“You should try riding to Petungkriyono.”
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.
The trip began with 12 km of gentle climb to Doro. It was here my little brother @rizkiardhi_ and uncle @opa_aqiem dropped me on their sub-9 kg CF aero bikes—a stark contrast to my hefty steel cruiser. I took my time nonetheless, enjoying the scenery. Plains of ricefield can be found back in Bandung, yet subtle differences—terrace arrangement, background mountain view, ambient sound—made for a refreshing experience.
From Doro, the road turned to successive steep climbs on Mesoyi region—the 20+% gradient segments felt stiff even with 42x46t lowest gearing on mine, let alone with 34x28t of my little brother’s. Thankfully, the overall gradient lessened over time, allowing us to recover eventually. Before we knew it, we reached Petungkriyono Monument at a road junction—exactly the spot we reached when we were still newbie cyclists, nine years ago. Back then, we climbed eastward to Jolotigo; this time, we continued southward…
“This is one of the most well-preserved forests in Java,” @opa_aqiem, our guide, claimed.
We took the descent to the lush mountain valley, and the warm coastal air turned chilly in a sudden, as if we were teleported to an entirely different part of the world. Soon the road turned to flowy, rolling smooth road along the valley, and I found myself lost among the soaring trees, the singing of cicadas and wild birds, and the burble of occasional roadside cascades. Perhaps there are some truth to my uncle’s claim; I had never ridden in such a lush, pristine forest before—let alone the one with such a smooth asphalt road.
As suggested, we made a stop at Curug Sibedug, a waterfall in the region. As my uncle arranged tea and snack in a nearby warung, my brother and I enjoyed the waterfall—soaking our feet on the cold riverstream was refreshing. As a tourism spot, the waterfall was surprisingly clean, too. I wish the waterfall—and the region overall—would stay as clean, as pristine, and as natural, for years to come…
From there, Petungkriyono extends further southward still, with several other tourism spots along the way. We decided to stop our climb there, nonetheless; after all, the trip was meant as a short morning getaway affair. Descending the same flowy smooth road across the forest was pure joy—with the plump WTB Byway 650bx47mm providing tons of cornering grip and confidence, I could go faster and immerse myself in the beauty of the forest, once again. The joy, the impression of such pristine forest, lingered, even after we descended all the way to the town, and returned home.
Cycling Trip Stats:
- Distance: 48.1 km
- Total Ascent: 937 m
- Max Elevation: 575 m asl
- % Unpaved: 0%
- % Singletrack: 0%
- % Rideable time: 100%