Monkey Run Romania - Meet the Pioneers

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Tommy Nicholls

Why are you doing this adventure?
Having been stupid enough to book on the Rickshaw Run and Monkey Run Peru it seemed natural for me to try and cheat death once more. So it’s time to head off to bear infested forests and don the two-wheeled behemoth that is the monkey bike.

I booked the Rickshaw Run back in 2014 not really knowing what I was getting myself into, with my housemate and someone we had only met for a week. As soon as we arrived I knew this wouldn’t be the last of these trips I ever do, provided I got out alive...

The first night we were given two bits of advice, don’t go to Nepal and don’t drive in the dark. So naturally we drove throughout several nights to Nepal. Encountering plane wrecks, biblical sandstorms, gunpoint heists and anything else the world could throw at us.

The comedown from such a mental trip was savage. Enter the Monkey Run Peru... This was a whole new world of adventure. Having to swap the bikes for horses, camping in the Amazon basin, breaking a rib, getting accused of being organ traffickers and riding above the clouds   were just a handful of the antics that took place. We did however, lose good men out there as I had to leave my buddy behind with a parasite and drive through a landslide ridden dirt track with no electrics to reach the end. Hitting the Amazon basin was unbelievable, the roads were carpeted with butterflies and there wasn’t a soul in sight. This was real adventure...

Would I do it again? Hell yeah! So come July I’ll be back on the monkey heading to Romania, the 5th biggest drinking country in the world, home to the world's longest sausage and a shit tonne of bears and wolves. 

I’d imagine it’s going to be emotional as there were several times we really came close to the wire in Peru wanting to throw the beast off the Andres at some points. The relationship with my bike was a bit love/hate to say the least.

I’m looking forward to driving on the world's most beautiful road and genuinely having no idea where I’ll end up each night and hopefully spotting the biggest animal In Europe, the European bison... I’ve also heard you can cross the whole country without touching tarmac, a challenge I’m totally up for!!

All in all I can honesty say I’m not too sure what to look forward to as I have no idea what’s going to happen! But I can be sure of one thing, I’ll never forget whatever does go down. I’ll probably end up with a broken bike, bones and spirit but the sense of being one of the first people to ever cross the country on one of these bad boys will be more than worth it!!


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Fred Butler

Why you are doing this adventure?
What's better than a Monkey Run adventure? Another! I took the leap of insanity when I signed up for Monkey Run Peru last year and it was a fucking brilliant. This time it's completely different setting and on a 50cc Monkey rather than the 90cc which we had in Peru. 

Why Romania?
Romania has the largest population of brown bears in Europe! Along with European bison, wolves and packs of stray dogs any of which could easily outrun a Monkey Bike, which seems like a great challenge to me, is that a good enough reason to want to go?  

It's right on the edge of Europe, surprisingly close to the UK, but for many it's still pretty unknown and seemingly stuck in a time warp. No one I know really goes to Romania or knows much about the place, my outbound flight has already been cancelled due to the route being cancelled (a great sign) and I've had to book another, so fingers crossed I make it to the start! 

Apparently the Romanians drink more than us Brits being the the 5th booziest country in the world, I find this hard to believe but I'll challenge them to drink us under the table!

Why Monkey Bike again?
They're small, completely impractical, pretty under-powered and if you put a heavy-ish backpack on and ride you'll be popping wheelies with every gear change. It's hard not to fall for these mini beasts though. Being on a 50cc you can't go for the boring easy straight motorways so you will end up on all the off-road goodness Romania has to offer.

What you are looking forward to?
Fixing my broken bike with nothing but a leatherman, some wire and a shot of Tuica! I don't think Romania has anywhere near as many bike shops as Peru so we'll be challenged more to fix our bike issues ourselves. It will be great to meet some fresh faces too, I made some great friends on our last trip so I'm looking forward to seeing which reprobates are on this one!

What do you think will happen? 
Probably end up getting drunk at a local Romanian wedding, everyone's going to fall off the bikes a good few times and I think we will get outrun by a horse and cart when any kind of hill is involved.

Romania is a maze of roads and off-road tracks so we'll be getting lost a lot I reckon. I thought it was pretty pointless trying to figure out a route so I've made a good spotify playlist and I'll just try and aim roughly south and see how that goes.


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Don McLester

Don is something of Adventuring royalty He's taken on the Mongol Rally (twice), the Ice Run, the Icarus Trophy, the Rickshaw Run Himalaya, the Mototaxi Junket and the Monkey Run pioneer in Morocco. 

This time he's brought along three chums, Bobby Bostick, Dale Seng and Glen Hicks.


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Gregor Leopold

Why are you doing this adventure?
I've decided to do one more Monkey Run because it's an absolute unique and mad adventure. The bikes are not made for these trips or anything Like that. They are children's toys and thus the absolute logical choice of a bike for an adventure such as this. They force you into all kinds of funny, stupidly dangerous and unexpected situations. On my last run for example we had to camp in the Amazon and ride with a bike club through their hometown.

Why Romania
Romania is virtually in the neighborhood and has been on my travel list for a long time. It is more than just a matter of participating.

What are you most looking forward to?
I am really looking forward to getting in touch with the locals, to having unexpected experiences on the road and getting myself into trouble.

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Want some monkey in your life? Of course you do. More details HERE.