Green Fly Jakarta - Jogja, 5-8 March 2020

They say a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Well in our case, it was a journey of 600km that began with 250km of cycling. It was the first ├ętape of what would be 4 days of relentless cycling from Jakarta to Jogja with the crazy guys from Green Fly Cycling Team. 

Day 1 (Jakarta – Cirebon ~250km): The longest part of the tour. The route we chose was to go along Pantura, as it was the most direct. Smooth asphalt gave way to potholes as we got further away from Jakarta. Weariness and thirst became formidable foes made worse by the incessant traffic along the busy Pantura corridor.

We planned rest stops every  40-50km or so. Alfamart and Indomart were welcome sights indeed. Thankfully, it was cloudy all the way to Cirebon. In fact, it drizzled some parts of the way. We couldn’t believe our luck. The cool air allowed us to push a faster pace. We had to arrive in Cirebon before dark, before it became too dangerous to cycle along a busy road with lots of cars and trucks and potholes. 

6:30pm. Finally we arrived at Batik Hotel Cirebon just as the sky was turning dark purple. We rolled into the hotel compound to incredulous looks from the hotel staff and guests. 15 sweaty guys who cycled all the way from Jakarta!

Elapsed Time: 12h 57m
Moving Time: 8h 23m

Day 2 (Cirebon – Pekalongan ~140km): We woke up to sore legs and backs. The good news is, we did not need to cover 250km that day. We were a little more relaxed during breakfast bantering and joking before getting ready to set off. The bad news is, we set off quite late in the morning. And while the clouds protected us the day before, the sun came out in vengeance on that day. By midday, the heat was beating on us mercilessly like sledgehammers.
Rest stops became longer and longer as the day wore on. From 15 mins, to 30 mins to 45mins. No one was eager to leave the cool, air-conditioned Alfamarts/Indomarts. In fact, at every stop, we would take off our helmets and shoes and sit on the floor totally exhausted. Curious onlookers would stare at us, but we just couldn’t be bothered.

The highlight of the day was lunch. CRABS! And delicious ones too. Rumah Makan Kepiting Pak Kardi, I will remember you till my dying days. Such tasty, succulent crustaceans.

Cap TIKUS!!!
That night in Pekalongan, I was introduced to a devilish liquor...Cap Tikus.

Elapsed Time: 7h 40m
Moving Time: 4h 38m

Day 3 (Pekalongan – Salatiga ~150km): This was another big day. A day of climbs. I thought my legs were already numb from 2 days of cycling. But they were not. They felt every pain as I slowly turned the pedals. The climb was never-ending. Luckily the higher altitude meant cooler air. The cooler air also meant rain. Loads of it. The raindrops came thick and fast, stinging my skin. Streams of water were flowing down the road like small rivers.
The flowing water covered any potholes on the road, making them invisible traps. Somehow, I did not fall into any one of those traps. The group got separated and I was riding alone most of the way. When I arrived at the hotel, I was soaked...but elated. I had finished the tougher parts of the journey without evacuation.

On the way to Salatiga, we passed by Semarang where we had quite a feast. Mutton stew and satay!

Elapsed Time: 9h 56m
Moving Time: 6h 21m



Day 4 (Salatiga – Jogja ~80km) FINISH: Finally! The final day. From the higher perch of Salatiga, it was a straight downhill to Jogja. The ride downhill was quite hazardous. The steep slope and bumpy road threatened to throw us over our handlebars. But we reached the foot of the mountain eventually.

We were greeted with some Jogja athletes just outside Jogja. They led us to our destination, a restaurant for lunch. I had a feeling they were having sneaky fun with us by leading us to a route that had an incline. It wasn’t steep. 2 to 4 %. But it was looooong. It went on and on and on. Some guys got dropped. Some got lost. It was a chaotic if comical end to our ride.
Elapsed Time: 5h 13m
Moving Time: 2h 52m

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Feeling a bit sleepy, I drove my car in that early morning. It was 03.15 AM, and I headed to our meeting point at Pantai Indah Kapuk.

As I was reaching the Toll Booth, I was taken aback by the long queue. There were approximately 15 to 20 cars in every line. Fortunately, it did not take long and soon I was driving again.

I was the first one who reached the place, and in no time there were 12 others. We loaded our bicycles on a pick up car, and hopped on the bus. Some of us continued our sleep while others were chatting.

