Could there awe-inspiring, unexplored routes left around Bandung?
The city has, indeed, plenty to offer. Gambung Loop is, arguably, the most popular one; so is roadie-friendly Wayang-Windu route. Cisanti Loop has also been my personal favorite. For shorter, sub-fondo routes, Eurad Pass seemed to be local cyclists’ favorite, while Sukawana Tea Plantation has become my personal preference recently. Yet even their magical charm faded, bit by bit, the more we rode them, over and over again…
“Don’t ride there alone; let me know when you’re going.”
Derry cautioned me when I told him my plan to ride Rancabolang-Patuha mountain pass. Situated at the southeastern slope of Mt. Patuha, the highest mountain in Bandung region, the route has long stayed on my wish list. Passing lush forest and hilly tea plantation, the mixed-terrain road punches well beyond 2,200 m above sea level, making it the second highest mountain pass in West Java—and the fifth highest in whole Java.
It was Rizky Subangkit who asked us, one by one. We were riding through the rural road at casual pace by then, still thinking we were going back home before midday.
Casual, after all, was how it all began. Our plan was to ride to the top of Eurad Pass, enjoy the brunch and hang out, then descend back to the city—a morning picnic. That was why I only filled one bidon, and donned simple cargo short instead of a cargo bib. And we did stick to the plan early in the morning; taking the ride easy along Cijengkol, and heading further to the north, as the layer of clouds began crumbling in the sky… until he asked us.
“I might’ve started the day with the wrong foot, but it shouldn’t ruin the whole ride,” I told myself.
There I was, standing in the middle of hilly banana plantation in West Cipada, immersing myself in the view of Mt. Burangrang to the east, and glimpse of infamous Gede-Pangrango twin volcanoes to the west, feeling small and free at the same time. The air was cool, and the sky was cloudy, with a dash of gentle morning sun. After a hard struggle caused by my own foolishness, I could finally take a deliberate deep breath, and put myself at ease.
The allure of smooth winding road across scenic hills of tea plantation, the fresh mountain breeze under the bright blue sky, the bowl of hot noodle that matched cool air of high-altitude—those were what stayed in my memory from my first ride to Rancabali Highland, commisioned by Kilomantra Indonesia. It was the memory that resurfaced, when my brother @rizkiardhi_ asked me if it would be okay for me to ride there again with him. “It’ll be my pleasure,” I told him.
That was the text from my little brother @rizkiardhi_ in one fine afternoon—the text that eventually led to this road cycling trip to Wayang-Windu, the trip we had been planning for awhile.
Offering the ride across plains tea plantation in Pangalengan highland, Wayang-Windu route was one among few roadie-friendly cycling destination in Bandung. Despite the refreshing view and vibe, it wasn’t as popular as Lembang or Tangkubanparahu Entrance Gate, for a good reason; the distance and the total elevation gain means it requires about 8 hours of total trip time—definitely closer to endurance-type ride than those morning quick getaways. But my brother was looking for a 100+ km with good view, so…
That was the question I asked @therudihartanto, when he told me he was going to Nagrek Pass, a couple of months ago—the question that I actually had to ask myself. Lately, I thought a ride to Nagrek Pass is a bit lacking and should be added with Cijapati Pass to make a larger loop—yet, somehow, I never actually rode it myself.
There’s something about humble morning city strolls during Ramadan, that brought me back again and again.
I’ve tried riding on the afternoon, out of my parents’ concern that, with abstinence from food and (especially) drink, morning ride would put me to risk of dehydration. Yet afternoon traffic was a convoluted mess of reckless motorists and pollution-congested air that turned the ride into something more like a fight for survival—the opposite of the kind of experience I was seeking. Heading to nearby hills was an option, but the ride home afterward was the same peace-draining experience.
That was my attitude toward cycling-specific socks for years. Sure, cycling-specific apparels like jersey and padded short improved both on-bike performance and comfort considerably. But a pair of socks? I’ve been using standard cotton socks for years, feeling just fine even on 200+ km rides—until I gave compression socks a try recently. While perhaps not as significant as cycling-specific short and jersey, I must admit, they do make difference—especially on hours of constant, continuous pedalling motion.
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.