fashion people

car – free day

every second sunday one major street in jakarta is closed for motorized traffic. we started early at five in the morning. getting up at four, some coffee in the lobby, loading up the truck with equipment and merchandise and then cycling to the city centre. the area was closed for cars from six in the morning and it slowly filled up with pedestrians and cyclists.

everyone who wished and some who didn’t were painted in the indonesian colours.

there were all sort of groups with cruisers, fixed, high rides and one of javanese gentleman in traditional outfits with their trusty steeds.

after i got over the tiredness i went for a ride around the many stalls and stages. a relaxed atmosphere and truly open to everyone. once again a display of how broad the variety of people riding cycles is. go, go, go!!

equipment locations

not your usual cycle store

the next morning we went shopping. i only got half of the items on my list and the most important one, new brake pads, was sold out. we tried our luck at another rather exquisite place.

with a stylish interior…

and some machines to be the envy of them all.

campagnolo was present but not in form of brake pads. as it sometimes happens while out shopping, one doesn’t get what one is needing but rather something pretty.

fashion people

friday night ride

we started with a small group from b2w and met with other cyclists at a central building.

more and more cyclists joined, mostly decorated with blinking lights. the motto was ‘kelap kelips’ and almost everyone was illuminated like a christmas tree.

photographers on the way took pictures of the event.

drivers seemed to be already used to this weekly parade and with all that blinking lights we could be seen for miles. after the ride we met up at b2w where the evening went on with a tombola and refreshments for the riders.

locations people

ragunan zoo jakarta

the next day i met up with dorit and timor at a friends home close to the zoo. after a phone call a meeting with the people at the orangutan refuge was arranged. dorit and abi from the bike to work organization playing with one of the orangutan ladies.

then we met ulrike freifrau von mengden, better known as ibu ulla in indonesia, 88 years of age and quite a character. known for her commitment for the orangutans of indonesia, she is living on this small island within the zoo, a private house in the middle of the her beloved orangutans. talking to her was like a journey through history. people she knew personally which i just heard of through history books. the struggle to get the zoo to its current location, the political change over the decades not always for the better and the steady fight for sufficient funding. i feel really lucky to got a chance to talk to her and be able to get up close with those magnificent animals which makes one wonder with their expressions and behaviour so similar to those from humans.

since we were already there, we visited some other animals and saved the trip to komodo.

we went back to the house from mathis and had a lovely dinner. pasta with veg tomato sauce, some mangos we bought on our way back from the zoo and once again martabak. the evening went on with my first vine since months until i was in no condition to hop on the cycle. i was invited to sleep there and spent the next day there as well. timor fell ill the next day and so i explored the surroundings with dorit. as we said goodbye, it was agreed not for long, as we want to meet up further east again. when i finally arrived back at b2w i only had 5 minutes to get ready for the friday night bike ride.


bike to work

the organization moved to a bigger venue just recently and, after assigning office and meeting rooms, had still some space to spare. so they now offer a place to stay for travellers coming through jakarta. an indonesian couple was staying there as well who just finished their tour around the country. they are both deaf and so we couldn’t communicate a lot since sign language is yet another language on my list to learn. a photo of them taken on the top floor of the bike to work headquarters.

b2w was growing rapidly after a group of them was cycling to bali and met the president who took notice of the advocacy group. they’re slogan is to share the road rather than to rally against the motorized road users. as there are no bicycle lanes so far in jakarta, they advocate cycling until the number of cyclists reach a limit to eventually justify the investment in cycling lanes. during my stay i participated in two events. the friday night ride and on sunday the car-free day. they are very enthusiastic about their work which i admire, especially in a city where it is such hard work to get bicycles back on the streets. i arrived on a wednesday, the meeting day for the members to discuss future events and to delegate the work. i didn’t understand a lot but it seemed quite entertaining. since almost everyone is working on a voluntary basis, i think this is essential to keep up the motivation of everyone involved. after the meeting we took a picture in the lobby.

there is a post about my trip on their homepage in bahasa indonesia.

