“Epic & utterly ridiculous. The hardest and funniest days ride I’ve ever done.” - Joe Harrod
The Monkey Run is an adventure that takes the impractical brilliance of a Monkey Bike; a vehicle so delightfully ludicrous for even the shortest of jaunts; and tosses it head first into some of the most demanding and challenging stretches of road that have been laid out on planet Earth, and we've just tested the very latest incarnation:
Romania is a new one for us, so ruddy new you can hear the squeaks of its spanking new shimmering arse from Bristol; but soon it will form a formidable Monkey Run; complete with a sore, torn and blistered backside that you budding loons will most definitely want to be a part of.
Romania is home to the Transfaragasan and Transalpina highways, epic slithers of road strewn across the Romanian landscape like a plate of dropped spaghetti. Jeremy Clarkson once proclaimed the Transfaragasan as "The best road in the world", not that we care, it's just that he did...
And sure, you could grab yourself a multi-million pound supercar and shred up the highways like that curly haired twat, but that wouldn't give you access to the miles and miles of demanding off-road terrain the Monkey Bike just hates to love.
This is a European jaunt the likes of which you've never seen.
Price: £1295 (Pay in full or in 2 x instalments)
For that you get the following...
A mighty if diminutive bike to love
- Bike paperwork including 3rd party vehicle insurance
Test driving and advice pre-launch
A launch party to kill half your brain and a finish party to kill the other
The most ridiculous week of adventuring chaos imaginable with likeminded idiots
Last night accommodation right on the beach at the infamous Sandalandala resort
Experience an adventure with like-minded reprobates
A sore bottom
Romania that's where, but more specifically...
Start: Sighetu Marmatiei
Cluj airport would be the closest, and from there you can take a train or bus.
Finish: Vama Veche
There's an international airport at Constanta. Or you can get a coach to Bucharest.
If you've heard of Romania but are too lazy to have done any research on the place, here's some things you might want to know.
- Local Currency: Romanian leu (don't be getting Euros)
- Capital City: Bucharest
- Price of a pint: 94p (€1.11)
Let's talk about the roads
You may have noticed that there is a little bit more tarmac than we're used to here at The Adventurists, but don't be fooled. The roads in Romania not only offer some of the most incredible asphalt roads in the world, but some truly demanding off road trails that will challenge every ounce of you and your trusty steed.
Seriously, they're pretty tricky.
The Monkey Run Romania will test you, break you, build you up again and make you into a better person (probably), but after a week on the road, there is no doubt you'll be shattered.
With that in mind, we have arranged for your last night of the run to be spent right on the beach at Sandalandala. This camping ground is legendary, has an awesome bar, a stunning beach and a teepee where you'll all be resting up for a big old party.
"These bikes are completely impractical. That’s why you don’t see thousands of them driving up and down the country. It’s because they’re useless"
Yup, you heard it here first, they're useless, and that's exactly the point. We've gone to some serious effort to get these bike to Romania, all in the name of adventure. The Monkey Bikes sheer unsuitability and impracticalness is a match made in hell with Romania's torn up tracks and super slick ultra roads. It's an experience you simply can't get with any other bike.
Here's some quick stats to prove just how spectacularly unsuitable they really are.
Engine: 48cc of 4 stroke genius
Power: 2.6 BHP
Brakes: Disc front, drum rear
Finding fuel and mechanics shouldn't be a problem. Though the mechanics might not have suitable spares for your bike, so you might want to take some basic spares.
Food in Romania is cheap and utterly delicious. Make sure you ask for Sarmale (cabbage rolls) and for you meat eaters out there, try Ciorba de Burta (beef tripe soup). To wash it all down grab some Romanian Moonshine, or to using proper lingo "Țuică".
Most places you can stop for food and fuel will have somewhere you can stay, even if it's on someone's floor. Because these bikes are pretty shit you might want to bring some camping stuff.
License - You'll need whatever paperwork is required in your country of origin to ride a 50cc motorcycle.
IDP - While International driving permits aren't compulsory in Romania, they act as a useful translation of your driving licence. You want one with a Category "A" stamp.
Bike insurance - The bikes come with 3rd party motor insurance.
Personal insurance - You'll need travel insurance to cover you for the whole of the Run. You should make sure it specifically covers you for what you are doing and where.
Visas - Many nationalities don't need a visa for Romania for up to 90 days. You can check if this includes you here.
Vehicle deposit - We charge a £300 returnable vehicle deposit to make sure we get our bikes back at the end of the adventure, this is fully returnable and we won't charge you for general wear and tear.
A couple of things to do enroute (there is no route)
Berca Mud Volcano
location: 45.359080, 26.712916
Enter this weird Lunar landscape with mud jacuzzis everywhere and get yourself covered in the stuff. Head 10km down a track away from the main road and you'll find yourself there.
There's probably some health benefit to it, but we don't know what it is.
Bran Castle (Or Castelul Bran)
Location: 45.514813, 25.366853
This beaut is better known as "Dracula's Castle", although there are other castles in Romania that claim to be home to the mother sucker.
Stop off if your bike is giving you a hard time and grab some tea in the "Casa De Ceai" tea house. Immediatly after supping your cup, get back on your bike and start hurting yourself again.
Location: 45.452927, 24.624492
A 90km ribbon of heaven that featured on Top Gear a while back with curly haired gibbon Jeremy Clarkson claiming it was "The best road in the world".
He may be an idiot, but he's not far wrong. Be sure to give it a spin won't you?