Day 379. 93km. Sidaorjo – Bromo

Posted: June 1, 2016 in Cycling, Indonesia
Tags: , , , ,

‘You shouldn’t cycle to the summit alone,’ he said.
Clement and I looked on with a puzzled look.
‘It’s spooky. Ghosts!’
Scaling the 2700m volcano from sea-level is usually a multi-day affair – or involves some night cycling to get to the top for sunrise.



The plan of attack was to cycle to Wonokitri at 2000m and stop for the evening. Then it is a further 10km steep climb in the dark to get to the summit.

Clement and I were joined by Harry – an Indonesian cyclist from Bandung. Our climb was rather adventurous. Harry’s crank snapped, and he had it welded back together several times before catching a lift to Wonokitri for more serious welding. Clement and I continued alone, and met up with him again in the evening for the final nocturnal ascent.
Clement and I were laughing at the beginning – ‘when does the steep part start?’ The road seemed like a gentle climb compared to the slopes we have been scaling on the other Indonesian islands. The climb became adventurous when the rain started and it got very cold. It was not steep (at first), but it went on and on and on. Even with the rain and cold I was on the verge of getting cramp – luckily I was spared of it, though. We huddled around a fire as the evening light faded, listening to the cold rain pouring down outside.

The last kilometres to Wonotikri were in the dark and rain with only my head torch (my bike dynamo has stopped working). My brakes also stopped working – oil had been leaking from my hydraulic brakes, and in the rain, they no longer work.

We ran into Harry again sheltering from the rain in the dark in front of the welding shop. Almost everything was closed in the village and I felt a bit miserable and cold. I found a small, cold restaurant where I downed a fried rice before returning to the shelter and snuggling in my sleeping bag before the final nocturnal ascent. Clement woke me up at 10pm and I put on my drenched, cold cycling shirt, and the three of us headed off into the night. It was super steep. Clement scooted on ahead while Harry and I pushed our bikes up the final 10km to the summit.

Pushing up the ever steeper road, I would stop to get by breathing rate down. There was silence and darkness. Absolute, emcompassing silence. As the road weaved its way up the mountain we were rewarded with the most spectacular views. Far below I saw the lights on the plain, and the shadow of a huge volcano looming behind. Stopping to absorb in the view, it was a silent, awe-inspiring experience. We finally made it to the top. There was hugging all round and then huddling in a little prayer room for dawn.



It was good to meet Cak and his friends again in Sijoardo, just south of Surabaya. We were there for a big cycling event where cyclists came from far and wide to share cycling stories and exchange information. Clement and I gave a little talk, and I even inflicted some of my singing on the poor audience. ☺

Friends in Sidaorjo

Friends in Sidaorjo

  1. jasmattbikes says:

    Wow, the rougher the ride the greater the story! i can’t wait to start our adventure on a very similar route! Keep up the good work gentlemen!!!!

  2. Dayang says:

    wow! you already at Java, now you’re closer to Australia.

  3. Eliza Waters says:

    Cold in the tropics? Who would have thought!

  4. Well done guys.
    I can’t believe you are still in Indonesia, where we almost left you, while we had time to go accross OZ and NZ and fly back home!

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