route started in Azuga and ended in Comarnic and from there we took the train back to Azuga. Most of the trains on that route have special carriages for bikes, but make sure to check that before buying the tickets. Note that a ticket for the bike is also required.
  • you can find the image with the Azuga bike routes here.

here’s the route from bikemap.net (there’s a small difference at the beginning, since we took the gondola for the first part)

trip date: July 2016

 

2 Comments

  1. Jacomijn - Safe and Healthy Travel · May 8, 2017 Reply

    Great area!! Would love to go cycling there!!

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