Our next stop was Roti Unyil in Bogor, where we met some other friends from other bike communities: "eNTe", which was the abbreviation for Nanjak Terus (Always Goes Uphill), and "Teman Gowes" (Friends for Biking).

It was a pleasure to join them in a bike trip, and we were happy to make friends with other bike groups and communities, who shared the same passion for biking.
At approximately 08 AM, 31 bikers started pedaling to Ujung Genteng, which would be our destination that morning.

The city of Bogor offered a comfortable track with small climbs, but soon it began to be steep in some areas. We passed several wet markets, where the traffic jams were commonly heavy.

After we had finished the first half of the route, the track was getting harder. It started to ascend, but this time it was rather flat for a few meters, and then climbed, flat again for a few meters, and then climbed again. It was not going-up-and-down as before. The bike trip from Bogor to Ujung Genteng was probably one of the hardest tracks we ever tried.
The route was hard, and the speed was low. We were divided into small groups eventually.

We tried to stay close to one another, so that the smallest group would compose of at least two people. This would come in handy if any of us had problems en route. 

We continued biking until it was dark, and the first small group reached Turtle Beach Hotel at 06.30 PM. We had our dinner in the hotel's restaurant, and soon everybody went to their bedrooms and slept.

That night, we stayed in a separate hotel from "eNTe" and "Nanjak Terus" communities. They planned to stay for two nights in Ujung Genteng, while we were planning to spend only one night, and going back to Jakarta the next day.

In the morning, we had our breakfast, and wandered around the beach to enjoy the fresh sea breeze.
After checking out from the hotel at 09 AM, we stopped by at Cikaso waterfall. We had a short trip on the boat to reach the place.
Unfortunately, there was only little water coming down from the waterfall. Apparently it had been weeks without rain, and the water level was low. Nevertheless, we took photo for remembrance.
After having lunch, we continued our journey back to Jakarta, and reached the same meeting point at 10 PM.

Our trip to Ujung Genteng was a short one, as the main purpose was to try the 165-km uphill adventure. Nonetheless, if we ever go there again, I think I would love to explore the surrounding beaches, just as our friends from "eNTe" and "Teman Gowes" did.

Written by: Chris Wibisono - GF 71

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Day 2 (Oct 05, 2013)
Our second-day journey started at 6 AM in front of our hotel. That day, we would ride our bike to Manggar, a city made famous by its many coffee taverns.

We planned to stop by at Gantung village to see the set of "Laskar Pelangi" (Rainbow Troops). Apart from the novel that was a major hit and published internationally, the movie was a blockbuster one that won international awards in Italy, Hong Kong, and Iran.

On the road, the air was so fresh, and the tarmac was so smooth. Never did I see holes on the streets. The local government did a terrific job in maintaining the road condition.

Although the roads were smooth, they were not flat at most parts of the route. There were many big and small climbs, and in some areas, it was quite steep that riding my MTB was a challenge in comparison with most of the other members, who brought Road Bikes.

As the sun rose, I started to feel the skin-burning sensation. As we took a long time on the road from morning to the afternoon, we could really feel the humidity and the hot air. Every time I stopped for a while, I felt the vapor coming out of my body. It was hard for me to keep biking without drinking much water every few minutes.

We stopped at Gantung village and took a few photos, including the one in front of the primary school set of "Laskar Pelangi". 

By then, we had ridden 73 km.

We continued riding our bike to Manggar and reached the city at approximately 12 PM. The total distance we covered that day was 97 km.

After we had taken lunch, we loaded our bike and drove off.

We were curious about the taste of the coffee that made Manggar city famous, so we stopped at a coffee tavern and took a zip. The taste was quite strong and delicious.

On our way back to the hotel, we stopped again at a souvenir shop. There were unique souvenirs that I had never seen before.

They were the pieces of meteorites that the local people called "Satam". Some also called them Billitonites. They were shiny, black stones that the miners found while digging the earth for tin.

The price was quite expensive. For the size of a small marble, "Satam" was priced IDR 225,000.

After the souvenir shop, the next stop was our hotel. We took bath and prepared for dinner.

Unbelievably, that evening we went to several places to eat. After having snack in a chinese restaurant, we went to a seafood restaurant, and also ate street noodles. It was our last night in Belitung, and we wanted to enjoy it as much as possible.

While eating the street noodles, we saw lion dance in a vihara just across the street. Some people were practicing the acrobatic movements on a few high poles. We stayed there for a while and enjoyed the attraction.

