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Bali mtb ride - Batur Crater to Ubud

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By Lach - Posted on 09 April 2016

Did this ride with Infinity ( while in Bali last week. A full day out with transport from and to my hotel in Seminyak, full suspension bike hire (+ helmet), water, electrolyte drinks, balinese snacks and a buffet lunch at a crater-rim restaurant for 1.25 million rupees (about A$125). Two customers and a guide, plus a driver. My bike was a 26" Specialised FSR. A little disappointing because I had specifically gone with these guys when they said they could supply an XL sized 29er. The 26er was XL, but was a little cramped. Fortunately there wasn't too much uphill for this to be a problem.

The ride is in two stages (unless you are a fanatical hill climber). The first stage starts from the rim of the crater and goes down into the volcano to Lake Batur via some narrow bitumen, lots of local farm tracks (mainly scooter-generated, so much like single track, but fairly overgrown in places) and a long narrow winding dirt road through the most recent lava flow areas. Everything from rain forest to a moonscape. On one bit of very steep, badly rutted bitumen, my brakes started to fade and I had to stop to let them cool a bit before finishing that part of the descent. After 26 kms at the shores of Lake Batur, we met up with the car again and, having declined the option of riding back up to Kintamani for lunch, packed up the bikes into and onto the car and drove up to the rim again. Lunch was on a restaurant balcony with a magnificent view back into the crater, with the dirt road through the lava field clearly visible as a reminder of the morning's ride.

As we finished lunch, the fog and light rain rolled in. The bikes were rebuilt and we headed off down the outside of the volcano on some wet bitumen back roads, before darting off onto various narrow dirt roads and narrower paths between the various villages on the side of the volcano. Track quality ranged from good, quiet bitumen to muddy, rutted paths running between rice paddies. It was very much a part of Bali tourists would not normally see, with local villagers walking to or from market with loads carried on their heads, young school kids offering high fives as we rode past and sometimes slightly startled farmers stepping off their path to let us through with a smile. There were at least a dozen near misses with chickens and a few with meandering dogs. Eventually we rolled out onto Monkey Forest Rd at Ubud, before heading off into that forest and around some back streets and paths of Ubud to meet up again with our driver and car. The second stage was 37kms, making a total of 63 for the day - mostly downhill, with some short sharp pinch climbs thrown in to provide a bit more exercise.

The other customer was a Swedish bikeophile, Tomas, (he has 7 bikes) and he and our young guide from Infinity, Harry, set a pretty cracking pace. I was content to mostly ride in their wake, and it was funny at times to watch Harry having to work hard to overtake Tomas on some of the bitumen sections in time to signal the next turn off into a tiny laneway or farm access track. Apart from the water stops enforced by Harry, we moved pretty quickly most of the day, but it still ended up being over 10 hrs door to door. A larger and / or slower group (or one which elected to ride from the lake back up to Kintamani) would be getting back to Seminyak / Kuta in the dark.

Overall a great experience. Nothing like a day out in Rotorua or Canberra in terms of the track quality, but a terrific day of riding none-the-less.

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