What follows is a deconstruction of a low-budget trip in which Vlad Marius Mureșan, a Romanian actor, travelled from Satu-Mare to the Lofoten islands, in Norway, by bike, living in camping grounds or with Couchsurfing hosts.

Most photos featured below are taken in the Lofoten islands, in Norway.

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Vlad Marius Mureșan

is an actor who works for the Northern Theatre of Satu-Mare, Romania.

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In the summer of 2015, Vlad took off on a low-budget journey of 3500 kilometers from Satu Mare, Romania to Trondheim, Norway, by bike. He spent 45 days on the road. With no special training for long distances, he averaged 97 kilometers per day

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Gearing up

The bike used was a Cresta touring bike, a swiss bike, with a couple of necessary service checks done before the road.

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Vlad grabbed a small laptop, which would help him with information and contact for camping sites, or couchsurfing hosting places.

His bike equipment consisted in:

  • One inner tube for the bike tire

  • Patches for the inner tube

  • Levers, to exchange the inner tube

  • A set of hex keys, or Allen keys

  • A small pump

  • A great saddle!

  • 1 light helmet

  • Bike gloves, which are indispensable on long roads.

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The clothing he took consisted of the following:

  • 3 pairs of bike pants, washed daily. When biking on long roads with biking pants, it’s better to go commando with bike pants (i.e., not wear underwear) because of the friction;

  • 3 pairs of underwear and a few pairs of socks;

  • 1 full set of thick mountain clothes;

  • 1 windbreaker;

  • 1 pair of sandals;

  • 1 pair of boots;

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For food

  • A thermos;

  • A small gas tank and a lighter, which were enough for the whole road. These are useful for making hot soup and tea;

  • Basic eating utensils;

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Nomadic living

The housing for his trip consisted of camping tents and couchsurfing hosts.

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Camping grounds

in Europe are often found in the vicinity of large cities, with many websites available for finding such housing.

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When not available online

Most cities feature a touristic information point, where one can obtain a local map of the city or region, information about what to visit and where to find a camping ground. Vlad camped in cities such as Prague, Austria, Copenhagen and some cities from Norway.

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Couchsurfing

“The important part in Couchsurfing is to have references.” Vlad said “The more positive references you have, the easier it is to find housing.”

And if you’re new? You set up your profile well and explain in your requests that you’re new. Even so, the numbers will be against you. From 20 requests, for example, 10 would get answers, from which 9 were generally incompatible of refusals, and 1 would be a match. Camping is still the best and safest way to plan it.

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You might think you need to plan quite a bit ahead

You can’t always plan in detail when you will arrive at a certain location. Vlad used his laptop to request hosts via couchsurfing usually 3 or 4 days in advance. He would get an answer by the time he arrived in their cities, or he would find a camping site nearby.

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It’s hard to find good internet when you’re on the road

Or any internet, for that matter. In many Western European countries, the number of cafes or restaurants with free wifi is scarce, but there is one that offers it many times: McDonald’s! This fast-food chain came very in handy to Vlad, when he would need to check his messages with the potential hosts.

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The road in all its loudness

Western, Central and Northern European countries have many bike lanes, which make public roads very good for biking. When you are biking for long distances, you develop a rhythm of pedaling, of breathing, which can easily be disturbed by small obstacles that come in your way. On main, public roads, these obstacles tend to be scarcer than on smaller roads.

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After a few hours of biking on any road, you need some fresh air from the car fumes and silence from the noise of the cars speeding by.

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On his arrival in Trodheim

Vlad handed the bike over to the friend that waited for him there, who sold it. He returned home to Romania by plane.

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References

Vlad’s facebook profile

Mihai Udvar’s facebook profile

  • the photographer responsible for most of these beautiful shots

The Northern Theater of Satu-Mare

  • where Vlad works

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