Sunday, October 31, 2010

Cycling around Palu

I have planned this trip few months ago,
spoiled the first attempt,
cargo mishandling in Palu airport,
so my bike was delivered to Makassar rather than Palu.

This time, everything was perfect,
I was not alone, we were 4, all of us working in Balikpapan.
Sriwijaya Air flight from Balikpapan departs at 12:40,
so four of us took half days off on Friday afternoon.

Palu is only 45 minutes flying from Balikpapan,
and the hotel arrange a car to pick us up at Palu Airport.
We stayed at Palu SwisBelhotel, located at the beach in Silae,
about 5km from Palu city center.

The weather was good, and the air was not too humid neither,
On the first day we attempted to go to Wera Waterfall,
it is only about 30km from Palu, but we did not make it all the way,
it was almost dark at the time we reached last village before waterfall.

We hired a car to brought us back to the hotel,
and we arrived at the hotel about 19:30

Next morning we were little late,
after breakfast and checking out,
we were ready to cycle to Donggala.

Our colleagues will stay in Donggala,
so we hired car from Palu to send their baggage to their cottage in Donggala.

Road was nice, it is the main trans sulawesi road.
We had to stop for almost 30 minutes since it was raining heavily,
but other than that everything was fine.
There were few moderate climbs, we did not push for speed,
we were just enjoying the scenery of hills on our left and Palu Bay on our right.

We arrived in the cottage at 11:00, there was heavy rain,
so we took a rest at cottage lounge drinking few beers.
When the rain stopped we were wondering around the beach,
and after lunch, me and Yoyok were heading back to Palu,
while our colleagues stayed in Donggala.

Me and Yoyok arrived back in Palu just before dark,
we have enough time to wandering the town,
and preparing ourself for the flight back to Balikpapan.

I made almost 150km during my visit to Palu,
and it was with all pleasure.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Crossing the bay on another day

Penajam is one of my favorit cycling trip around Balikpapan.
we can make it on a half day trip,
taking wooden boat, followed by cycling around coconut plantations

This time there was no exception,
we started on Saturday morning around 07:30 from office parking lot,
and after few minutes waiting, finally our group were ready on 07:45

The special thing about this trip was the participants,
we have 2 ladies and 12 men, with mixed nationalities.
There were 7 indonesians, and the rest are French, Spanish,
Venezuela and Canadian,...

I was the group leader, and on the previous day I had told them,
that it would be an easy ride, no uphills nor extreme track,
and up to some point they were happy with me,...

but then we arrived at the end of a road which was still under construction,
instead of simply taking the opposite direction,
we were tempted to find a short cut,........

so we had to cross a swampy coconuts plantation,
I was on my small folding bike, so no questions,
I have to lift my bike crossing that area,

after about 30 minutes of mud and bush,
finally we found a firm soil again, and from there we went back home,

All of them said that it was a good ride,
anyhow I am not sure that some of them ever come to ride with me again....

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Perth, some references

To rent a bicycle in Perth is easy, I rent mine from AboutBikeHire,
their shop located at Point Fraser car parking area,
not too far from Causeway Bridge.

GPS coordinates of their shop is
E 115.87967 deg
S 31.96443 deg

Their website is .

We can rent either basic hybrid bike to go around the suburb,
or a mountain bike with associated accessories
for outing few days on Munda Biddi Track.

On their leaflet, they suggest some rides around Perth
that can be done easily on basic hybrid bike,
like Kings Park, Fremantle, Guildford or Mandurah.
Mandurah is about 45 minutes by train from Perth,
but it is easy to bring along our bicycle on train,
which is convenient if we only have limited time to go around.

Bikes and equipment for more challenging tracks are also available,
and it will be suitable for rides on Munda Biddi or John Forrest National Park.

