Bali Bikes

While we were in Ubud, we decided to do a one-day bicycle tour.  Richard Van Camp (who we saw at Cafe Luna) suggested we take the tour with Bali Bikes.  Locally owned and operated (instead of being run by those damn Aussies), Richard said the scenery was beautiful, the owners were lovely and the lunch was good.  Done.

The van picked us up promptly at 8am, and drove us up the mountain to a coffee plantation.  We had visited coffee and tea plantations in Laos, but this place had one of these:

Meet a Luwak.  It’s a cat.  It eats coffee beans, and then shits them out, and then people make coffee from those just-shit-out-the-cat’s-ass beans.  Don’t ask me who was the first person who thought to do this, but really folks.  What was wrong with just regular old beans?  Really, someone saw this and thought they needed to make it into a warm beverage?

But they did.  And we tried it.  And you know what?  It didn’t taste like shit.  It tasted like a solid, medium roast coffee.  It was good.  Not good enough to pay $50 a cup (which is what someone on the tour told us it costs in London), but enough to pay $5 to try it.

But we didn’t just try the overpriced coffee.  There was a whole tasting including ginger tea, lemongrass tea, a couple of other coffees and hot chocolate.

After all those warm beverages, we made our way a little up over sea level and had breakfast overlooking an active volcano.

Then, we got on our yellow bikes and started to ride.

Bike-riding through Ubud was one of my favourite parts of the whole trip.  The weather was perfect, the riding was mellow, and the scenery was beautiful.

Our tour took us through lots of local neighbourhoods with kids roaming the streets who love to high-five tourists on bicycles.  We arrived at a local school just as the students were reciting their final prayers before being let out for lunch.

We went through many a rice field, and noticed that all the people working in the rice fields were women.

“Where are all the men” you ask, “as the women toil the fields?”

Well, dear reader.  They’re sitting out on the stoop training their chickens for upcoming cockfights.  No.  joke.

The cycling ended with lunch at the owner’s home, prepared by his family for those on the tour.  The food was amazing, and the family-style seating made for easy conversation with other cyclists.

It seems the owner of Bali Bikes is doing really well.  His family compound is undergoing renovations, and when we were there, there were craftsmen working on the carving around the front gate.  These artists were making a fortune at $10/day.

A couple of days after our Bali Bikes tour, we headed back to Kuta, where we met up with Stu’s old pal from Costa Rica Chris Connelly.  Chris took us to Uluwatu to see the temple on the cliff, where both he and Stu had to wear a skirt

which I think Stu really enjoyed.

The temple was kind of meh.  But the views were spectacular.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Matt MacLean on June 12, 2011 at 8:13 pm

    You guys are so tannnnnnnnnnnnnnnned!

    Reply

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