During the summer I like to (and I’m happy to have the option to) work on a 4 day schedule (with slightly longer days) and take a day off during the week. So in two such free week days I went mountain biking in Bucegi – as it’s close and perfect for day trips.
The first one was a trip organized by Horatiu. He later wrote about it on freerider.ro – check the pictures there as well; he’s faster than me, so he had more time for photos. We started in Busteni with a forest road that took us near Sinaia. There we started climbing up Poteca Regala (the Royal Trail) – a paved path, steep and narrow, that had me stopping frequently in order to catch my breath and slow my heart rate. At Poiana Stanii Regale, we got back on a forest road that continued in a gentle climb up to Cota 1400.
From Cota 1400 we climbed on Drumul de Vara up to Piatra Arsa. Everybody stopped here to wait for me.. and for beer.
From Piatra Arsa we took the trail to Padina. The first part is relatively flat and bikable, while the final part, on a steep dirt road with a huge water rut in the middle, was too technical for us. In Padina we stopped for some ciorba.
Climbed towards Saua Strungulita and Saua Strunga, then descended towards Simon.
During the descent I noticed a little problem with my rear tire. “Come on, you’re a quality tire, you can make it for another 40 km, right?”. The tire silently acknowledged.
We carried on with some former trails, now road work. We were lucky everything was dry – the smallest rain would make these roads unusable. I’m not against roads, they’re very useful when they actually lead somewhere. Here though they’re building roads just for the sake of it – and for spending the money. Meanwhile, they’re cutting down trees and bringing cars and people in what used to be unspoiled forest.
On the final climb to Cabana Diham, I was feeling my muscles were barely pushing forward. I was glad when the climb was over and fully enjoyed the descent to Gura Diham and the final stretch back to the cars.
Back home, I ordered a new tire. The old one was a Continental Trail King I bought from the US 2 years ago. This was its third season and, after about 1500 km, it wasn’t showing a lot of wear… well, besides that rip on its side. Anyway, I decided to go with the same tire – wide and threaded, it’s perfect for skill-less bikers such as myself. Apparently, in Europe that tire is sold under the name of Rubber Queen – which sounds pretty weird taken out of context.
For the second trip up the Bucegi, I was alone. I chose a shorter track – I was feeling lazy. Started from Sinaia and mostly used the same route up to Piatra Arsa. From there I went towards Babele, Costila, the Caraiman Cross, then back to Piatra Arsa and down to Sinaia.
It was a Friday and the trails were swarming with tourists. The trails around here (especially Babele – Caraiman) are probably the most popular in Romania, due to the easy cable car access and the proximity to Bucharest. Now repeat after me: “Avoid these trails during weekend!”
I knew there were a couple of downhill trails in Sinaia, although there was very little info online and no GPS track whatsoever. I tried finding them and managed to see some signs while on the descent between Cota 1400 and Sinaia. The trail was too steep for me most of the time, so after a few failed attempts, I decided staying on the forest road.