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The path along the Romanian Danube shows great promise and offers an authentic experience for all cycle tourists wanting to get off the beaten track and find some adventure.

 

A team of 32 volunteers from Romania and Bulgaria cycled along the Danube for more than two weeks this summer. The plan was to discover and to promote the opportunities offered along the EuroVelo 6 route on the final leg of its journey to the Black Sea. This year they have investigated half of the route and intend to cover the other half next year.

 

Mircea Crisbășanu, a young Romanian from Bucharest, is the one who put in place the research team. He has agreed to share his impressions of this section of the route with EuroVelo.com.

 

Why did you choose the Danube?

 

We have chosen the Danube Route for several reasons:

 

– The Danube is an European symbol that attracts millions of cycle tourists every year. Yet Romania has the smallest number of tourists on bicycles. We want to change this situation
– The Romanian Danube measures more than 1,000 km, more than a third of the total of 2,860 km. The most spectacular sections of the Danube, the Carpathian Gates and the Delta, are both located in Romania.

 

How many cycle tourists have you met along the route?

 

We have met 17 foreign cycle tourists but no Romanian ones. When we passed through the villages the local children greeted us saying ‘Hello’ and ‘Ola’, thinking we were foreigners. We have met many couples, aged between 35 and 60 and around 5 solitary cycle tourists. Three of the couples were on tandem bicycles and the majority were carrying camping equipment with them. At one point we met a French family of cycle tourists travelling with two children aged 2 and 4, plus a third that they were also supposed to meet later in their trip!

 

What was the quality of the routes you investigated? How safe are they for cycle touring?

 

We cycled on all possible surfaces: from dirt tracks and unpaved routes to paved regional roads and European roads as well. I would say that 35% of the entire route we cycled was off-road. We had high traffic flows for about 200 km.

 

Generally the roads are safe, but there are some sections on the EuroVelo 6 route where riding the bicycle is difficult because of the high traffic flows (especially lorries) and because of the bad tarmac or dusty roads.

 

Also important for cycle tourism are the bike friendly bed & breakfast facilities. What can you tell me about that?

 

We found some good opportunities for bike friendly accomodation. For example in Dubova, Călărași, Camping Zăval or the villages included in Popasuri Dunărene project. The most cycle friendly place was Portul Cultural Cetate, where cycle tourists don’t have to pay for camping or for using the toilets and showers and sometimes they also get good wine for free :)

 

Can you give some advice (equipment-wise especially) to those willing to use the bicycle along the Danube in Romania?

 

– Have a tent and camping equipment. You will go to places where camping accommodation is the only option.
– Don’t be afraid to taste the goodies sold on the wayside: watermelons, honey, tomatoes, cheese, apricots, peaches etc. They are much tastier than those in any marketplace in the city.
– Plan ahead your ride and always carry a printed map. GPS is not always the best solution.
– Don’t forget that you can contact the town halls for help, information, internet connection, drinking water, even a camping space!

 

Mircea Crisbășanu, is a social entrepreneur with Cycling Romania.ro. You can follow the entire investigation journey at http://turuldunarii.cyclingromania.ro/.

 

This article was originally written for Eurovelo.com.