With my limited time,
I only take a tour around Perth with basic hybrid,
and so far, this is one of the best cycling experience I ever have.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Cycling on Perth, a Cyclist Paradise

I have heard that cycling facilities in Perth are exceptionally good,
they have special bike lanes, rest areas, friendly traffic,
special ramps to climb up main road crossing bridge, and so on....
Hearing so much about this cycling paradise from my expatriate colleagues,
I could not resist to "run-away" from my family,
while we were visiting Perth for 2 weeks this July 2010.

First of all I was not really there for an overseas cycling trip,
I was there on Perth for family visit for 2 weeks.
However, I have to confirm what I had heard,
so I managed to sneak out from family agendas, and stole full 3 days,
only to cycling around all by myself.

What I did first of all was searching for bike shop and rental on the net.
And guess what, it was so easy to find.
AboutBikeHire is located next to causeway bridge, on Point Fraser corner,
just next to Swan River.
A nice guy called Fai, AboutBikeHire staff,
checked the weather for me and suggested me to rent for 2 days.
I paid 50AUD upfront for 2 days rental and Fai register my ID and credit card.
He also prepared a backpack for me with pumps, tire lever, punchure kit and spare tube inside.
He found me a helmet that suit my size and suit the color of the bike too.
Last thing he gave me before let me go was a combination chain lock.

So I went on without special destination,
I just follow the beatiful bike lanes around Swan River,
from Point Fraser where I took the bike from down to Mathilda Bay.

The weather was sunny and was not too cold in that day.
However, I just came from Balikpapan, hot and humid equator,
so I still need to put my jacket to survive this 15deg C perfect weather,....

I cycled slowly at my pace, stop over for taking pictures and really enjoying the sight seeing. From Mathilda Bay I went further uphill to Nedlands, and at this area I could not follow the Swan River shore anymore.
I followed the Stirling Hiway instead,
and at Cottesloe I stopped over to take coffe and sandwich.

Off the Cottesloe, still following Stirling Hwy, I passed Foster Brewery,
WW II tunnel site entrance, and finally Stirling Bridge.
Crossing the Stirling Bridge, I rejoined the bike lanes along the shore,
took another coffe at one corner next to the river,
few riders passed me on their very nice road bikes with their colorful jersey,
and continuing at my pace, about 4 pm I arrived at Canning Bridge.

My inlaws family, with whom we were staying with, is living in Applecross area.
Nobody at home at that time, and obviously I did not have any key with me.
So while waiting for someone to open the door,
I stopped over at Clancy's Bar to enjoy local beer.
And sure that was one of my classic excuses for a beer,.....

Friday, May 7, 2010

Cycling and Hypermiling

In search for improving fuel economy of my motorcycle,
I found “hypermiler” community,
a group of people who develop driving technique to reduce their fuel consumption,
whatever vehicle they are driving. Instead of relying on additional tools
and gadgets, hypermiler rely mainly on mastering the control of the vehicle
they are driving to reduce its fuel consumption.

I found that some of those hypermiler techniques,
are really close to what cyclists are doing.

Cyclist commuters will minimize the effort while cycling,
will coast freely downhill, keeping their cadence constant
and shift to lower gear whenever climbing,
and hate “stop and go” situation since it demands more energy.
Cyclists are also keen to avoid pot holes and uneven road surface,
and conserve their momentum while making turn on corner.
Instead of braking – turning - and then accelerating,
cyclists will coast down, taking long smooth turn without braking too much.
Cyclists are checking tire pressure and know that less pressure means heavier effort.
They care to lube bicycle chain and align the brakes correctly,
since any friction will increase the pedaling effort.
They also leave home earlier and give ample time for the trip, avoiding rush situation,
since going faster on bicycle will make the rider tired very quickly to.

After finding technical similarities of cyclist commuter and hypermiler,
then I start to apply those techniques while I am riding my motorcycle.
And guess what, it is not too difficult.

First thing to do is planning the route,
while commuting on bicycle I avoid hilly area,
I prefer to take little longer distance rather than big climb uphill.
Luckily I have passed those routes around already on my bicycle,
and I remember well which one is requiring more effort on my feet,
so that route is to be avoided.
While planning the route, I also estimate the timing,
and ensure that I will have enough time for this route.
Departing earlier helps, we simply cannot economize any fuel if we are in rush.

