Monthly Archives: June 2013

5.0 on the D’oh scope

Lost one of my near new Triumph gloves on the ferry. Damn! Checked everything before leaving the cabin and all Ok. Ready to ride the bike off the ferry and one glove is gone.

Had to crawl underneath parked trucks at one stage. That’s probably where I lost it.

No choice – had to ride with only one glove, which I hate. But gloves are surely the the most losable things ever invented.


I’ve got blisters on my fingers

Not from guitar playing, as per the John Lennon quote. Its my clutch fingers.

And that’s not the only thing that hurts. I’ve got a rash on my ass from the Kevlar lining in my jeans. Apparently “Sangat Saket” expresses that discomfort in Bahasa. Seriously my ass is throbbing. I’m spending a lot of time standing on the bike now.

Samarinda 34 degrees plus traffic

Met with Lucas if Di’ gigant Tours Borneo in Samarinda. He has given me some amazing options in the year or so we’ve been discussing it. For example, I was dead keen to hike in the forest and see wild pygmy elephants, but it was the wrong season.

Still hoping to do a homestay.

Very happy for the assistance Lucas gave us navigating out of the city. 34 degrees, helmet, jacket, gloves, dead-stopped traffic = not fun.

I have been to Samarinda before and found is really easy to ride through. In general I’m finding traffic everywhere a lot worse than last time, and travel times slower.

The bike had it’s first failure here too – I think the wheel speed sensor which apparently is connected to numerous systems.

First bike defect

Day 2 of riding and I got an ABS warning light. That’s certainly not showstopper, but it turns out my trip meter and odo run off the same sensor.

So I now have no efficient way of measuring distances. This is a big problem. Maps and signage in Kalimantan are patchy at best. I really need a way to measure distances between landmarks, turns and so on. Disappointing : (

Crossing the equator

I have ridden over the equator once before and didn’t even notice. I was determined not to miss it this time, so I was watching the GPS all the way.

There is no sign heading north, although there is one heading south. In the end I knew we were there because of a big monument set back off the road.

So here it is … one foot in each hemisphere.

Amazing brotherhood of bikers

Travelling in a place where maps are patchy and provincial main roads can be a muddy track has its challenges.

On top of this, authorities can be stubborn and sometimes hard to deal with.

We have been blessed by the help of the Bionic Bikers – a very active group with chapters in many cities.

We were met off the ferry by Mr Thonny and members of the Banjarmasin group. They gave us an escort to a hotel, and again the next morning at 5:00 am to get on the right road out of town

I wanted to treat the group to supper but the restaurant owner would not hear of it and our sate was “on the house”.

Further along at Pagatan, we were grinding through traffic and another of the Bionic riders sped passed and featured to follow. It was Mr Hadi, who was soon joined by other riders.

We had Udang Galah (chilli lobster) for brunch. Wow! Then Mr Hadi led us for a couple of hours past some hazardous roads (then had to ride all the way back, obviously).

Despite the fact that we didn’t arrive at Balikpapan until about 8:00 pm, we were met off the Penajam ferry by Mr Hery. He and Cris escorted us to our hotel, and then took me to a sportswear shop to get a new pair of gloves.

NOTE more photos to come when I get to an internet cafe.

Yippee Borneo at Last!

26 hour ferry trip dragged on, but finally on Borneo. Was met by local bikers club led by Mr Thonny and given a guard of honor to our hotel. It’s a great privilege – we felt really special getting escorted through the traffic. Photos to come when I get a better WiFi connection.