Like the sails on our boat we felt our Dahon folding bikes were essential to our voyage around the world. The bikes gave us freedom to travel away from the harbor and to get into the guts of a culture.
Sure you can hop on a bus or grab a taxi in most places, but the bike allowed us to stop where we wanted. We were able to explore side streets and meet people at our own pace. Since they were little bikes it became a conversation piece or at least put a smile on a person’s face when they saw us peddle by.
We rode our bikes in many countries like Mexico, Tahiti, Tonga and Italy. But our longest trip on the bikes was on Roti Island in Indonesia. We decided to take a break from surfing, in the fishing village of Nembrala to the larger town of Baa.
It would be 24 miles of undulating hills, peaking at 500 feet in elevation and rural interior. We weren’t sure what to expect for restaurants in between the two locations, so we packed water and food. The plan was to stay in a hotel once we got to Baa.
Along the way we ran into a market. We met teenage boys crowding around our rides, old women carrying their goods to market and people shouting out ‘Hello Mister & Misses” as we peddled down the paved road.
When we arrived in Baa, there wasn’t much to see. The town resides next to the ocean. The old ferry delivers visitors and supplies from the large island of Kupang. It seems the ocean is the main supporter of this islands livelihood by supplying fish and seaweed along with attracting foreign surfers.
The only hotel in town was booked with guests. But after waiting 20 minutes, a room had opened up. We think one of the hotel workers had given up their room for the night.
Everyone we met were generous and friendly. One man named Robert, treated us to dinner and told us to spread the news that Indonesia was a safe place to travel. You could see the pride he had in his homeland.
Indonesia is an island nation diverse in culture and adventure. It does have its flaws however…corrupt government officials trying to get money out of us, but if you can dodge them, you will find the people to be wonderful.
Not only did we bike through Indonesia, we learned how to surf and hung out with Komodo Dragons.by