Radu Clapa (Radu C) is Romanian-born and now resides in Denmark. He does not own much in the way of special gear, equipment, or clothing, and insists many people could do what he’s done if they just have the willpower. He swears he’s a normal guy.
Except this “normal guy” is doing the exceptional: geocaching on a bicycle through 16 countries, focusing on T5s, Virtual Caches, Webcams, and oh, about 1,400 other “regular” geocaches. He calls the journey, “Geocaching Bicycle Touring Europe 2017”, or GBTE2017.
His 7,800 km (4900 mi) adventure started in Denmark on July 5th and will end on Wednesday, November 15th in Romania. Here’s his story.
Who are you?
I am Radu C, the geocacher.
On February 24th, 2014, my good friend (Potasiu) and I stopped at this very known bridge in our neighborhood. He showed me the app and told me to search for the hidden treasure. Took me a while, but after a few nudges in the right direction, I managed to find it. We found about five caches that day.
Since then all my bike trips became Geocaching Bike Trips (GBT). After (exactly) one year of geocaching I did my first T5 cache. I loved climbing even before learning about geocaches, so you can imagine I just love T5 climbing caches. It’s been two and a half years since my first one, and I currently found more than 300 T5 caches… Still looking for more!
I am also Radu, the cyclist.
I’ve always loved bicycles and my passion for bike trips was constant and I used every opportunity to travel on a bike. In a time when bike lanes were just a dream, in a country where people consider cycling on the roads a dangerous act, I was the one taking my bike everywhere.
What are you doing?
I’m on a bicycling and geocaching tour across 16 European countries, targeting T5 climbing caches, Virtuals, Webcams, plus popular and old caches along the route. The journey should take about four and a half months. As of early November, here some of my statistics:
- Approximate distance travelled: 7,834 km / 4867 mi
- Number of caches logged: 1657
- T5 caches logged: 151
- Virtual caches logged: 37
- Webcam caches logged: 11
- Number of countries visited: 16
- Number of caches per day: 13.05
- Unique cache types: 9
- Unique cache sizes: 7
What is your route?
These are the countries and approximate dates of my visits. I had to double back to a few countries along the route, but this is the general order in which I entered each country:
- Denmark, July 5
- Germany, July 18
- Netherlands, July 19
- Belgium, Aug 1
- France, Aug 8
- UK, Aug 12
- Andorra, Sept 20
- Spain, Sept 22
- Monaco, Oct 6
- Italy, Oct 6
- San Marino, Oct 13
- Slovenia, Oct 19
- Croatia, Oct 24
- Serbia, Oct 29
- România, Nov 3 because my bike broke down (more on that later…)
- Bulgaria, Nov 4
- România (again!), Nov 5 for the last push!
When is your journey?
I began on Wednesday, July 5th in Odense, Denmark, and will complete the trip on Wednesday, November 15th in Roman, Romania. I started the trip with Event Cache And so it starts? (GBTE2017 departure day) GC70MTZ and will finish it with The END of GBTE2017 GC7D792. Please attend!
Why are you doing this?
I love to travel and I love the freedom of bike touring!
- I want to promote cycling as an alternative to cars for long distance travels.
- I want more people to find out about geocaching.
- I want people that already know about geocaching to see how well this activity connects with cycling and couchsurfing.
What kind of bike and equipment do you have?
I am riding a slightly modified Cube Travel EXC 2016. It’s not a true touring bike, more like a hybrid/city bike but it works OK.
Besides clothing, bike tools, camping and cooking gear, I also carry my climbing gear (for all those T5 caches), some special tools, some small geocache containers, and a trackable banner for the GBTE2017 events.
Where have you been sleeping?
I’ve spent many nights with friends that were living on my route, I’ve met new people that hosted me either via requests on sites such as couchsurfing.com and warmshowers.org, or sometimes with total strangers that I met the same day. I’ve spent a few nights with geocachers that found out about my tour, saw my events in their area and invited me over for a night. It’s so nice when you and your host have geocaching in common!
And of course, I’ve camped in my tent, hammock, even slept in a bus stop once, and sometimes under the open sky, usually at the base of a T5 tree.
What have you learned?
I learned, or better said discovered, how amazing people are, how welcoming and friendly they can be. I also discovered once again, in plenty of examples, how creative geocachers are and had fun finding some breathtaking places and amazing containers!
Can you tell us about when your bike broke down?
On November 2nd, after more than 6800 km, the back wheel hub cracked. The worst thing about my bike breaking was that it made me ruin the perfect 121-day streak I had going. I planned my tour so that I have at least one cache per day… and that is really difficult in this part of Europe because caches are very rare. After I saw the damage on the bike, I just had to get as fast as possible to the first town, before dark falls. I couldn’t risk riding on my bike that far in this condition.
Next morning I had to make a decision: keep going on the planned route and maybe find a shop in Negotin, Serbia, or go to a bike shop in Drobeta-Turnu Severin, Romania. The distance was almost the same for both options (about 60 km), but the road to Negotin was quite hilly and I didn’t wanna stress the hub even more by going uphill. So I changed my route and carefully rode the bike over the border into Romania and found the best bike shop ever. The owner was so nice and friendly and even offered me a place to sleep for the night. The bike has never before been in such good shape so I am really happy of my choice to go there!
What are you looking forward to most at the end of your journey?
Wow, this is a thinker. I look forward to arrive home and see my parents. I look forward to deliver all the GBTE2017 coins to all those who ordered one. I look forward to return to Denmark and have a post-GBTE event with all my friends and supporters there. I look forward to begin writing the story of this adventure, to sort all the pictures and videos and relive all the moments while doing that. And of course, I look forward to look at my statistics of this trip…
I don’t wanna publicly say anything about a future tour… although the thought is in my head….
This is amazing! Where can I find out more?
In addition to my Geocaching.com profile, I have my own website at gbte.radclapa.ro, a special page on Project-GC, a Facebook page, and Instagram where I regularly post.