According to the legend, Pintea the Brave and his men used to terrify the noblemen in the region of Maramures. They attacked castles, took food, clothes and money from the rich and handed them over to the poor. Catching Pintea proved to be quite impossible, for he’d cover in the deep forests of Maramures and would relentlessly manage to escape, helped by his legendary horse, a flesh and blood animal, rather than a carbon one.
Nowadays, the historical region of Maramures has not only remained unaltered during the years, but its development has carried forward the bravery of Pintea, having always stood as a tower of strength in turbulent times. Culturally rich and remote, the rural scenery of Maramures is made up of traditional villages filled with people wearing the time-honored clothing, who work their lands much the same way they’ve been doing for centuries, with beautiful wooden churches and pleasing traditional foods that happily paint a unique image of a traditional village.
This traditional landscape is home to a complex network of roads, lanes and trails that once served Pintea and his band as a means of fighting against social injustice are now perfectly suited to be explored and ridden on a mountain bike. Climbing and descending the trails on a mountain bike instead of a horse will not just help you shape up a modern version of Pintea the Brave, but will guide you towards the most memorable natural and cultural parts of this region, all while riding the best forest roads and trails there can be!
You’ll have to climb your way out of the numerous valleys that cut through the mountains, only to be rewarded with some pretty technical descents, interspersed with short but steep climbs, all of it in the midst of extraordinary scenery! Also, if you enjoy uphill rides, know that at the end of your climbs you can expect several long and exhausting descents, the kind you’ll want to go back to as soon as you have finished them.
In Pintea’s times, terrifying the nobleman was a pretty demanding hobby, which called for some much needed rest. Likewise, mountain biking can be a pretty exhausting activity, which in turn calls for both a good night sleep and some quality food. We have put a great deal of effort into finding the best overnight stays for you guys, to make sure you get the rest you deserve at the highest level of comfort. We have also placed a special emphasis on allowing you to enjoy the typical atmosphere of a traditional village, which is why the housing units we have selected for you provide a pleasant mixture of high comfort and traditional architecture, being located in the Breb village, right at the heart of Maramures. Let’s face it, Pintea the Brave would have surely killed for such luxuries! And while we’re talking accommodation, keep in mind that the meals that come with it will consist of locally sourced ingredients, giving you a taste of the local traditional cuisine, satisfying all your cravings and helping you recover after a hard day.
To sum it up, if you are a mountain bike enthusiast who loves the longer rides consisting of pretty demanding climbs, with a great mix of terrain, single track & forest roads and technical downhills, plus you also have a taste for the rural culture and the old way of living, then you’ll look forward to riding Pintea’s trails. Everything takes place right in the heart of Maramureș, a place ranked first among National Geographic’s best trip destinations in 2015.
How the trip will unfold:
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You may either directly reach the Breb village by car or you may opt for being picked up by us from the airport or train station in Cluj/Baia Mare and carry you to the accommodation in Breb.
Later on we will get to know each other, assemble the bikes and have dinner, when we’ll discuss the plan for the next days, most probably over a few glasses of wine or beer.
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Breakfast, where you may go for a meal made with local, traditional ingredients or you can always pick the usual carbohydrate packed meals like oats and bananas, muesli or other similarly rich ingredients.
Depending on the particular plans established for the group, we’ll be spending 3 to 4 hours riding our mountain bikes in the vicinity of Breb. To get a better taste of the rural landscapes, we’ll explore a specially designed route where we’ll be climbing a bit and then follow some easy descents on local paths and trails.
Next, we’ll enjoy one big, rich & tasty dinner at the accommodation, followed by a presentation later on in the evening about some basic principles in the sport of mountain biking (several rules about training, nutrition and recovery).
We will end the day chatting about anything and everything over a drink of your choice and, if the weather allows it, near the campfire.
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After having breakfast, we’ll grab our mountain bikes and address the Lapus Mountains on the eastern side of Breb. Following a longish climb that might take more than an hour, we will reach a large mountain pasture at an elevation of about 1200-1300 m, to enjoy probably the best view over the entire region, a breath-taking 360° panorama over the entire region. Next, depending on the plans, we’ll either proceed to the East on an amazingly technical path that will see us arriving in Botiza, or we will turn around and take the Western side towards the Gutai Mountains, on quite a technical and challenging route, but perfectly fit for mountain biking. If we choose to go to Botiza we’ll make a short stop to visit the charming monasteries of the area, considered the pearls of wooden architecture. Fear not, the trip back to Breb will be made by car, giving our bikes a rest until the following day.
