23.4.20

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. 

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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

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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

     
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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










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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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