Mountain biking is something I was very fond of 25 years ago and my Marin and Bridgestone brought me much joy and to many off beaten places around Malaysia, Australia, Singapore and the Riaus. It has been largely neglected so when Chris Wee suggested a trip to Mt Bromo Indonesia some months back, I put my hand up immediately not knowing what I have signed up for.
It was fun planning for it and we had the privilege to have Sonny, an MTB expert from Malang join us for a lunch some time back to stitch a possible route together.
The 6 brave souls who joined me are all "legends" in their own regard and well respected cyclists or adventure sportsmen. We had AMG Ironman George Lim, Uncle KC with his 1200cc twin piston legs, BMW Christoph from Germany, Chris Wee the MTB guru and photographer par excellence, "Johnny" Wong (Joni dives and paraglides not too long ago), a very tough and determined adventurette and yours truly taking up the tail. Of course, we had the late Bro Paul who joined us in spirit too.
Our Jetstar flights were booked months earlier to Surabaya and with a deal of less that US$150 return with 25kg check in luggage, this is as good as it gets. Joni couldn't wait and scooted off 2 weeks early for secret training and met us with Sonny at Juanda International Airport, with 2 vans and the Igen Cycling Club Ute.
It took us 5 hours, braving heavy traffic and curvy, steep roads to get to the top of Bromo at the village of Cemoro Lawang. With the screaming engines of the Suzuki APV Vans struggling up the narrow mountain roads, I can only imagine and shuddered at what laid before us.
The cold 10c mountain air was refreshing and the first thing we did was to assemble our bikes of course. I discovered I had the skinniest tires - 1.75 rear and 2.0 front, and being fat is not a bad thing here. Everyone was in the highest of spirits despite our travel fatigue but a nice hot dinner set things right in no time. The Bromo Permai Hotel has an atmosphere of a ski resort with only one exception - everyone smokes here. Everyone! Also, volcanic ash and sand is the "snow" and we will experience lots of that tomorrow.
It was to be an early start the next day but we were all too excited to sleep. It took us a whole day to get here but just looking at the night sky filled with a million twinkling stars, shivering a little in the thin cold air with tranquil silence 2100m up in the mountains, I knew this was going to be no ordinary adventure ride.
*Blog title is somewhat named after the trip "Thin Air & Fat Tires" by Chris Wee...