It was early morning in the middle of March—a month after my own birthday, and a day after Surely’s own first one. The sky was painted in thick, moody haze; I was riding across southern Bandung’s vast ricefield, and the road seemed to lead nowhere but empty white space. Yet, I knew exactly where I was going.
It’s been years since my Dad said it to me for the first time. Located 40 km to the south from Pekalongan city center—the coastal hometown of my parents—the region sat on the northern slope of North Serayu Mountainrange, and is home to Pekalongan’s finest natural tourism attractions—mostly waterfalls. It wasn’t the tourism spots that lured me there, however; it was, instead, the promise of smooth winding road surrounded by forest so pristine one could easily see monkeys jumping around the tree canopy.
It was, however, inseparable part of the cycling trip to Moss Alley—a small attraction spot in the middle of Jayagiri forest, at the southern slope of the infamous Mount Tangkubanparahu. It was @kerangkerungs who invited me to the ride, and I was intrigued; a short weekend ride to nearby forest with few fellow cyclists seemed like a nice idea. So there we were, a group of four, climbed to the north of the city on a beautiful Saturday morning.
@asep_hadian’s words were as daunting as classic movie’s bad guy’s, when he passed me by on Pacet climb, km 56 of the ride. Held by @audaxrandonesia and @dirtxclouds, the 200k 2020 Bandung All Terrain Challenge started from @bikesystem.id and began with flattish, uneventful ride to Ciparay, the first checkpoint, at km 49. Starting at 5.00 a.m., I was one among the firsts to arrive. There was confusion among participants about the exact checkpoint location, until @storyonsaddle showed up carrying the barcode to scan. He reminded me not to stop too long, but I took my time regardless—snacking and drinking, while watching others passed me by.
Kamojang Pass has been calling for a while, and I must finally go.
It began as a whisper; seeing @bayuwhy on the first day of Palintang Pass Double Weekend Ride brought back the memory of him taking me to the arduous climb of the pass. I promised myself to return to Kamojang Pass since then, but it had remained a mere wish; that was, until flurry of follow-up calls came one after another: @dwisl’s ride photos, @fixedonyourflow’s (cancelled) endurance ride plan, and @hndrsyam’s ride log—as if Kamojang Pass was reminding me of the promise I had made.
Five a.m., August 20th, I walked my bike out of the garage, turned on the lights, and began riding to the west. It was the first of four-days time limit of Pruride 2020 Virtual Ride event, and I planned to finish the 135k gran fondo route in one day.
I had never been interested in organized cycling event before.
“Why am I doing this?” I asked myself. @derryfa and I were sitting on the roadside, staring at seemingly endless climb under scorching sun ahead—our only way back home. Our legs seemed to refuse to cooperate already—so did our spirit.
The trip was indeed something different than I usually do—a strict quest of distance and time instead of view and general pleasure. It started with @edmundjeds’ invitation to join him to ride along Bandung 300 km Audax in the mid of the month—something both @derryfa and I were unsure to accept, since I knew what such a long ride entails; my last year’s 200 km ride to Pangandaran proved to be a torture, despite the fact that I was already familiar with 100km++ ride.
It’s been a while since last time I had such a fun ride.
Sunday, August 2nd of 2020, 5.45 a.m., four cyclists who had never ridden together—or even didn’t know each other before—gathered in Alfamart in Gedebage. It all started with a direct message from @xtoredy asking me to ride with him while he was in Bandung. Once the plan was set, he invited his friend @anggawis to join the ride; likewise, I invited fellow Bandung cyclist @derryfa to join, too. So there we were, four cyclists who had never ridden together, brought together for a Sunday gravel fest.
The shortest, closest mountainpass loop to home—Palintang Pass has become one among cycling routes I ride most frequently. Starting from Alun-alun Ujungberung on East Bandung, the pass featured 10 km climb with 900 m of elevation gain to the peak, beautiful view of Mt. Manglayang and Mt. Palasari, rough gravel descent across cinchona plantation, as well as another 1.4 km climb with 130 m of elevation gain as finale punch. With total elevation gain of around 1,200 m for the full loop, it was a torturous rite of passage for me as a newbie, 7 years ago; even after all these years, riding the route is still quite demanding.
There it was: another hidden gem of Bandung Barat.
I saw it on @fahmyrhamadan’s Instagram Stories for the first time: Gravel road across vast ricefield, grassy meadow next to a beautiful lake view, under gentle sunrise’s warmth—it seemed like a promising cycling playground. Even better, it wasn’t particularly far from home; located next to Saguling dam, it doesn’t involve any steep or prolonged climb, too. I wondered if riding there would be as delightful as it seemed…