Although the night was still young, some of us were a bit tired, so we decided to go back to the hotel and rest.

Day 3 (Oct 06, 2013)
Just like the previous day, we started biking early in that morning. A few friends from Belitung Cyclist Team accompanied us on our way to Tanjung Tinggi.

It was a 27-km bike ride with many small climbs. It felt good breathing the fresh morning air, far from the pollution caused by the vehicles. There were many motorcycles in Belitung, but their population were far less than that of big cities such as Jakarta.

Soon enough, we reached the place. Our Belitung friends bade farewell, and we were on our own, enjoying Tanjung Tinggi.

We saw one boulder as big as a three-floor building. The biggest stone I ever saw. I quickly posed to capture that rare moment.

After taking some pictures, we put our bicycles on the truck and rode in cars, back to our hotel. We packed and checked out, as we had to catch the flight in the afternoon. For lunch, we went to a chinese-food restaurant, "Dynasty", and had a delicious meal.

On our way to the airport, we stopped by at a small tavern to eat ice. "Satam" monument, Tanjung Pandan city's landmark, and the tavern, were in close proximity. Thus, we quickly took our camera, crossed the street, and posed.

By then, we only had a little time to catch the boarding time. So, we hurriedly went to the airport. Our flight back to Jakarta was on time, and we left the island at approximately 4 PM.

It was a memorable trip for all of us, and we looked forward to having another bike adventure soon.

Written by: Chris Wibisono - GF 71

To See More Pictures Day 2 , Please Click Here
To See More Pictures Day 3 , Please Click Here

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Day 1 (Oct 04, 2013)
As our airplane descended to Tanjung Pandan airport, we saw vast vegetation all over the island. Belitung was truly a "green" island, and we felt excited to explore this magnificent place popularized by the novel "Laskar Pelangi" (Rainbow Troops), which had been published in 21 countries by far.

Belitung (Billiton in English), was home to approximately 300,000 people, and was famous for "Satam" stones (Billitonites), which were pieces of meteorites falling down to earth millions of years ago, and large granite boulders, which could easily be found on beaches.

Some said that the large granite boulders were thrown out from the belly of the earth when meteors hit the ground. Some other said, that the cause was the movement of the tectonic slab. It was anyhow miraculous to see such natural wonder.

Our airplane landed at 07.50 AM, and the Event Organizer had been there to pick us up. After the cargo was complete, we went to Grand Pondok Impian hotel to put the luggages and bike boxes, and drove off to enjoy Belitung noodle soup in "Atep" restaurant.

The noodle was delicious and sweet, although the portion was quite small for my stomach. Luckily, I took quite heavy breakfast in Jakarta.

After the meal, we went back to assemble our bicycles. There were mostly Road Bikes, except for three people including I, who brought Mountain Bikes.

The plan that day was to ride our bikes to Tanjung Kelayang, where we would ride on a boat to sightsee several islands.

The distance between our hotel and Tanjung Kelayang was 25 km, and the road condition was so smooth that it was very enjoyable to ride. Nevertheless, it was humid and hot in the afternoon.

After reaching the place, we took lunch before riding on the boat.

The sea breeze was so soothing, and we had passed several groups of rocks including Batu Garuda, before stopping at Lengkuas Island.

On Lengkuas Island, there stood a 131-year-old light house. The Belitung icon that was built in the era of the Dutch colonization.

It was amazing to see its 322-step stairway, 18-floor steel construction. A strong building that could defy its age. We went inside the light house, and took photos.

The view at the top was mesmerizing. The sea water was so clear, and there were large granite boulders that made quite an impression.

On this trip, we also arranged a little time to snorkel. Near the Lengkuas Island, we put on our goggles and saw underwater creatures and reef.

We then headed to Kepayang Island to see the turtle conservation.

It was almost 4 PM when we went back to Tanjung Kelayang, where we took another 25-km bike ride to our hotel. Luckily, at that time the sun was already near the horizon, so that it was not as hot as before.

After having dinner in a restaurant, one of Green Fly members, Wie Wie Wen (GF 132) who happened  to spend his childhood time in Belitung, took us to a tavern which served dried squid. We enjoyed the snack with the special local sauce.

We drove back to the hotel and quickly took our rest, as the next day we would go on a 100-km bike ride that would take us across Belitung from west to east.

Written by: Chris Wibisono - GF 71

To See More Pictures, Please Click HERE

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