Second thing is checking the motorcycle, ensure that tires are properly inflated.
I always put maximum pressure on my motorcycle even if it is slightly less comfortable.
I also ensure that the chain is well lubed.

Now come to riding, I always gentle on throttle,
I am asking for “minimum energy” from my motorcycle.
Instead of open the throttle more to climb uphill,
I will accelerate before climbing,
then maintaining the throttle position while going uphill,
speed will decrease, and I will downshift the gear and keeping same throttle position.
If the uphill slope is long I may need to downshift further,
but I will not open more throttle
and asking more power from my motor engine, unless I have safety concern.

Going downhill, I will coast the motor all the way down,
often by pull the clutch to disengage the engine from the rear wheel.
Attention, we will not have engine brake in this condition,
and it is not always possible to do,
and I only do this if the traffic condition and road condition allow.

Consequently, the speed while I am riding will not be constant,
I am going slower and slower uphill,
and I have to take the most outer lane not to disturb other drivers behind me.
And while going downhill it will be the inverse.

On flat road I will not go fast,
as in bicycle if I push myself too fast I will be tired even faster,
and probably I have to stop before arriving.
So I limit motorcycle speed to a “minimum comfort cruising speed” at highest gear.
This speed will vary from one type of motorcycle to another,
but usually it will be around 4000-4500 RPM at highest gear.

With bicycle I learned to anticipate the traffic,
I will not pedaling with full effort if there is an obstruction ahead,
since I will only braking hard later.
And I apply the same principle on my motorcycle.
Whenever I approach traffic light, I will adjust the speed,
so either the light turns green at the time I arrive,
or the motorcycle stopped by itself without applying too much braking.

Once I arrive at home on motorcycle I will check the brake by hand,
if the brake disk is hot means that the adjustment is too tight,
or I just applying the brake too often.
Be careful, the brake disk can be extremely hot.

Applying those hypermiling techniques above on my motorcycle,
I can have a good fuel economy.
Before applying those techniques, my fuel consumption at it best was 1ltr every 40kms,
and now it is almost constantly 1ltr every 50kms, so about 25% more economic.

I did few other things as written in hypermiling discussion in the internet,
that also help to improve my fuel economy:

- Facing the motorcycle to the road before starting the engine,
avoid repositioning the motorcycle with engine running.
- Avoid parking motorcycle under direct sunlight to reduce fuel evaporating.
- Fully closed helmet will reduce wind resistance, which is good.
- Always minimize frontal exposure while riding, beware of feet and body position.
Tucking the body in even at relatively low speed, say 50kph,
still helps to reduce drag.

Applying those hypermiling techniques above while riding motorcycle is not too difficult,
and some techniques could be applied on car driving as well.
With little practice and patience, we all can reduce our fuel consumption.
It just seems easier for cyclist to practice hypermiling,
since there are natural similarities between the two.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Trip to Borobudur

March 2010, this month the first group ride of our cycling club was realized,
we went to Jogjakarta and cycling to Borobudur.
There were 14 of us participated in this ride, including 2 ladies.

We chose an easy route out of main traffic, and not too many climb neither.
In this trip we cycled for 46km in about 4 hours including some stops.

The participants were devided into 2 groups,
first group arrived in Jogja on 12 March,
and the second group arrive on 13 March in the morning.

I was with the second group, there were 8 of us,
taking the first flight of Batavia Air from Balikpapan to Jogja,
departing at 07:15.
Our bike was packed and registered in our bagages,
6 of us brought folding bikes, and the 2 others brought their MTBs.
The plane arrived on time at Jogja, and after recovering the baggages,
we started to re-assemble our bikes at the airport corridor !!

We left the airport on our bikes at 09:00,
cars from our hotel bringing our bags and other bagages.
Those cars were also escorting us, following our group,
all the way to Borobudur.

