The year is coming to a close, yet there is still a good amount of cycling to be done.
In this article I will explain exactly what I plan to do and where I plan to go during the last two months of 2012.
I am currently in Brasov, Romania, where I have been for the last month, after cycling here from Istanbul, Turkey earlier this summer. Brasov totally blew me away. I fell in love with the city, the people, the fashion, the lifestyle, everything. It’s one of those rare places that I come to every once and a while on my travels that makes me think, “I could settle down and actually live in a place like this. In fact, I could actually live here!” That’s how much I have enjoyed my time in Brasov, Romania. It’s going to be hard to leave.
But that’s exactly what I must do – leave! It’s time to go.
On Saturday, November 3rd I will leave Brasov, Romania and cycle north for about four days before riding into the tiny country of Moldova. I will cycle through the capital city of Chisinau and then cross into a tumultuous territory known as Transnistria – a small land mass sandwiched between Moldova and Ukraine that has broken away from Moldovan rule and operates under their own laws and regulations. I’ve been told that getting into Transnistria can be difficult and that I should expect delays, police bribes, and who knows what else at the border.
I plan to cycle in Transnistria for just a day or two before popping out on the other side of the thin territory and crossing the border once again into Europe’s second largest country – Ukraine!
When I first started planning this bike tour, Ukraine was one of the countries I was looking forward to cycling in the most. Unfortunately, it’s going to be mid-November by the time I reach Ukraine and who knows what the weather is going to be like.
In fact, the weather for the next few months is going to be a major factor in my bicycle touring plans. Rather than running away from the cold, however, I am facing it head on. I have loaded up my bicycle with a small army of winter cycling clothes and I am prepared to stop for several days at a time if I need to in order to let large winter storms pass before moving on.
The plan, after entering Ukraine, is to slowly make my way to Krakow, Poland. I suspect it will take me about two weeks or more to get there from the time I leave Transnistria and cycle into Ukraine.
Once in Krakow (hopefully sometime around the end of November or the beginning of December) I plan to rent an apartment in the city center and remain there until the New Year.
While in Krakow I will be exploring the city, going on regular bike rides to nearby cities and attractions, updating the website here at Bicycle Touring Pro, putting the finishing touches on my Winter Cycling book (which is something I have been secretly working on for the past year and hope to release before the end of 2012), and meeting up with a few friends and readers in the Krakow area.
Note: If you live in or near Krakow, Poland and would like to meet up for a few minutes/hours during the month of December, please get in touch with me! I’d love to meet you.
After celebrating the New Year in Krakow, I will then leave my rented apartment and spend the next month or so cycling around Poland. Remember: this is going to be in January, so it is going to be super cold and a generally difficult time of year to be traveling by bike. Nevertheless, I hope to cycle to Wroclaw, Poznan and Warsaw – which is where my European bicycle touring adventures will come to an end for the time being.
But the adventure won’t end there! No, no, no!
After I reach Warsaw I plan to jump on a plane with my Co-Motion Pangea touring bicycle (which will hopefully once again fly with me for free) and travel to Nairobi, Kenya, which is where I will be starting the next leg of my bicycle touring adventure.
I’ll tell you more about my African travel plans a bit later. For now, I need to get through the winter in Eastern Europe. I have four more countries I need to cycle through (5 if you count Transnistria) during the next three months and the challenges of winter cycling are certainly going to be difficult.
But I’m looking forward to the challenge and reaching Krakow at the end of November/beginning of December will be a major achievement in my book.
Be sure to follow my bicycle tour through Romania, Moldova, Transnistria, Ukraine and Poland by liking the Bicycle Touring Pro Facebook page, following me on Twitter, and reading my bike touring blog here at BicycleTouringPro.com.