Lucia Tuicu Feb12


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Lucia Tuicu

Today’s rider is Lucia from Romania. She talks to us about her Jawa 350, the heavenly roads in Romania (The Transfăgărășan!), and riding with a passenger. Enjoy!

Full Name: Lucia Tuicu
Age: 25
Country: Romania (Brașov, a city in Transylvania)
Years Riding: I drove a motorcycle for the first time 7 years ago and managed to get my license 2 years ago.
Height: 1.77 m
Inseam: Unknown
Current motorcycle(s): 1992 Jawa 350
Gear: Scorpion helmet, Probiker gloves, Steel boots, plain leather jacket, plain leather pants or thick jeans
Average kms/year: So far… that’s not really the case. So far I probably have somewhere around 200 per year, but as a passenger.


Hi Lucia, can you introduce yourself?
I come from a smaller town, a bit more to the south of the Carpathians. It’s a beautiful area, with a lot of mountains reasonably close. Initially I came to Brașov to go to college but I knew I wouldn’t be going back. I studied sociology, and though I learned some wonderful things and got a brand new perspective on life, it unfortunately serves to no practical use in the job market.

Currently, I’m trying to balance some volunteer work for the TENT organization (The European Nature Trust) and it gives me something more substantial to hang on to. I love nature, animals, mostly things non- human related. Which is why I end up fostering/adopting/getting all sorts of animals, to the despair of my significant-other.

I also have some basic studies in art, photography and drama, a few of my other hobbies and when I’m not too lazy, I like making hand-crafted jewelry. Also, I make killer muffins.

Tell us more about your current motorcycle. Why did you pick a Jawa 350 in particular?
Funny story this one. I was drooling for one for… well, since I can remember. But one summer, I actually felt like I had this huge gap in me and I started bitching to some friends. One of them told me he knew someone who was selling his Jawa 350 pretty cheap and I agreed to go see it. In my mind, I thought I’d see some old piece of yellow junk (I don’t really like yellow on vehicles). But when we got there, it looked really nice and on top of that it was red and black. And it was kinda love at first sight.

Now not many women around here chose to have my type of motorcycle. We call these category of vehicle “communists” and they’re usually higher technical maintenance, so for the guys who enjoy getting their hands dirty. Mind you, I have no mechanical expertize whatsoever, but I still like me a good hunk of “scrap” metal.

I didn’t go specifically for this model. It was more of a “what can I afford” type of decision (and it was pretty cheap- around 400 us dollars). There are several models, some were build in Russia, some in the Czech republic, mine being made in the latter.

They were pretty sturdy models (still are), the main problem being that it’s hard to find spare parts for them. I mean sure, you can improvise and adapt, but most people would like to have them original. The problem with mine is the electric part.

It’s not much of an electrical system (it’s only for ignition and headlights) but the guy who had it before me decided he wanted to practice his “skills” and made a whole mess of the damned thing. It’s technically functional, but the way things are hanging from it, I wouldn’t ride it on a long distance. And at the moment it’s actually stripped – I had to redo the paint job and the painted parts ended up in my bedroom.


DCF 1.0



Do you have a classic Sunday ride that you do?
It so happened that each time there was this gentle light and dew all over. An overall feeling of calm and peace. We have the good fortune of having mountains on each side of the city and anywhere you go you get these picturesque and bucolic sceneries. Pastures full of wild flowers, animals grazing, birds of prey soaring the skies… Really beautiful. There’s also these small roads that take you from the heart of the city to the heart of the forest. These are mostly in the SE of the city.

You pass through the old part of it, called Schei and you end up in sort of a rockery, really tall peaks and several water springs. It’s called Salomon’s Rocks. From here you can mostly hike, again, bad bad roads, but you can reach Poiana Brasov, a pretty famous resort. You can also drive up to it from the city center.

Close to Brasov there’s a lot of other medieval cities, such as Făgăraș, Râșnov, Bran (home of the castle advertised as belonging to Dracula) and of course Sighisoara and a bit further Sibiu. In the capital’s direction there’s also some lovely landscape (till you reach the dull and dry planes that is) and a town called Sinaia, where our former king’s residence, the Peles Castle can be found. Really, each time, it was more of a too-many-options situation rather than what-else-to-do scenario.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

If someone from another country were to visit your city/state, what ride would you love to show off to them?
Oh, so tough to decide! Although I’d FIRST go for Poiana Brasov. The view from there is brilliant.


The landscapes and historical landmarks are a huge part of our country’s beauty. Two popular and unique roads are The Transfăgărășan and Transalpina, both spectacular roads in the mountains).


