Bali Indonesia

Bicycling Bali-There are many temples in Bali, Indonesia


There are many temples in Bali.

It is easy to visit them while bicycling Bali as they are situated on the local, quiet roads. Local temples are like the community hall. It is a gathering place for celebration, worship, and social events among neighbors.


Bicycling Bali-Wooden figurines in Bali Indonesia


Hand Carved Wooden Figurines

We saw many of these figures while bicycling Bali. The Balinese decorate their yards with different styles of figurines but we never found out the meaning of these particular ones.


Bicycling Bali-Bali Indonesia Temple Celebration


Temple Celebration

Ladies prepare large platters of fresh fruit, vegetables and meat that they bring to the temples to feed the gods. As we were bicycling Bali, we would pass these ladies on the local back roads.


Bicycling Bali-Offerings to the gods Bali, Indonesia


Offerings to the gods

These carefully woven bamboo plates are filled with tiny bits of food and placed on the streets, in window sills and many small niches around the village. Just in case the gods are too busy to make it to the temple feast! Yet, dogs scarfed up the food as soon as the plates hit the ground!


Bicycling Bali-Funeral Procession Bali, Indonesia


Funeral Procession

Funerals are a community affair. The corpse will be placed inside the bull for burning at the cremation site. Tourists are encourage to participate in the celebrations.

“The people of Bali seemed to be skillful at balancing tourism with their cultural heritage. As tourists, we felt welcomed into their traditional ways; they encouraged us to absorb their lifestyle as they continued to strengthen their cultural touchstones.”


 Bicycling Bali-Cremation Ceremony Bali, Indonesia


Cremation Ceremony

The cremation releases the spirit into a new life. It was a joyous celebration with family and community. Vendors sold their wares as the bull continued to consume the body.


Bicycling Bali-Bali, Indonesia Typical lodging in pleasant gardens


Typical lodging in pleasant gardens

Homes and public lodging are treated equally. Beauty in one’s surroundings is an important part of living in harmony with the earth.



After four days preparation and recovery from jet lag, our journey tugged at us to get moving.

On Our Own-Bali

On Our Own-Bali

I spied our Specialized Rock Hopper Mountain bikes, as they stood in the corner of our room like proud steeds eager to challenge all comers and prove themselves the all-around champions they dreamed they could be. It was time to prepare them to meet their destiny. Born in 1996, they were shiny, scratch less, new, youthfully spirited, but barely tested. A few trial runs around the home track boasted their potential, but they were too quickly incarcerated in boxes, flown to Bali as part of our baggage, bumped and thrown about with careless abandon before being set free in our room. After such an arduous journey and before another could begin, they needed special attention.

        We chose Triple crank sets with granny gears to help my 53-year-old legs pump up all the hills in their future. Thumb and first finger shifters replaced the rotator style that under bumpy conditions and endless hours of riding aggravated my wrists. Though we would be traveling south to north, against the prevailing winds, we kept the mountain bike style handlebars so my back could remain upright and even added extensions that allowed us to change our hand and arm positions throughout long cycling days.

Then we padded the handlebars with black slip-on, extra thick foam grips and attached a bell to ring pedestrians out of harm’s way as well as adjustable handlebar mirrors to help us stay out of harm’s way.

I put the most important piece of equipment on next. I had bought a tie-on gel pad seat designed to pressure contour around individual buttocks; it provided protection for my sciatic nerve. Adjustable strap toe clips gave us the option of replacing worn shoes as needed and still permitted good foot to pedal contact. Mike bolted two water bottle racks on each down tube and a single heavy chain with internal lock system to the front fork. We adjusted the front and rear derailleur and bolted on the pannier racks. All that remained was to unpack our baggage and sort it into piles for re-packing into panniers. That became a day’s job by our adopted Bali time. 


We had hauled six pounds of spare parts and tools through South America and never needed to use them. For this trip, we decided to rely on the local’s inventiveness and take only three spare tubes and one spare tire for the both of us

(we rode Kevlar reinforced 2.75 road tires), a handful of nuts and bolts, wrenches, patch kit and pump. I took only rear panniers and a waterproof sea kayak bag for the rear rack. Mike took front panniers as well to balance the bigger load he would carry, but we were determined to keep our gear to the minimum. That meant no camping equipment. We would depend on finding guesthouses, hotels and restaurants.


I pared down my camera equipment to one body and lens system: my Canon A2 with Tamron 28-200mm zoom lens, an extender, a close up lens set, one polarizer, cloudy-bright, and neutral density filter. Fifty rolls of a mix of Sensia 100, 200, 400, and Velvia 50 in a waterproof bag weighted down one side of Mike’s front panniers. I did not expect to be able to buy such film along our route.

I pre-paid the development by buying mailers and sent the exposed film direct to Fuji in Phoenix. I have never lost a roll of film that I have sent OUT of the Third World though I would never again have unexposed film mailed IN. I rigged a waterproof hard case Pelican Camera box to the top of my front rack using bungee cords through holes I drilled in the wings of the box. I had instant access to my well-padded camera and could quickly remove the box at night. I also carried a Galen Rowell “Photoflex” soft-fanny pac for walking-around photography.


Travel guides, maps and language books posed the biggest weight problem. We needed information and language help for five different countries.

