Saturday 10 December 2016

Sepang MotoGP 2016

Wow! That was my reaction after witnessing the awesonme power and speed of the ultimate class of the moto GP  series. These bikes blew me away!
A sprinkle of rain actually added to the spectacle, It was like a mini tornando as the bikes ripped passed the Marquez stand. Freakin awesome! The saturday qualifying was just as good as race day - both days must be seen.
The whole trip can be acomplished for a very reasonable price. 63 Euros for the 4 day pass, $35 / night hotel in Sepang and super cheap air asia flights put the package together at less than 500 bucks (Excluding beer money :) ).

Based on the above ive already committed to returning in 2017.

Permerton - Trails and mtb park

In a location a long way south of Asia there is a small town called Pemberton, WA.  This former logging town is surrounded by magnificent Karri forest and rollling hills. A scatering of winerys, brewerys, farms and homestays making this a popular choice for hoiday makers allyear round.
And now Pemberton is now focusing on a new attraction. Mountain biking. The trails and mountain bike park here are well worth the 4 hour drive from Perth - Especially if you can spend a few days to explore the many trails and farm roads.

My visit with the kids (Age 9 & 12) included riding about 30km / day - including a couple of days in the mountain bike park which is a series of trails on a section of land literaly right in the town.

Highlights included the down hill 'cool running', the skills track, the tram trails, the raindow and eastbrrok trails which allowed us to see alot of the surrunding country.
We also liked the local bakery!
There is somethinng so calming about the forest. It genuinely puts me in a relaxed state for weeks afterwards. The boys and I just ride, chat, stop to eat, talk alot, get lost, find our way again and make awesome memories.

Thursday 9 June 2016

Bali biking Day 5

This was always going to be the biggest and best day of the tour and any serious tour of Bali on a bicycle must include a summit ride of Kintimani.
Google maps told me I had 1700m to climb - and Strava confirmed the peak was an impressive 1670m. The ascent of 35km starts from the turn off about 30km past Sinngaraja. The road is excellent quality and traffic was non existent. This was a just a perfectly peaceful day of man verse mountain.
I knew I needed to complete the climb to the summit and start the descent to Ubud by 4pm.. Made it by 3:30 and arrived in Ubud about 5pm. The descent was down one of the roads commonly used by the bike tour companies who will drive day trippers to the lookout at Kintimani and coast back down to Ubud. (I previously did one of those day tours with GoBali bike tours last year. The $45 package was ok value which included a coffee stop on the way up, a very average rental bike and a good lunch).
I arrived in the beautiful foothills town of Ubud and enjoyed 2 separate dinners to replenish.

somewhere along the long climb to the top of Kintimani

The profile!

Hotel staff morning prayer in the front court yard in Ubud

The entire travel kit. Bike box, panier, cycling clets and runners, and spares. I lunpacked it all in the foyer of the airport and left the bike box in storage for 5000RP/day. ($3)

Sunday 29 May 2016

Bali by Bike - Day 4

At the end of Day 3 I was fortunate enough to be offered a place to stay near Lovina beach at "Villa Marty'. It was a real treat to relax in a private home with a pool and a beautiful guest room. So after a great nights sleep I decided to spend day 4 exploring the local area.
I undertook a loop ride from the villa at Banjar as follows;
1- Climb the torturous Jl Mayong-Gunung-Sari road to the rim of the Mt Bratan volcano
2 - Descend the Gitgit road to Singaraja
3 - Reurn via Lovina beach and Banjar Hot baths
4 - Back to Villa Marty

I cant express enough the difficulty of the climb to Mt Bratan crater. Elevation a little over 1300m however some of the gradients exceeded 10%. The road is quite beautiful and very low traffic. I found food and drinks no problem, and 3 hours after setting off I finally hit the summit.
After an hour respite cruising around the crater edge and stopping for photos I took on the Gitgit road descent. 40 minutes of 60km/hr ++ thrills.
To cap off this memorable day I took the back roads of Singaraja to the 'Air Panas' (hot springs). What a great way to sooth the body and enjoy the afternoon after a hard days riding. Not to mention a superb dinner at sunset at 'La Costsa' restaurant on Lovina beach.

Resting at the summit

Air Panas Banjar
BIG thanks to Marty & Lesley and family for accommodating me

La Costa Sunset (try the mixed Satay)

Friday 27 May 2016

Bali by bike - Day 3

End of Day 1, I stayed in a cheap but tidy little place in Candi Dasar called 'Ari Guest house'. After meeting the owner and a couple of his regular guests at the bar they asked about my trip. I mentioned Day 2 involved riding to Lovina Beach. One regular tourist to Bali commented - "I don't care who you are - you wont make it to Lovina in a day. No way!".  I must admit, there was some doubt in my mind also, but as usual, I had planned well and studied the maps and I believed it was within reach. The ride involved the first 3 hours climbing over the side Mt Agung, then a long decent to the coast at Tulumben followed by a long, straight, flat run into Lovina. After setting off from Candi Dasar at 7am, I arrived at Lovina by 2pm. Job done. Highlight of the day - proving the bar fly wrong...and the incredible descent to the coast off Mt Agung to the coast.

Mt Agung. A perfect looking volcano.  The climb was steady on excellent quality roads

Forget the beaches - Do Bali by bike!

Why do you cycle Bali? The attractions are obvious to some, but not necessarily common knowledge. Mountains, Scenery, Great roads, Food and culture... And good value (My daily ridig budget was as low as $40ASD/day). For myself, I decided to get a 'mini' tour under my belt on the famous Indo holiday island to keep my km's up in preparation for the BIG tour of Japan,To get some mountain miles in my legs.The planned route was as follows:

Day 1 - Kuta to Candi Dasar (65km)
Day 2 - Candi Dasar to Lovina (125km)
Day 3 - Lovina region (80km)
Day 4 - Lovina (via Singaraja & Kintimani) to Ubud (110km)
Day 5 - Ubud to Kuta (40km)

As it turned out, this was a perfectly planned ride. I.e, a great mix of coastal flats, killer climbs, extreme descents and beautiful scenery the whole way. The highlight of the ride no doubt being the 35km / 4 hour climb up the north side of Kintimani. Day 4 for has the profile.

Day 1 and 2 included a surprisingly interesting ride through the streets of Denpasar, then out to the east side of the island to the popular tourist town of Candi Dasar. It was a only a 4 hour day to ease my body back into things, and truth be known I wasn't in the best shape to go much further after spending my arrival evening in the bars of Seminyak.

Highlight!!! Famous Fish Paste BBQ, on the road side 25 km before Candi Dasar.

Street Art Denpasar
Ride > Rest > Eat > Repeat
Famous Fish Paste BBQ - And fish ball soup...

Candi Dasar

Early Morning CAndi Dasar - Every day there are vista's like this