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.
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.
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.
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.
If you can only have one bike, how would you build it?
Against widespread adoption of N+1 principle among cyclists, I have long been a believer of “one bike to rule them all” approach. For me, it made much more sense. On a multi-terrain cycling adventure, changing bikes to suit specific terrain condition isn’t an option; not even changing wheelsets. Combining long stretch of paved road, long climbs, rocky gravel road, steep twisty descents, even singletracks, such adventure demands one bike capable to tackle them all. Granted, such a bike will not excel at any particular task; it will, however, do well on almost any challenge a cycling adventure throw at it.
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.