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The third day’s route will take us to the ‘Runcu dam’, which has been continuously in the making ever since 1987, without being completed up to this date. We’ll also be riding the protected area and cliffs that make up the ‘Cheile Tatarului’. From there, the route will continue ahead a mostly unridden path that crosses some large fields which lead to the breathtaking landscape next to the ‘Iezerul Mare’ swamp. The day will see its ending at the Mara village, while enjoying a deliciously rich plate of trout, always served in a welcoming traditional manner at a local farm restaurant.
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This day is dedicated to those who love descents! The route prepared for this day includes some of the best downhill sections in the area. The day will start with a car trip to the starting point, which we promise won’t last more than 20 minutes. Then you will have to tackle a nice, short climb through a pine forest that we don’t expect you’ll find too tiring. From there, the route will continue along a single trail full of rocks and roots, the kind of trail we’ll sure you’ll just love. Thereon, we’ll be heading towards the highest peak of the day, pedalling our way first over a forest road, and then through a difficult trail through dark spruce forests. At that point, we’ll enjoy a nice break to dive into the beauty of the surroundings, after which we’ll be riding the longest, most technically demanding downhill of the day, a 7 km course through the woods that will occasionally test both our technical skills and our resilience. At the end of the descent we’ll feast our eyes on the ‘Firiza lake’. It is there at the lake that we will start the last climb of the day, which we expect will take some 30 minutes. The reward will be a nice and fast, averagely technical downhill section on a trail locally known as ‘The Route 66’, ending right in Baia Mare, the biggest city of the region. There we may head to a local restaurant, enjoy a cold beer (or several drinks!), some delicious food and sum up the great adventures of the day. Finally, a van will carry us back to Breb, to enjoy the rest of the day at the accommodation.
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We chose to make the last day more flexible, with extra options to allow you to make the best possible choice for you, depending on how tired you are, what the weather has in store for us, or any particular wishes you might have. We can either spend the day out, visiting the ‘Creasta Cocosului’ peak and do some riding & hiking, or we can spend time perfecting the technique for riding downhill & uphill, and earn some overall bike handling skills.
In the evening we will have a small in-house grill party with music, where quality time is guaranteed.
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Last breakfast farewell in Breb prior to the departure. Of course, the ones that had previously chosen to be transported from the airport/train station by us to Breb, will also be carried the very same way back to their places of departure.
This being said, we’re looking forward to spending lots of quality time together while mountain biking right in the heart of Maramures!
Be sure to book your adventure now!
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There are two ways of exploring the legacy of Pintea the Brave:
1. The Full package
- Depending on the size of the group, there will be one or two mountain biking guides with impeccable training, solid technical skills and a perfect knowledge of the areas you will be riding through. They will also be able to provide you with advice regarding your technique, as well as suggestions on how to best pace yourself throughout the duration of the ride
- 6 nights accommodation at various B&Bs or hotels (depending on the availability of rooms and your own choice, communicated in advance)
- Traditional breakfast consisting of local cuisine, as well as dinner (6 x breakfast, 6 x dinner)
- A small welcome package complete with the inevitable glass of traditional “pălincă”, the home-made Romanian fruit brandy, to light up the mood!
- Transportation from the airport/train station to the place of accommodation and back (at the end of your stay), as well as occasional transportation between the place of accommodation and the starting point of our bike routes
- Presentation of the route for the following day
- Technical advice, various recommendations regarding training and diet, included in the evening presentations.
2. The Guided Package
- Depending on the size of the group, there will be one or two mountain biking guides with impeccable training, solid technical skills and a perfect knowledge of the areas you will be riding through. They will also be able to provide you with advice regarding your technique, as well as suggestions on how to best pace yourself throughout the duration of the ride;
This package does not include accommodation, breakfast or dinner, nor does it include transportation, presentations for each separate ride or presentations regarding training, technique and proper diet.
STILL HAVEN’T MADE UP YOUR MIND??
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Do you need a mountain-bike, an e-bike or a road bike?
Let us know what you’re looking for and we’ll do our best to fulfill your desires in terms of equipment!
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