We rode from Jogja airport for about 8km downtown,
and met the first group at their hotel at 09:30.
Shortly after re-start from hotel we left the main road,
and following a canal known by the local as "Selokan Mataram" upstream.
We rode on the relatively smooth and quiet canal path,
with classic Javanesse countryside scenery around,
rice field - farmers - irrigation canal and water stream.

The temperature was rising quickly after 10 o'clock,
and we made some stops to take pictures and regrouping.
Some of us had problems with their bikes,
but they were "usual problems" like flat tire and loosen pedals.
We fixed those problems while others was taking rest,
and at 13:00 we arrived safely in Borobudur.

It was very hot day, and at the end,
none of us willing to cycle back to Jogja.
So after finding a restaurant for lunch,
we just sent our bikes to Jogja on one of our escort car.
Somehow, a small Suzuki pick up was enough for 14 bicycles.....
On the rest of the afternoon we made a tour inside Borobudur temple complex.

We had to find another car to bring us back to Jogja,
and it was not too difficult to find a car around Borobudur.
For 200 thousand rupiah we found extra car.
We arrived at the hotel at 18:00,
we all worn out but we all have big smiles.

Thanks to all participants
for their positive cooperation and team spirits.

Many thanks to Pambudi from Indraloka Guest House,
Jl. Cik di Tiro Jogjakarta, for arranging cars and accommodations.

And also special thanks for Bakhtiar(,
Qardian, Tonny, Yoga and Alex for sharing pictures and GPS records.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

packing a bike

Here is an old bike that I want to pack, old road bike with 700C wheel set and threaded type headset with quil bolt.
First strip all accessories out of the bike (cyclometer, lighting, bell, fender, bottle cage etc)

We will need multitools with allen key, hex wrench to remove pedals (mine is 15mm), tape and used newspapers.
My old bike has hi-ten steel frame and the paint is not so nice anymore, so I don’t mind if it takes more scratches…
If you have nicer bike with nice paint etc,
then you will need some insulation foams to protect the frame.

First remove the wheel and DEFLATE the tire.
To remove the rear wheel, put the derailleur on the smallest cog position.
If your bike is MTB or equipped with fat tire,
then the brake caliper need to be opened first.

Put the bike upside down, take the pedal out using hex wrench.
With bike in upside down position as in the picture,
we need to push the key down to release the right side pedal.
Remember that left side pedal has left hand thread.

Remove the RD (rear derailleur) too,
to avoid protruding part on the bottom side of the bicycle.

Wrap the RD with used newspaper,
and secure it in between bike’s rear triangle.
To avoid losing the RD nut,
put the RD nut back in its place once the RD has removed.

My bike has quil system,
so by loosen the main nuts I can remove the handlebar and the stem completely.
Bolts that securing bar ends, brakes and shifter need to loosen too,
so they can be rotate and reposition easily later.

Put the handlebar on the bike’s top tube and secure with tape,
if you have a nice paint on the bike frame,
then you need to protect the frame first with insulator foam.
Mine is old beaten bike,
so I just tape those parts together without extra protection.

After attaching handlebar,
attach the wheels to the front triangle,
do it so with the cassette on the inner part.

With this configuration, the dimension is 120x80x35cm,
rear rack and saddle could be removed to save more space.
The fork gap (and also rear triangle) could be protected
by inserting a long nut or wooden spacer.
Use only thick carton to box the bike,
put piece of plywood on the bottom of the carton box to protect chain ring.
We can put our tools in the carton box too,
at minimum we will need pump, multitools, hex wrench,
and some parts like tube patch kit etc.
The nicer your bike is, the more protections you are going to need.

IMPORTANT for carbon/aluminum bike,
the cassette needs to be wrapped with foam/rags/used papers
so it would not chipping the frame.
ALSO for bike with disc brake,
we will need extra protection for the disc too !

