After cycling for 3 days we arrived at the town of Ruse, which is the town bordering Bulgaria and Romania. When we reached Ruse it was already dark so we went around looking for a hotel and the cheapest we could find without having to cycle too far into the city center was a 1 star hotel which cost Rm80 per night. While Ruse is quite a big town, people there were not so friendly and most of them were glum- looking, maybe because it was a big city so everyone was just minding their own business. We didn’t do anything much while in Ruse, but we did go to the Freedom Square which was a huge square something similar to Dataran Merdeka, with people just relaxing and enjoying the sun. We also did a little cycling along the banks of the Danube River which was quite nice.
After 2 days of resting in Ruse we proceeded to cross the bridge connecting Bulgaria and Romania. The bridge was built in 1952 and it is very narrow with just 2 lanes. There were a lot of trailers and lorries on the bridge, so for safety reasons we decided to just push our bikes on the pedestrian walkway. Clearing immigration was fast and easy. We then pedalled our way to Bucharest which was about 60km away. The highway leading to Bucharest was very good as it had a shoulder so we felt safe, even though the cars were going quite fast. The terrain was flat all the way and it was just a perfect day for cycling. We checked into a hostel, which is called Happy Hostel. It has all the facilities that a modern hostel should have, clean wash- rooms, kitchen, TV lounge and of course free WiFi. The staff working there are also very helpful and friendly (Christina, Eugem & Daniel). The hostel is owned by George who is a wonderful person and he is also a big joker.
The one thing that really impresses me is that Bucharest has quite a large number of cyclists and the city has cycling lanes on both sides of the walkway. The cycling community in Bucharest are a mixed bunch, while there are some serious cyclists who commute to work and do their daily chores around the city, the young kids and young adults ride around town in their full spec Downhill bikes. It’s like a status symbol who has the ‘baddest’ and ‘meanest’ looking bike :p but the most important thing is that the cycling community is rising in numbers. In Bucharest alone there are 25 bicycle shops. We were told that only in Bucharest, cycling is the in -thing, the rest of Romania hasn’t adopted the idea yet. I really hope the Malaysian government takes some initiative and proactive steps to promote cycling to work and also to educate the public regarding safety and sharing the road with cyclists and to ensure the safety of everyone using the road.
With Cristian owner of Bicishop.ro – Cristian used to be the head mechanic of Scott bicycles in Belgium. He then came back to Romania to open his own bike shop. Super friendly person. I got a free side mirror from him. Thanks Cristian