The idea’s now to avoid the coming ultra-high-density part of Java as we get closer to Jakarta.
This is a recent rider’s description of Java:
There is just too much traffic volume for the tiny two lane highways. It does not matter what road you take or direction there is gridlock traffic. Because of this the roads are extremely dangerous and full of drivers with a suicide wish.
Until now I was unaware that Indonesians had special vision because it seems that they can see or believe they can see around blind corners and over hills.
I cannot tell you how many hundreds of times I had someone driving directly into me while trying to pass lines of traffic. And because of this I knew it was only a matter of time before something bad could happen.
And then he got sideswiped and crashed. Fortunately no injuries.
Most Java ride reports read like this.
The next big hazard is the city of Bandung. It can day a whole day of complete misery trying to get through. Plus there’s the stopping, if you can, to let an overheated engine cool down. Just not worth it we think. So I endure a day of hard riding along this track to a small village just an hour (of what I’m hoping is zero traffic) out of Bandung, to sneak up on the city while it’s asleep
We arrive at our village exhausted, again. Wow, this island is a serious rite of passage.
We eat immediately we arrive, crash, and set the alarm for 1:30 am.
Our carefully set up GPS track is upset when we hit a ‘cars only’ section of road. We haven’t set up the settings on the new (replacement) Garmin to avoid toll roads, etc. So we bounce off one, double back and have to re-set the route at the side of the road
Fires are burning along the roadside. We stop at one for a water break. Obviously we wouldn’t do this anywhere in Latin America. Or Sumatra, coming up. More on that another time. But tonight we think we’ll take the risk. These guys are plenty surprised to see this rider stop and say ‘Hi !’ like a lost (which I’m not) idiot (which I may be) in the middle of the night, downtown Bandung
Our next idea was to take the long loop around Jakarta, despite being told two days ago the road is ‘bad’. There is a more direct line, but I’d rather ride a bad road than ride through Bogor, another Java traffic nightmare. If we can do this, we’ve avoided every big city other than Yogyakarta, which will be an accomplishment.
But all joking aside, there was also about 20 miles of the below stuff, endless small problems, some deepish mud, but never long stretches, and a further 30 miles of on-the-pegs completely broken road. It was a challenge because it was unrelenting. Lucinda doesn’t like going down in mud and so far, after accumulated miles of it together, hasn’t. In everything else we’ve crashed, but so far not mud. Mysterious
Then a few miles later we were away, onto some of that big twin concrete, down to the ocean and along the coastline to our next destination.
We took two days to do some planning. Sumatra is big, much bigger than Java. Also, after Indonesia, things get complicated and we needed to get ahead of the curve, even though I’ve been working on aspects of it for a couple of months.
First road shot. An hour after this we were stuck in 10 miles of gridlock, riding sidewalks, splitting lanes. But this is a bottleneck. Also, this is the main highway that runs the length of Sumatra on the east side. We won’t be riding this road after today