The Transfăgărășan – Image Courtesy of Wikipedia

One other would be The Olt’s Valley is also very beautiful. Oh, and there’s also the North of the country, Maramureș, where a more traditional lifestyle is still kept.


Maramures. Image from here.

Ahh… the Transfăgărășan… the road said to be the best driving road in the world by Top Gear. Someday I’ll make it there. :)

Can you describe how the motorcycle license test works?
This is a bit of a headache, there’s a lot of bureaucracy involved. You need to take both written and practical tests, but before doing that, you need to enroll in authorized classes. These usually take about one month.

When I took the test, you just went to a special area where you had some traffic cones and markings and you needed to run a designated path doing certain things like accelerating, signaling with both blinkers and hand, curves, “eights” and a sort of parking.

My instructor told me they were going to make it just like it is for cars, meaning taking you out in traffic, with all the gear. Till then, he was the only instructor in town to also provide a “real traffic” class. Also, before starting the practical course you need to partake in some theoretical classes, which are a bit redundant, but there’s no helping it. And before starting those, you need to take a psychological exam.

After all this, you need to make sure you have a complete medical file and you also need to provide a copy of your police record (regardless if it’s blank or not). Oh, and you really need to make sure you have an ID for the city where you want to take the exam (or the yearly equivalent, don’t really know what it’s called but you can get by having some form of document showing that you either own or rent a house/apartment). After you take the test, they mail you the new license.

A psychological exam?!! That’s something I haven’t heard before!

Can you buy and ride a motorcycle without having a license?
You can buy one but you can’t ride it without a license. I was telling you before that we have these categories(A,B,C,D,E), but there’s also some subcategories. For instance, if you want to ride a motorcycle under 125 sq. cm, you get an A1, which is an easier test. For scooters and such, you just need an authorization which requires a very simple test. However, if you ride in the countryside, no one will ask you anything about how legal you are. Which can be both a plus and a minus.

Are motorcyclists discriminated against in your part of the world?
More or less. Again, this depends a bit on the circumstances. It’s usually the chopper/rocker motorcyclists that get some tension. People around here tend to discriminate against them with or without the bikes.

How popular are motorcycle related sports in your country?
Given our large mountainous regions, motocross is pretty popular, though women are a rare occurrence in the field.

Are people aware of motorcyclists and give them room or are they considered to be a nuisance?
The last part…For both motorcycles and bikes of all other sorts. Car drivers have no etiquette. A lot of accidents are caused by distracted drivers. And especially in the capital, the traffic is chaos and no one respects the basic rules.

What sorts of animals can one see while riding out there, both in the cities and rural areas? 
The most common ones are bears, deer, mountain goats, wolves, boars, smaller animals like foxes, badgers, weasels, hares, hedgehogs and a lot of birds of prey, along with storks in most parts of the country. Most big ones are not a problem, since they avoid human contact, however there are areas where bears are a bit… “friendlier”. Other than that, not very big problems with them during the daytime.

How does the topography of the place you live affect the kind of motorcycling you choose to do?
Well, I did have to go for something a bit more sturdy, not only because of the overall topography, but mostly because of the way the roads are kept and repaired. We have a big problem with potholes so I wouldn’t endanger myself or my motorcycle with getting something very low or sensitive.

Is motorcycle theft a problem?
Personally, I know I won’t be having a problem, given the age and brand of mine. In my area I also haven’t heard of many thefts, but I understand in other parts of the country it can be a problem, but then again in those other parts they would probably steal the shirt off your back. But those regions are usually not in big cities and you can tell easily whether or not it’s safe.

Is it challenging to ride in the area you live in?
Not so much. It’s actually among the more “civilized” cities in the country, so we don’t have the worst of times.

How are women riders treated in your part of the world?
For the “masses”, it’s usually a bit of a surprise. Ladies still don’t go for motorcycling that much though I noticed a increase in the numbers, which is awesome. Overall, they get more or less the same treatment as other riders.

Do you have access to high quality motorcycling gear in your part of the world?
Well, yes, but the internet helps a lot in that field. I’d probably like to see more diversity in local shops.

Do women motorcyclists around you include woman of other races, religion, ethnicities etc.? Does it include lesbian, transsexual or transgendered women?
Well, there isn’t much racial diversity in the country overall, but yes, they do have different religions and ethnicities. Also, transgendered and transsexuals are not quite that common, especially in the motorcycling “business”, but I know of a few bisexuals.



Tell us about your motorcycle endorsement/license test.
When you take a license test, you have 2 phases: written and practical. Now, you can only take the tests once you turn 18. The law also allows you to take multiple practical tests for whatever vehicle you want (each vehicle has a different category) and you can take the written test only once for all the practical ones you want to take at that moment.

