Surakarta

Posted: July 25, 2016 in Mountain Bike Touring Central Java 2016
Tags: , ,

Days 7 & 8

I finally have a full ‘rest’ day on this trip. Rest meaning I don’t ride to another town, wake up later and basically have no plans, sort of, for this day.

Such days are important on extended bike tours, physically and mentally. Physically the body needs to rest from the routine of packing, eating, cycling and finding a place for the night. Mentally, there’s a break from looking at maps, navigation, reading the weather, getting lost, etc. Usually a rest day is called for every 3 days of the trip, but there are many variables in this set equation also.

Thankfully I have not been too stretched out on both aspects as my distances are shorter than normal for my bike trips. Yesterday’s 125 kms was a test whether I could still ride more than 100 kms and I’m glad I passed. Although I prefer not to ride in the dark for a late check in.

Today I am just going to chill, except that I have placemarked some  Surakarta or Solo bike shops in my phone. Let the games begin !

Click on the individual photos for my detailed comments.

Leaving Solo was a breeze. What was surprising was the thick fog that enveloped the city in the early dawn hours. It would have been great to ride through that but with only 70 kms to go, a 7 am start was not going to happen. I have cable tv and a hotel breakfast to attend to.

Sometimes I am all packed the previous night so that I don’t have to pack  too much in the morning. This was also a non event.

As there’s only one main highway between Solo and Jogja, I did not want to ride the same traffic choked road again. So I did my best to find a parallel country road. It was not easy as both are big cities in their own right and expanding into the countryside with each passing year. 65 kms isn’t vast in Java. At least, as always the towering peaks of Merapi and Merbabu loomed over the western horizon. They were omnipresent till the late afternoon clouds and haze enveloped them.

I think I got about 20 kms of pottering in the ricefields before the dreaded highway appeared. Well better 20 than nothing. Java is a heavily populated island. Even in the countryside there were lots of people, with the only saving grace being slower traffic on the smaller narrower roads.

I got into Jogja proper in very good time. Well there was a slow leak in the front tyre which had also seen better days. The sidewalls were tearing and so I found a shady spot away from zooming traffic. Tyre and tube were replaced together. Yes I carry a light foldable 1.5 inch spare just for moments like this.

A quick soak in the pool of the Indies Heritage Hotel before dinner was a wise choice as the following Saturday and Sunday meant only one thing. Weekend crowds at the hotel.

Tomorrow, I get reaquainted with Jogja, last visited in 2009 and 1997.

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