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.
“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.
I’ve been wondering about it myself—the route has been sitting on my ride plan list for the past few years. Unlike my usual preference, it doesn’t involve a mountain pass. With total elevation gain of almost 1400 m, however, it was comparable to my previous mountain pass century rides, thanks to its pronounced hilly terrain alone. Somehow, it has always fallen out of my personal favor—that is, until fellow cyclists @storyonsaddle and @foldinggram actually rode it, and inspired me to take it for my birthday solo ride.
“Is going on a long ride, on Chinese New Year, a good idea?” my wife asked.
I had to admit she had a point. In Indonesia, Chinese New Year is identical with rain. Weather forecast predicted 80% chance of rain as early as 10 am, and 100% afterward. Despite the certainty of rain, however, I was firm with the plan of exploring new cycling route in Pangalengan—especially after my last rain ride to Palintang.
It started with a surprise: a direct message from the guy behind Racmmer’s official distributor here in Indonesia. Apparently he had just stumbled upon my previous review of the brand’s jersey, and decided to hand me a gift as a sign of appreciation—an offer I’m not dumb enough to turn down. I was given full freedom to choose whichever model I’d like, but he suggested me to give their newest model a try: the top-of-the-range IDR 260K / USD 19 Racmmer Elite jersey, updated with new, claimed-better, cut and fabric. With the possibility of writing another review, following his suggestion and choosing the model was a no-brainer option for me.
Disclosure: while the product reviewed here is provided by Racmmer, the content is based on my honest judgment and opinion.
Stretching 24 km in southern Bandung region, Gambung Pass doesn’t share the fame of Ciwidey and Pangalengan, the two well-known tourism destinations that it connects. Rarely taken by tourists, however, the twisty road featured beautiful forest, tea plantation, and gravel sections along the way, making it a perfect route for enthusiasts seeking pure cycling experience away from bustling city traffic.
Can I get a decent cycling helmet for around IDR 300K (USD 20)? That was the question that popped in my head when I set out to buy a replacement—the previous one I had was comfortable, but after 5 years of use, it had crumbled into an ugly blob of black polystyrene on my head. Apparently, the choice was limited to either cheap, garish multipurpose model, or famous brand’s Chinese knock-offs with doubtful quality; apparently, until I stumbled upon Polygon Speed, the road helmet from Indonesia’s most famous cycling company.
Finding a proper cycling jersey in Indonesian market was tough. There were only two basic options available on the market: either you get yourself baggy MTB jersey full of texts, logos, and colors that practically turn you into a rolling dorky banner on two wheels, or you spend a fortune for sleek, stylish jersey from established brands. I was contemplating going on the third route—the full custom-printed jersey—when I stumbled upon Racmmer, a cycling apparel brand which offered the style and elegance of the established brand’s, for fraction of the price.