On Thursday Shar and I went on the Bali Eco Cycling tour; if you are ever in Bali this is a must; it was a fantastic day trip showcasing the beautiful other side of Bali.
This was one of the first times in a long time that the picture I had in my head about Bali actually came true. The rice paddies we rode through and the villages we passed by were absolutely stunning and definitely what Bali really is.
Shar and I managed to drag our butts out of bed early for a 6.30am departure (few weeks since I’d been up that early!) and we were hanging out for the coffee at our first stop at a coffee plantation. Also on our tour was a Aussie family of 10 (there were more left at home in their villa) that were great company for the day and provided a few highlights…
At the coffee plantation we were able to view the civet cat – you know the animal that poos out coffee beans and then people pay a bucket full of money to drink a “cat” “poo” “cinno”! I didn’t succumb to drinking the cat coffee but a few others did – apparently its not too bad but the sludge in the bottom of the cup didn’t impress me.
After how many shots of coffee later – I can’t remember! – we were on our way to Mt. Batur and its crater lake, to enjoy breakfast and a stunning view of this volcano that last erupted about in 2000.
We then road to a small back road to pick out our wonderfully road worthy bikes and ride through the rural back roads of Bali. Sadly I did not pick a winner bike – about 1 k down the road the chain on my bike completely snapped!
Danna, one of the tour guides, told me I was riding too fast to be changing the gears – basically the bike and the gears were just stuffed. But another bike was brought to me and Danna and I caught up to the group at the next local village. We were able to go into the village and see the work they perform – the ladies at this particular village work with bamboo to create screens. We saw where they housed their pigs, their kitchen, their bedrooms and their small temple/shrine the middle of the village.
We spent about two hours riding through little villages and back roads and then down through the rice paddies. It was just the best experience. Mothers held their babies arms up and waved to us, little children wanted a high five, old men smiled and we cycled past. The cars and scooters tooted at us as they overtook us – not in rage like we use our horns, but to be polite and let us know they were coming around.
We rode our bikes down into the beautiful rice paddies and navigated our way along a tight cement path right between two crops and the water drains. The locals allowed us to come onto their fields and they showed how they removed the rice from the plant – all the work is done by hand, no machines and both men and women grow the rice.
Next a little drama broke the serenity! The grandfather of the family lost control of his bike and slide about 4 metres down the side of a cliff! It was a bit hairy there for a moment, wondering if he was actually okay – it was a long drop through the jungle. Thankfully his son in law was a doctor and was able to help. It appeared he was just battered, bruised and very bloody lucky! The handle bars on the bike where bend back towards the seat, so I think they took the full impact. So after he was buckled up in the van and given a couple of Bintangs it was back to riding through the countryside.