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

January 2010

January 2010 was really busy month for Balikpapan bicycle communities.
The first event was folding bike ride right on the new year day,
and then a ride across the bay to Penajam on 10 January.
At the end of the month, there were also bike ride,
B&C fun ride with custom officers on Saturday 30 Jan,
and then Ambalat ride with our group folder on Sunday 31 Jan.

But the biggest event was Bike Jamboree ride that was organized by Le
Grandeur, one of the main hotel in Balikpapan.
This event took the whole weekend days on 23-24 Jan. On Saturday
afternoon, right after the rain stopped, we were cycling across the
town for show-off ride.

There were about 50 riders, and 16 of us were there with our folding
bikes. There was a coverage about this ride on our local newspaper.

And then next morning, Sunday 24 Jan, on the Jamboree main event,
there were about 600 riders there, ready to follow the 26km of cross
country track.

The ride started at about 07:10, and less than 2 hours later some
strong riders showed up already on the finish line.

The weather was sunny on that Sunday morning, but parts of the track were still wet
from the heavy rain on Saturday morning. A lot of begineers could not
finish the ride, but the military rescue team taking care of them
right away.

I used my MTB for this ride, but two of my riding buddies were crazy
enough to push their folding bike passing those offroad trail till the
finish line. Other folding riders were making short cut, so they were
not following the offroad session.

As usual in every bike event, after reaching finish we were welcomed
by fresh drinks. And during the doorprize drawing session, the band
from Le Grandeur pub entertaining us till lunch time. In this drawing
session, 2 of our team won the prize, one was voucher to go to
Starbuck Coffe, and the other was DVD player.

After lunch we went going home happily. One thing that impressed me
was the hard works and the professialism of the committe.
Even the track itself was not too hard, with so much participants of
various ages, various skill levels and using various bicycle types,
there were always big potential of having problems.
Luckily, the committee was very well prepared. They prepared
everything, from simple aerobic and stretching session before the
ride, little snack, stop points with ample supplies of free drinks and
fresh fruits, medic and rescue team from military, and also policemen
on every intersection with main traffic.
On the finish area they also provided mobile toilet and several water
hoses to clean up our bicycles.
For me this was a really top class Jamboree, those people who run 4
stars hotel definetely know how to organize bicycle Jamboree.
Kudos for the committee, and thanks for many friends, Pak Muttaqin, Alex, Qardian, and others for your contributions in this posting.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Around with Balikpapan Folder buddies

It all started on end of November 09. There were a fun bike gathering,
where I met some of folding bike users in Balikpapan.

We exchanged our mails and phones numbers, and shortly after,
on Dec 18, 2009, we managed to make day trip together.
Our destination was Manggar beach, about 20km from town.

There were about 15 of us, riding various folding bikes.
we had a good time on this trip,
and at the end of the trip we made a plan for another one...
So the ball is rolling.......

On the new year day of 2010 we went to wooden village in Kampung Baru area
The houses there were build above the shallow water, on thousands of wooden piles.
They called the wood as "kayu ulin", a native borneo wood,
that known for its resistance against sea water and hot weather.

The village serves as local ports, connecting the remote villages further inside
Balikpapan Bay with the main town.
Other activities there are tradings and fishery,

On our first visit we did not have enough time to cross the bay,
we only spent few hours there,
looking around talking to local people and taking pictures,
the local fishermen showed us a big shark that they just catch

But we came back about 10 days later,
some riders were joining us on their MTB
this time we spent enough time so we can take a boat to cross the bay.
Our bikes were loaded on the wooden boat that has a noisy-noisy diesel engine.

The boat brought us to Penajam, town on the other side of the bay
and from Penajam we went to Nipah beach, crossing unfinished road,

one of our friend, Alex, logged this trip on his GPS,

The complete trip report could be seen at Alex pages :

We went back to balikpapan in the afternoon,
and everyone seems to be happy with the trip

Seeing the enhusiasm of the group, I hope this group will last
and we will continue to have another story to tell.

Thanks to all of our friends, especially Pak Mutaqqin, Alex, and

for sharing pictures and trip informations.