After 2 days of resting in the laid back atmosphere of Lovina Beach and the Northern Bali waterfalls, we packed up, loaded our bikes and got ready to hit the road again, direction: all the way West.
This wasn’t an easy ride. I had no sleep the previous night; blame is on the good coffee I had late in the evening. I was dodging accidents all along the way but still managed to cycle 46km going as far as Pemuteran. Then as soon as body has been cleaned and food has been ingested, I had the best night sleep, passing out as soon as my face touched the pillow.
Best thing about the day was that I met so many kids along the way, got so many smiles and smiles back, some goofy tongue-stickings too!
I haven’t cycled since I was 12 or 13, besides the one time my friend lent me his bike for a ride around a block in Casablanca a couple years ago. Thus, if you came and told me before this that I will be cycling 75km in one day I would have burst out laughing. But man, I did! And I enjoyed it so much! The plan was to get to Gilimanuk. But when we got there I just didn’t like the city vibe. It felt deserted and I couldn’t find a coffeeshop to sit, chill, and do some focused writing when I was on high energy. And well.. how do you expect me to stay in a city with no coffee potential?! So I hit the pedals and cycled all the way down to Negara.
Negara. I loved this city. Part because it sounds kind of Spanish (does it? or is it just because I am currently learning the language and projecting it on everything?) and part because it made me feel like a local. God knows how I hate feeling like a tourist! There are NO tourists around Negara, NONE! Everyone I approached here adressed me in Indonesian Bahasa. It was a bit confusing at first but also comforting. This was the most affordable region I visited in Bali.
The next day was a fun ride. We set out with a good rythm and high energy. We were making great progress and with the 75km of the day before, I got a little cocky thinking this is the day I cycle all the way down to Canggu; setting a new 9Okm record for myself. However nature came with a surprise: A storm. A very strong sudden storm on a road twist close to the sea. I was scared. Deeply genuinely scared. The wind started blowing strong and it got frightening real fast. The sea was tormented and the waves going crazy. We tried to keep going but it got dangerous. Big branches were flying off the trees onto the road, luckily missing us often, hitting us sometimes.
We knew we had to stop. So we rested in a wooden cabin by a little local shop until the storm calmed down a bit. We tried to drive again but the winds were still pushing me off road and it started raining. The wisest decision was to call it for the day. We pulled over by the Balian River and pushed the bike 500m back and then uphill and found a place to spend the night at Balian beach.
I felt content with the outcome of the day and I wouldn’t change it or ask for it to unfold differently. The storm resulted in us discovering a pretty little village tucked uphill behind the woods, and being hosted by the friendliest welcoming family that treated us with care and made us feel at home, spoiling us with tropical juices the minute we arrived and serving us the most delicious breakfast the next morning. This whole encounter and discovery of a new surf town wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for the storm. It was the rainbow after the storm (cheesy, I know!)
Mixed feelings. I didn’t want for this to be the last day. I wanted this adventure to last longer. But here we are, the last day, with all the feelings that such naming brings; the thrill to have completed the challenge and the sadness of watching it end.
We cycled to Tabanan and then had the weirdest lunch situation when we got served food without getting the chance to order. Then it turned out it contains pork. And we do not eat pork. I am glad I asked what kind of meat we had at hand. We finished eating in less than 5 minutes and went on a quest of a proper lunch. This turned out to be a quick stop at a mart, snacking on a granola bar and deciding to roll all the way back to Ubud.
This second part of the day was not easy for me. I was suffering very bad shoulder pain. It actually started from the first days of this adventure. I don’t know what caused it. The only explanation I could find is maybe there was something wrong regarding my position on the bike. It hurt all throughout the trip but it only got so bad when I rode long distances which was the case for this day.
What made up for the pain was that the last kilometres were through ricefields at the golden hour and it was sooo beautiful. I felt like I am the Liz* of my own story. I was making up films in my head of what it would look like if I stepped out of my body and watched from outside. Unfortunately, I can’t ride and film at the same time; that would have given me better footage from this journey. But I lived it. And it happened. And that is enough. And just like that it was over.
*A reference to ‘Eat, Pray, Love’. Sorry if you didn’t get it. Double sorry if you haven’t read the book / watched the movie.