Sunday, February 1, 2015

Bali Diary: Ubud Bike Tour

*written on Nov. 30, 2014
        Bali, Indonesia

I don't know how to ride a bike. Okay, I know I used to say that I do. I used to think that being able to balance on a generic bike and take few strides without falling counts as riding a bike. Today I realized that my skill is far below the acceptable level so I'm retracting my claim.

Today, though, on a fine morning in Ubud's countryside, I was forced to learn how to ride a bike, a real one, and properly, at that. Or else, I would be left behind by 3 Europeans, 1 Australian and my Filipina friend. Also, in the tour group behind us, a ten-year old boy is biking on his own. So when our guide offered me a tandem bike, there was no way I would ride on that and let someone else do the work for me. 

So off we went. 

The ride started calmly. The view was beautiful, with farm lands all green on both sides of the road. I was starting to get the rhythm when, suddenly, it rained. Heavily. We had to stop to wear raincoats. Then we were well on our way again. We biked for 3 hours, under the rain, cycling through steep downhills, saying hi back to kids who shout hello when we pass by. Someone even shouted, Welcome to Bali! I wasn't doing it very well, to be honest. I was swerving randomly at some parts and I carried my bike uphill because I didn't know how to change gears. I didn't even know bike had gears! But the point is, I was doing it.

It was such a surreal experience. I am in Bali, on a mountain bike, treading these slopes like I'm not scared, at all. I kept telling myself those words. It was liberating. I think that is the perfect word to describe the experience: liberating. Free to bask in nature's beauty, free to do something I don't need to but want to. Free of my fear.

The calm before the storm

Girls from the bike tour.
Holland, Australia and Philippines. World without strangers.

I came here to learn about Bali. I didn't know Bali was waiting to teach me some lessons, too. 

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