When I was 18, the “schooling” expired after 1 year, I don’t know how it is now (by “schooling”, the courses for the practical test- they have to be approved by an authorized driving school). My mum pestered me to get my license for cars (category B) but I wanted to take the test for my category A(motorcycle). We agreed I would take both. Problem was I didn’t even know how to ride a bicycle back then. It was really complicated.

I failed the written test 2 times and if you failed that, you couldn’t take the practical one either. In the meantime, I moved for college and learned to ride the bicycle and also enrolled in classes for motorcycle riding, which went really nice. Back then, the practical test for motorcycle consisted in a 2 min drive over some dotted lines. It was really really simple.

But there was a problem: I wasn’t able to take the test in the city where I was at the moment because my ID was for my hometown(really crazy bureaucracy) so when I went back home to take the test, I passed the written, passed the car practical test but when I went to take the one for the category A, they had THE WORST bike I ever saw in my life.

It was an old CZ that had a startup pedal which was broken, it was making a noise like it swallowed a legion of minions and the direction on it was screwed. There were 4 other guys there to take the test, all of them already had their own motorcycles and you could tell they had experience. So I decided to skip the test, since I couldn’t even keep the damned thing straight.

Finally, 2 years ago (after already having bought my bike for 1 year), I got back to my old instructor, a fantastic man, and it went perfect. I had to take the written test again, but I passed from the very first try. The laws changed a bit and the practical test was a bit more tricky, they added some extra bits, but it was still ok.



What is your favorite type of motorcycle riding?
I love extreme motocross. It’s the adrenaline plus the skill and dedication those riders have that amazes me. Overall, I like everything about motorcycle riding, but the motocross will always have a special place in my heart.

Do you have a favorite motorcycling story?
I guess it’s more of a series of mildly inconvenient events. It happened about 3 years ago. I was with another lady-friend, she was driving, I was just the “luggage” (passenger). We were returning from a meeting, about 150 km away from our home-town. There were about 5 of us and we decided to stop for some lunch in another city (Sighisoara). It was really nice outside, beautiful end-of-May weather. After we chowed down, the rest of the guys (all the others were guys) rode ahead, since my friend was a more cautious driver. Small note: she’s one head shorter than me and used to ride a 250 Marauder. Anyway, so the rest of the group was already a good 10 minutes ahead and as we were just starting to move, we notice people staring.

Since around here and especially in smaller cities rockers are being seen as freaks of nature and especially 2 rocker chicks on a motorcycle provide one hell of a show, we didn’t think much of it. Till we lost balance after a few moments and almost crashed. Then we noticed a wonderful flat back tire. Now all of this would have been dandy, but it was a Sunday afternoon. Transylvania is also known as Ardeal and the “ardeleni” are famous for being very calm but also having 10-18 schedules on weekdays.

So you can imagine there was absolutely nothing open as far as a car service or store. Moreover, we didn’t know the town that well, our phones were mostly dead and the one that wasn’t had no minutes on it and the numbers of our friends were on the shut down phones. And some nice clouds started showing up on the horizon.

So I left my friend with the devil’s horse and went on a quest to find something similar to a car shop. The only thing I found open though was a dirty-looking bar, but given no choice I went inside to ask for directions. This was probably one of the only lucky strikes, since the bar lady called her husband and he was kind enough to give me a ride to one place he knew. Which, of course, was closed, but he then drove me back and said if the flat was not very serious he would be able to patch it up.

But of course the flat was nasty (2 large pieces of metal went all the way through the tire). The man did say he could improvise something that may or may not hold us and we were kinda on the edge as to what to do. Oh, and of course we didn’t have much money left. By this point, we were dirty and tired and didn’t really feel like risking to be caught in the outskirts with a possible horrible storm on the way. While we were considering our options, 2 guys pulled over and offered to get a small pickup and take us and the motorcycle home. Though their price was a bit steep, we decided to go with it. Almost the second after we loaded the motor in the van and we got in, a storm of epic proportions started and it didn’t stop till we reached our city.

All in all, a fun day!

Does being a motorcyclist make you feel like an outsider or a cool insider?
Depends, really. Our society is pretty strange in some aspects. There are 2 large categories of riders: the ones that ride the speed demons and everyone else.

Now, the 1st category is really poorly perceived by the 2nd because they are mostly reckless, uneducated individuals. We don’t have the roads for such motorcycles and most accidents that involve 2 wheelers are caused by such characters.

Overall, most people in their 40s put motorcycle riders in the same pot: organ donors. So it’s both outsider and insider, depends on the perspective.

