Category Archives: Uncategorized

Still don’t like Kuta

Kuta is the only place in Indonesia where I have seen any serious effort to clean up litter. I love that. It’s also one of the few places where you can choose a non-smoking area to eat food. I love that too. And the beach is really a delight.

But it’s still my least favourite place in Indonesia.

To put it bluntly, if I wanted to see busloads of westerners (mainly Aussies) eating and drinking to excess, and behaving generally like slobs, I wouldn’t have to go overseas. Kuta is all of the Gold Coast’s excesses and vices distilled down to one town. The souvenir shops are full of “genuine Bali dildo key-rings”, t-shirts with high-school humour, beer drinking accessories, and lots of other really classy stuff. It is completely at odds with everything else I’ve seen in Indonesia.

I could happily never go to Kuta again, yet away from Kuta/Denpasar, Bali has really beautiful countryside. I did not see a single mine site or palm plantation. Just lots of healthy, productive farmland. It’s a real pleasure to go for a slow ride through it. Which we did!

It’s only 30 km from Kuta to Udat, which my GPS indicated was a 30-minute drive. Yeah, right. That’s what happens when driving time is based only on speed limit and distance. It took 1.5 hours and that involved a lot of “Indonesian” riding. We swung by the Green School on the way back, which is one of my favourite places. It’s really inspiring and recently was nominated by Forbes magazine as the greenest school in the world. It is constructed almost entirely of locally grown bamboo, including the three-storey admin building.

The school produces a lot of its own food and all of its own electricity. It also recycles all of its waste (and I don’t just mean litter, either).

The worst thing about the Green School is that it’s insanely hard to find. I believe they want it that way to improve security of the international students. The discreet network of security guards also helps – they are located at strategic points around the site. We stumbled upon a less-used access lane, where there was a dude with a two-way radio who politely asked where we were going and why. He happily directed us once we passed the credibility test. There’s also a couple of traditional guards with machine guns on the site, but they are pretty discreet. No worse than banks and some hotels.

Out of respect for the school and the students, I am not going to publish GPS or other navigational data for it. I’ll leave the adventure of discovery to other travellers.

One of the marvelous but frustrating things about Bali is that the minor roads are so low-key, they look like driveways. You could ride pas nine that really are entrances to private home clusters, and the tenth one is actually a laneway that goes for 5 km to an intersection. Riding past, they are indistinguishable.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A bike to trust

The Tiger has earned its stripes. The bike has been 100% mechanically reliable in pretty tough conditions.

It managed OK (just) on 87 RON fuel, heavily loaded in tropical heat.

It crashed through deep holes and put up with hundreds of km of corrugations, rocks, gravel and steps.

Not perfect, but what bike is ?

Took the easy option

After waiting for three days in Banjarmasin for a ferry to Surabaya, we were dismayed to find that the KM Satya Kancana has only “Ekonomi” class, which means sleep on the floor.

So we wimped out. The bike has been sent on the ferry and we flew.

We’ve just heard that there’s been a big storm in Banjarmasin and we are feeling pretty happy that we are not out there.

An observation about ferries: the posted sailing time is “earliest” rather than actual. Today’s sailing time was supposed to be 4:00 am. I arrived at 3:00 am, along with Iwan of the Honda Supra riders club and other riders who kindly turned up to help.

Bikes were finally loaded, with trucks and cars to come. I didn’t hang around but I’d be surprised if it got away before 9:00 am.

Its always about the tide. The ship can’t load or unload unless the tide is high enough. That makes sense, but why publish sailing schedules that are wrong?

Tide charts are published months or years in advance. Can’t they be considered when publishing schedules?

Tyre wear

Here are photos of the tyres. This is with 6000 km, every type of surface, two-up, with luggage.

For most of the trip I have run duel-sport pressures, 22 psi front and 24 psi back. Aside from grip on loose surfaces, this also made for a smoother ride over rocks, rubble and corrugations.

The riding was really hard on tyres due to getting hard on the brakes when I came upon holes in the road, and rapid acceleration for overtaking on intercity roads.

I think the minimal wear is amazing. I’m really impressed with these tyres.

First lap – completed

And I think we will leave it at one lap!

That was a fine adventure – a real challenge, quite difficult at times, but every day brought something new. But I doubt if I’ll try that again. I’d love to come back and just do some local rides, and have a decent look at a few towns instead of arriving at dinner time and departing after breakfast.

I’m not sure what the total distance was, since my trip meter and odometer failed on the second day. I’ll have to get busy with maps, the track logs that worked, and other sources and stitch it all together.d we are happy to leave it at one lap.

I estimated 6,000 km and I think it will be pretty close to that.

I am way behind with reports and data. Due to disappointing performance of my phone/GPS, I have lots of work to do with mapping software to get a complete GPS route. It’s not going to be ready for some time, but at least the photos are good to go as soon as I get access to a computer.

Floating markets of Banjarmasin. The river current is balanced by tide during Ramadan, so the vendors spread across the whole river.

Floating markets of Banjarmasin. The river current is balanced by tide during Ramadan, so the vendors spread across the whole river.

AnAnd we are happy to leave it at one lap.

Border crossing at Entikong

We were given only cursory attention on the Malaysian side and our passports were not even stamped.

Nor was anything done with the carnet

A hundred meters further on at Entikong, all of the usual international protocol applies.

We were directed to take the bike off to tone side, after which I expected we’d proceed past one of the booths and get our documents stamped. After 15 minutes of waiting, it became clear that wasn’t going to happen.

Wed actually just been told to park the bike, but it was away from the normal entry.

1. Go to visa payment window on the right. Pay in RM, IDR or USD.

2. Proceed to customs window. They sent us into a separate processing room, where we were given the immigration form and sent back out to complete it.

3. Submit completed form, get visa.

4. Put hand luggage / backpacks through scanner.

4. Reverse bike back out into main route and wheel it through to police checkpoint. Answer questions about destination and purpose.

5. Wheel the bike a short distance to army checkpoint, more questions.

6. Army asked us about carnet, then we had to produce bike documents and to back into customs to get them processed. This was complicated because the carnet had not been completed properly at previous border crossing.

7. Back to army checkpoint with completed documents, then finished.

Total time: 1 hour. It could be done in half that time if I’d known what to do.

Loss of odo – reason

This morning when lubing the chain I noticed a possible reason for the loss odometer and trip computer.

The cable running to the rear wheel sensor had been crushed. There was a corresponding dent in the swing arm. This weird because its on top of the swing arm – how could that get such a hard knock, especially with the luggage fitted?

Anyway I made a quick and dirty repair, expecting that I’d be back in business with odo and trip computer. No luck. Still dead.

When the problem first arose, I assumed it would be the front speed sensor and I wiggled the cable. Remarkably, it did work for about another 20 km.

So maybe I have a failure in both speed sensors?