Standing 1,818 m above sea level, Manglayang is the least famous among Bandung’s northern mountains. Not only being the only one left out of the infamous Sangkuriang legend, it is also the least studied. Not much is known about the mountain, except the fact that it is an ancient stratovolcano, with unknown last eruption—perhaps a couple of millions of years ago, preceding the oldest human civilization that created the legend—that its crater is no longer visible, buried under the lush green forest.
What size should my bicycle wheel be? If you’ve been following the trend in mountainbiking world, you would surely have heard the relentless, exhaustive mantra spelled by journos and brand spokepersons: “bigger is better”. They’re referring to 29 inches mountain bike tyres, which they claimed to be faster than smaller wheels. If it’s true that bigger is better, however, why don’t we all ride 36-inches monstrous wheels? And why don’t automobile and motorcycle industry adopt the same philosophy? They were quick to point out the strengths of bigger wheels… is there something they didn’t tell us?
Compared to the south side counterpart, the cycling exploration to Lembang Fault’s north side was more challenging. It is significantly longer, because it is further to the north from the city, and it allows end-to-end 29 km exploration, from east to the west. It also features two valleys, which contributes to added climbing sections along the road. However, it also rewarded me with clear view of the fault, stretching from Mount Palasari in east end all the way to the west.
Back when I was a newbie and decided to upgrade my drivetrain, another customer in the bike garage laughed at me. Why blew away so much cash for the new shiny drivetrain while keeping the shabby stock tyres? Honestly, I had no clue. I thought that the derailleur would improve the quality of a bike. He told me then, empathetically, that tyres are a lot cheaper, and will improve the ride quality better. It took me months until I swapped to kevlar-beaded aftermarket XC tyres, and I realized, he was spot on.
Stretching 29 km from east to west, Lembang Fault was one among the most prominent geological features of Bandung Basin. From the city, it is easily recognized as elongated hill in the north, starting from Mount Palasari in the east, sloping down all the way to north of Cimahi in the west. Created through eons of tectonic plate movement, the active fault lifted the higher southern side, exposing wall of ancient rocks to the lower northern side. It was the southern side, especially the eastern side of Maribaya Valley, that I explored for this cycling trip.
Back when I was new to cycling, I thought of available speed as a gauge of bike’s quality. My first bike had 3×8 drivetrain, and soon after a family cycling trip in Pekalongan, I upgraded the drivetrain to 3×10 speed Shimano SLX. I believed it wholeheartedly that I was baffled when I saw Scott’s top range XC bike was sold with 2×10 drivetrain. Why 20 speed, if you can have 30? For the past 2 years, however, I rode 1×10, and didn’t ever think of going back.
Even though not as famous to tourists as Tebing Keraton, Gunung Batu (lit. “Rock Mountain”) is well known among local geologists. It is often considered as the “peak” of Lembang Fault, even though it is 500 m lower in elevation than Mount Palasari at the east end of the fault. The rocky structure is believed to be the collision point between eastern and western segment of the fault.
There was a moment in my cycling history when I spent my days reading Bikeradar’s Mountain Bike Reviews and was sold to the idea that longer, slacker means better. That was the moment I traded my 100 mm cheap coil suspension fork with an adjustable air one and set the travel to 120 mm. Later, as the longer & slacker mantra sank deeper on my mind, I set the fork’s travel to 140 mm and slackened my hardtail’s headtube angle further. That moment, however, has come to and end.
For the past few years, Tebing Keraton (lit. “The Royal Cliff”) has become one among the most popular tourist destinations in Bandung. It is largely known for its “instagrammable” view of lush Maribaya valley, carved by Cikapundung river across the Lembang Fault for eons. It is also a mere 9 km uphill trip from the city, making it a great destination for half-day leisure cycling.