You’ve mentioned quite frequently about taking passengers on your bike or riding as a passenger with other women. Where I’m from, I haven’t seen a lot of that!
Actually, yeah, it’s pretty common for everyone to ride with passenger, both men and women. The guys that ride and also have girlfriends that ride use them as “backup” and they love it: they can have some beers, lady gets to have some practice.

It can be a bit tricky though. The first time I rode as a passenger with my lady friend (who is also pretty small) she had a bit of trouble with the balance. We also had a lot of other stuff, but after a few minutes she got the hang of it. My instructor is a fairly large fellow and when we rode together I didn’t even feel him on the bike. It was as if I was alone.

Do you have any advice for women who want to take a passenger?
What matters most if you want to take someone along is to teach them how to hold on: not to lean unless you do it, not to move around too much. Basically have them follow your own body movements. Also, if the driver doesn’t have that much experience, I wouldn’t recommend they took on people who never rode before (either as drivers of passengers). I know of this funny case when a really big dude wanted to ride with a friend and even though he told him not to lean, the guy panicked a lot and they almost crashed.



What other motorcycles have you ridden in the past? What did you like or dislike about them?
So far it’s been mostly communists, a few Suzuki (choppers, enduro and speed) and a Yamaha XT. I’m not quite sure about their features yet, what I can say is that I didn’t like the choppers as much, but I think the problem with them was that they were a bit… tiny. My knees were almost up to my chin. Also, on the speed bike I was only a passenger, but it was the most uncomfortable ride ever. Wouldn’t recommended it. Other than that, I don’t have enough experience yet to give a verdict on the technical specifications.

If you could design your dream motorcycle, what would it look, feel and ride like? Would it be significantly different than the others out there?
As far as looks go, I have this crazy idea of a combination between a dark, creepy chopper and a Transalp. I’d have to actually draw it, since it’s too bizarre to actually describe. As far as feel, I’d leave it more in the touring section. Comfy-cozy and practical for really long rides. Back to the techy side of things… I don’t think I would go for speed as much as I would go for safety and durability. Did I mention we have really crappy roads? Cause we do.



Have you ever been on a motorcycle ride when everything went wrong? Tell us about it!
Yeah, we had one of those. My lady-friend’s bike was having some problems and she wanted to borrow mine. She was supposed to get to some small folk event in a nearby town Râșnov. But mine is just “a bit” taller and she could hardly touch the ground. While standing.

At that time, I didn’t have my license so I couldn’t give her a ride. Also, she was with another girl. We ended up calling another friend and managed to get hers started. We then convinced him to come along with us. We’d leave the 2 of them there and he and I would return home.

I rode with my little lady and the other girl went with him. On the way there her motorcycle stopped 2 times and I had to push it. We couldn’t find the place where the event was and it was getting dark. The other two went ahead and as we were going to a more deserted part, her bike stopped again.

In order to save power, she decided to take the chance and not use the headlights. By now, it was close to pitch black. No street lights either. So dark that none of us saw a curve and she managed to stop right before diving in a huge ditch. The motorcycle proceeded to refuse to start and we had to push it for about 1 km.

When I rode back with my other friend, I also had a helmet that was too small and it had gotten cold, so I also caught me a nice flu.

What was your first long ride?
It was with a friend on a Yamaha XT. Maybe some would not think it to be long, but to me back then spending an hour on a bike was a dream come true. The only moment when I was a bit scared was when he passed 2 trucks. They seemed so very big compared to us. Other than that, I felt like I was flying. True freedom for the first time. I was also a bit cold, but I didn’t feel it until I got off. It literally left me speechless and when I got off, my legs were trembling. It only made me love motorcycles more.



If you wear gear while riding, tell us more about it.
I don’t wear very “professional” gear, so far I only invested more in the helmet.

What do you wish your local motorcycling store would stock more of?
Honestly…. everything. We have about two or three shops and they have the most generic and expensive merchandise. It’s really not worth buying from them since you can get better and cheaper products online.



What do you do to stay safe out on the road?
I’m really a cautious driver when on the bike, but give me a tin can (that’s how we call cars :) ) and that’s a whole different story. There’s no recipe, it’s about evaluating risks and assessing if it’s worth taking them.

Is it safe to ride at night where you live?
I think it’s actually safer at night than in the daytime. There is less traffic.



Do you get any family opposition when it comes to motorcycling? If yes, how do you handle it?
I do… For now, only my mother and aunts know about my “purchase” precisely because it would stir the spirits too much. But I usually just ignore the comments and remarks and march to my own drummer.