food people travel

bengkulu – manna – bintuhan

from bengkulu it is an amazing ride to the south. half of the time with view of the ocean and small villages with friendly people along the way.

after a whole day riding through the rain, my camera broke down once more. it seems a plastic bag is not enough protection in these conditions. so not a lot of photos from this wonderful ride, which is also part of my favourite routes. in manna i stopped at the omiko hotel and got information from the owner about my further route. what i didn’t know was that in manna is the last atm for miles. more on that later…

after leaving manna i was invited by marhen to stay at his house. you might have guessed, another english teacher. the camera was getting a little better…

we took a scooter ride to his school, played a round of basketball with his students and then went to the nearby beaches of linau and way hawang. nobody is pushing tourism here and it is not like those beaches are less beautiful then in other tourist centers around south east asia.

many rivers make their way through the bengkulu province towards the sea.

after stopping for lunch in bintuhan it started to rain. in the restaurant i met ria who assisted me with finding a place to stay. padang food was served. you sit down and wait until the food piles up in front of you, eat as much you want and only pay for that.

i checked into a guesthouse and got stranded for 3 days until it was time to get to jakarta. i was running low on money and had to hire an ojek, a motorcycle driver, to make a run back to an atm in manna. we started with black clouds above our heads and on our way back had to face heavy rain. another scooter ride i don’t want to repeat.

i took the bus to make it in time to meet up with dorit and timor, two friends from berlin. i arrived at the ferry port to java just before sunrise and had a slow but pleasant crossing. after another ride through the rain i arrived at the bike to work headquarters, my hosts for the following week in jakarta.

food people

circumnavigating traffic jams

i started with another culinary recommendation into the day and had lontong for breakfast. it gave enough energy to last through an off-road trip i had to take as the road was blocked with cars because of a market holding up the traffic.

i just followed the motorcycle drivers which drove through the fields, someones garden past laundry hanging out to dry and some flowerbeds to get back to the street after the traffic jam.

when i arrived in solok i felt it was about time for some serious hair trimming as it was getting warm below that thatch.

what the barber is holding up just looks a like a club, it is actually a massage tool for the neck. it offers two modes: off and jackhammer lite.


train expedition to sawah lunto

half past seven? no, half past six. bad start into a day. i mixed up the times and it seemed impossible to reach the train station at padang panjang  in time to get on the weekly train to sawah lunto. colonized by the dutch in 1888, it grew as a mining town until 1940 and the train insured profitable business. today the train goes just once a week and the old steam train was replaced by a diesel locomotive to reduce the costs.

a run to the bus stand seemed to get us closer to reach the train but our hopes were shattered as it took ages with the mini bus and on top we were dropped at a bus stand instead of the station, even though i managed to draw a quite convincing train i thought, to explain where we wanted to go. we were about to give up as two gentleman with motorcycles agreed to drop us off  at the next stop of the train. i don’t want to repeat that ride as we broke every record in breaking speed limits. but as we were nearing a railroad crossing we first heard and then saw the train as it was passing and we eventually reached the station of batutabal in time before the station master gave the signal for the departure.

the train ride was so great. sitting at the open sliding doors and watching the landscape ‘fly’ past. the wind in your face and the typical ratatat of the rails as soundtrack.

we just had two hours to spend in sawah lunto before the train was going back. again my path crossed with that of an english teacher who was running a school, wishing for foreigners to speak with the students. we had lunch together and then he showed us the way to the old mine. under the dutch, political prisoners were sent to work there and forced labour was part of the mining process in the early 20th century. the trip under the earth was not that exciting. with a guide explaining only in bahasa indonesia what might have been interesting, our outfits with the helmets and the sexy boots were the most entertaining part.

after the mine we had a quick look at the former canteen and kitchen complex with some old german equipment standing around.

‘roehrendampfkesselfabrik’ is the german word describing this monster oven. something like tube-steam-boiler-mill.

the train is an attraction for the people along the way and a playground for the children once it halts at a station.

the route along the singkarak lake.

this would be the same road i would take to leave bukittinggi towards solok.