Where to Ride
A great place to start – and one of the most popular routes for locals – is a ride called the ‘Tour de Snagov’ (TdS). “It’s usually done every weekend in the mornings by the various cycling groups,” says Silviu. “If you just show up around 10 or 11am at the Arc de Triumf near Herastrau Park you’re bound to meet with them.” Should you happen to miss the group ride and feel like a 90km loop solo – find the route here, or on the map at the top of the page.
For riders with more time on their hands, Silviu recommends heading a little further out of the city: “Towards the hills around Ploiești, a 40 minute drive or train ride away from Bucharest, there is some serious riding to be done. My favourite is an 80km loop called the ‘Wine Road’ that goes through the local vineyards (find it here, or on the map at the top of the page). It also includes a couple of famously short and steep roads at around 18%, and some minimally technical gravel roads.
“If you’re more into exploring, then I would recommend using Bucharest as a home base to plan further flung adventures. Sinaia is a 90 minute drive from Bucharest and from here you have access to the Bucegi National Park, a mountain biker’s paradise. There are dozens of trails and routes that you can explore, with some at heights of more than 2,000 metres. The riding here is pretty technical however, so come prepared.”
Tranquil roads in the Făgăraș Mountains.
Thanks to its ideal southerly location, Bucharest can also serve as a launchpad for expeditions into the Făgăraș Mountains – home to Romania’s highest road, the Transalpina, and arguably its most scenic, the Transfagarasan. And, for riders taking on the long-distance tour of Eurovelo Route 6, Bucharest is just north of the Danube Delta – a worthwhile detour should you be passing through.
When travelling around the country, Silviu says it’s best to avoid the main roads. “The car and lorry traffic on the main European roads (recognised by an E followed by a number) in Romania is quite bad, so use the side roads – you’d be surprised that most of them are of high quality.”
In terms of wild camping, most of the countryside surrounding Bucharest is open land without fences, providing plenty of choice in terms of spots to set up camp. Of course, if you suspect you’re on private property, ask for permission. Plus, there’s an ever-present threat of wild dogs in more rural areas, for which Silviu has his own tried and tested approach: “Don’t try to outsprint them. Most of the time, the dogs only chase you when you’re moving fast. If you go slow they just lose their interest. This is my experience not only in Romania but in the Balkans, too.”