12 August 2011
I’m fed and watered. The camera battery has made it to 14% in the time allocated. Enough gas for some photos.
It’s another 30km to the northern end of the DN7C. I decide to keep heading north for a ways and then I’ll turn around and try and get to Bucharest for the night.
I’ve taken plenty of video footage today which I will edit and post at the soonest opportunity (I’m nearly caught up with the backlog now).
I descend to 1,250m and turn around to do it all again in the opposite direction (heading south).
It’s quite a road, but is it the greatest driving road in the world as some claim?
Without doubt it is a great engineering achievement. All these high mountain roads are. In addition to the Transfăgărășan, I’ve also been over the Stelvio Pass, the Timmelsjoch, the Grossglockner and some great mountain roads in the Picos de Europa region of northern Spain.
They are all spectacular. There is simply nothing in Australia to compare to these great mountain ranges.
As for great driving roads my recent experience with the B500 in Germany would have it near the top of my list, ahead of all these high mountain passes.
Its not that high mountain passes aren’t a thorough test of your riding skills; mostly average road surfaces, often challenging climatic conditions, motorists with the desire to stop unexpectedly every few miles without any pre warning of their intentions.
The fear of dropping the bike on a tight switchback/hairpin bend or miscalculating your speed coming into a blind corner and veering into the path of oncoming traffic or worse still, going over the edge, really means you can never test the limits of your machine or skills as some may on a pure drivers road like the B500.
But I’m not going to suggest these high mountain roads aren’t all great. But how can you claim one is the greatest? Everyone will have a different view mostly driven by nationality or which ones they’ve done.
But have a look at these pictures and judge for yourself. Better still, come and travel on these roads by whatever means you prefer. No pictures, stills or video, can properly convey the steepness of these roads, the sheer drop only a few metres away from the roads edge and the magnificence of the scenery.
Update: As promised, here’s the videos – every moment of my ride up, over and back on the Transfăgărășan – split into 16 parts of around 12 minutes duration. Wished I’d had another camera or two back then so I could capture the views from few different angles. There’s a prize on offer to anyone who can make it through all 16! If you’re short of time Parts 6 – 9 are worth a look.