If you have or plan to have kids, would you want them to be motorcyclists?
If by mistake (no offense intended to those who have) I end up having kids, then yes, they would definitely be given the opportunity to try out motorcycling.

Are you part of a motorcycling group/club?
Though I’m not part of a group, I do want to share a bit about some of the existing ones. To my knowledge, in our city at least there is a single one that actually accepts women. The rest are handled by packs of misogynists. The mere joking suggestion for them to accept women is frowned upon. Also, they are in constant quarrels. Nothing violent, but constant poking at each other and indirect competitions.

Have you had any mentors who contributed to your growth as a motorcyclist?
Yes. First of all, my instructor. Then there are some of my friends who ride and always provided useful feedback and advise. All of them have a great role in my evolution.

Is there anything that male motorcyclists can do to make women motorcyclists welcome in the motorcycling community (if they don’t already)?
Though outside of motorcycling I get along fine with a lot of the guys in clubs, it’s like they feel motorcycling can only be male territory. However, the friends that are not in clubs are always beyond receptive to having women riders, they love and encourage it, either by providing help or advice whenever needed, especially if they see you’re a passionate and determined person.



Do you have any favorite internet motorcycling forums or communities?
Yes, I usually visit

When you’re online, do you identify as female? If so, has that affected your online experiences?
Yes, I do. I don’t really know. Some people adopt a more “sweetened” tone, but no other differences were noted.



Are there any motorcycling related political issues that you feel strongly about?
No. So far, the law is pretty well drafted, the problem is with corruption and nepotism, that allow too much bypass of them. For example, we have a lot of reservations where in theory you’re not allowed with motorcycles or ATVs. Of course, a lot of political figures and their relatives and/or friends own one of the two and they proceed to ride them in areas where they damage the flora and fauna. As much as I love motorcycles, I still don’t approve of it.

What do you think would attract more girls and women into motorcycling?
I don’t think it’s a problem with lack of attraction. I really do think that females are by definition more protective and safety-concerned and motorcycling is promoted as risky. Possibly if they understood that nowadays both the vehicles and the gear are much safer, that would ease the mind of many.



Is there anything in the current motorcycling industry that you would like to see change?
Maybe make some products more accessible. I honestly don’t know of anyone who bought a brand new, out of the factory motorcycle, simply because they are too pricey.

Do you think that the media effectively advertises to female motorcyclists?
No. I think they try to make motorcycling seem like it was made by and for men.



If you could ride in a country other than the one you grew up in, which one(s) would you pick and why?
With the risk of offending some people again… I’m not a big fan of the US, but I do see it as an ideal country to ride in. It’s huge and provides good “resources” for motorcycling. So yeah, that would be a nice place to go with a bike. I would also love to tour all the European countries, ALL of them, again because of what they have to offer in all the ways.

Do you have a dream job related to motorcycling?
Honestly….almost anything involving them would be a dream job.

What would your dream garage contain?
Ok, deep breath…
1. Honda Transalp
2. Yamaha XT
3. Indian
4. Mobra(old, crappy Romanian bike, but I’d still love one)
5. Harley Davidson Seventy-two
6. Yamaha Super Tenere and maybe a BMW and a KTM just to show them of

What is your dream motorcycle ride? Assume you have all the time and money you need.
Starting and never stopping. Going through the whole goddamn world, every trail and every path. And have the option of switching bikes, of course, according to terrain.

If you could re-design the world to make it more motorcycle-friendly, what would this brave new world look like?
I think it would just be the people… Have them be more open-minded and try to respect others, have them treat people like they would like to be treated themselves. Oh, wait, that would make the world better for everything….

If you could re-design the world to make it more inclusive of women riders, what would this look like?
Again, the above answer… people are too stuck in their ways and they forget what world we live in now.



Do you enjoy any other two-wheeled fun or adrenaline-laced sport?
I do like rock-climbing. And would love to try other sports, but right now, I don’t think that’s an option.

Do you have any advice for people who want to get into motorcycling?
Motorcycling is not a game. It has risks, huge ones, and if you lay back and think you’re acing it and you’re immortal, you’re gonna have a bad time! Listen to those with more experience, listen to your bike and listen to the road. Respect your partners in traffic, but always assume all the other drivers are idiots.

Don’t take unnecessary risks just cause someone in Jackass marked it as “cool”. Also, never take the bike on a night out drinking. I may sound like a mother hen, but these are true facts, people! And last but not least, your helmet is your best friend!


If you have any comments or suggestions about this interview, please leave a comment or email me at Also, if you or someone you know would like to be a part of the Global Women Who Ride series, please email I am actively trying to find women from this country listand these states in the US.