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Sunday 24 May
Poh, Indonesia

Luwuk – Poh (at night)

When our two bike boxes slid down the baggage delivery ramp we could hardly believe that we were all reunited in the place we were supposed to be: outside Luwuk, near the end of a mountainous peninsula far from everywhere.

We went out the back of the airport, hacked open the bike boxes, and enthusiastically started screwing together all the bits to put our bikes together.

The boxes had been loaded on at least 5 planes and there was one problem. Felix’s derailleur hanger was bent, probably because he had dismantled so much of his bike to fit it in the box. But he had a spare hanger, a piece of oddly shaped metal which is quite difficult to procure and is good for only one thing. So Felix got to feel extremely satisfied and the cycle tour was not derailed.

We attracted quite an audience as the airport shut down for the day. People were asking questions about our bikes, and they were bemused by our level of excitement in the dark. We went down to the dark car park to do some test rides and make sure everything was working. Some guys on motorbikes wanted to help and tried to get us to agree to meet them in Luwuk, about 10 km away. This would have been very helpful except that we were itching to ride further.

Finally, we put all our rubbish in the bin, left the bike boxes standing in a corner, switched on our lights, and got onto the road. Unbelievably, we were doing a cycle tour in Sulawesi. The road was smooth and the lights of the town shimmered over the water. The temperature was perfect.

After a few kilometres we arrived in Luwuk and went into a restaurant to eat some tasty goat sate and goat curry. Because we were serious about riding into the night, I had some "kopi Luwuk", which was of course normal coffee and not kopi luwak.

We kept going along the coast to Biak, looking for the road to turn left and climb over the narrowest point on the peninsula to get to the north coast. It was a steep climb, and it was a lot easier to do it without the sun blazing down on us. We tried to conserve lights because we would need them to speed down the other side. So we climbed in the dark, reflections on the water the only reminder of the coastline we were leaving behind.

All climbs come to an end and this one was only about 600 m high. Down at the other end, we kept going for a while and then in some dark town at around midnight we decided to stop. We spoke to a man who was in the street and asked him if there was a place we could stay. He said “follow me” and jumped on his motor bike. We followed him around the corner to a place that was called a warung but was really a large open room with a few benches. The man woke up the inhabitants, they stumbled out of bed and invited us to sleep there, and we did.

57.79 km, average 16.2 km/h

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Sulawesi Cycle Tour 2015

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