In South America, experience taught us that even in capital cities travel maps and books were not available. We did not want to chance the same occurrence in Asia so we purchased all the guides, phrase books and maps before leaving. They filled Mike’s other front pannier. Of course, while traveling, we found them in every major tourist enclave we visited! Two pairs of riding shorts (the baggy kind so as not to attract more attention than already was inevitable), two T-shirts and two sleeveless shirts for excessive humidity, a pair of long pants for modesty in Muslim areas, three pairs of socks, a pair of sandals, stiff sport shoes for pedaling, a bathing suit all fit into one rear pannier. If we needed more clothes or replacements, we would buy them along the way.

        Toilet paper (never leave home without it!) toothbrush, sunscreen and basic toiletries, vitamins and some electrolyte drinks to help me adjust to the heat, spare reading glasses, small gifts of cigarette lighters, needles, thread, buttons, handmade silk flowers to give in appreciation to people along the way, spare tubes and pannier rain covers all went into the other rear baggage.

We did not take raincoats for ourselves. We hoped the rain would be warm enough to appreciate. It was.

Traveler’s checks, visa card, passports, map and guidebook went into Mike’s front pelican box. We planned to wear a money belt only when walking about towns. It was too hot and sweaty to wear riding.


The piles disappeared off the bed into the bike baggage as planned. It was a light load as cycle touring goes. We carried no camping gear, no heavy clothes and minimal spare parts, but the books, film and mailers made up the difference. Mike’s bags weighed in at fifty pounds. Mine came to thirty.

        It was time. All the dreams, all the planning, the preparation had no place further to go. Our steeds, saddled and pawing anxiously, knew their momentous journey waited outside the gates.

Tomorrow the portals would open and a road would lead us somewhere we had never been; exultation, fear, amazement, uncertainty would tap us on the shoulder and demand we acknowledge their presence. Our steeds would take us so slowly along this road we would taste, smell and touch and be touched by its variety. We would smile and be smiled at, frown and be frowned at; we would learn something of ourselves and of others along the way. Let it begin.”


Excerpt from On Our Own A Bicycling Adventure in South East Asia

By Anne & Mike Poe


Bicycling Bali, Indonesia Bronze zylophone
Bicycling Bali- Indonesia Bakso
Bicycling Bali-passing by vegetable stand
Bicycling Bali-see many sacred monkeys
Bicycling Bali-we saw many men gathering crops by hand
Bicycling Bali-into crater of Batur Volcano
Bicycling Bali-Indonesia young family women
Bicycling Bali-Indonesia bicycle transportation
Bicycling Bali-Volcanoes
Bicycling Bali-One of the pleasures of bicycling Bali is meeting the locals
Bicycling Bali-Indonesia outdoor bathrooms
Bicycling Bali-Farmers in Bali use Oxen to plow the fields
Bicycling Bali-View verdant fields of rice while bicycling Bali
Bicycling Bali-Indonesia hiking

Mount Agung

Home to Besakih Temple


Bicycling Bali-Besakih Temple

Besakih Temple Bali Indonesia

 “Besakin Temple is a splendid residence for the gods. Sixty temples, slender black pagodas like fingers pointing to the heavens, rise towards the sky on successive terraces. The peak of Mount Agung stands dead center in the view. The ceremonial promenade draws a straight line through the complex to the peak. Worshiper’s eyes are instantly drawn upward.”

Bicycling Bali Indonesia-Besakih Temple

Street leading to Besakih Temple is lined with bamboo arches



“To the right of the promenade, on the lowest terrace level, a temple courtyard exploded with sound and color. Balinese dancers were telling the sixteen-hour long Hindu story of Ramayana (Prince Rama’s expedition to rescue his wife Siva from the kidnapper demon-prince Rawana). Dance in Bali is an expression of worship and

appeasement as well as entertainment. The Balinese believe the god Indra, Lord of the Heavens, mandated earthly dancing when he created heavenly nymphs to dance for the pleasure of the gods.”


Bicycling Bali Indonesia- Besakih Temple Dancer
Bicycling Bali-Temple dancer
Bicycling Bali-Besakih Temple puppeteer

“Less a story of good verses evil, the Ramayana highlights that to follow a path to virtue, one must be compassionate and humble. Rama, perceived as the ideal human, danced with nobility and refinement; a grace flowed in his body that brought peace to the soul. Rawana, wearing a furious red mask with angry glaring eyes, strutted with sharp angles and jerks, every step a threat. Arms rose up and out from the body; fingers curved back towards the wrist; even the raised foot with toes pointed upwards seemed double-jointed. Movement was wide, unhampered by gravity, charged with energy ~ especially the eyes, a distinct Balinese adaptation. Agape, darting back and forth, high and low, they burst with largeness. The dancers, lost in the intricate rhythms and movements, seemed inexhaustible. The gamelan orchestra swung from wild and clanging to light and ethereal. Worshipers milled about within the complex; tourists clung to the chest high rock surround like flies on a wall, eyes bulging, cameras clicking.”

Bicycling Bali Indonesia-Besakih Temple
Besakih Temple-Bicycling Bali Indonesia
Bicycling Bali Indonesia-Temple worshiper


“A bigger temple with bigger courtyard occupied the second level terrace. A high priest sat cross-legged in the shade of an elaborately carved pavilion. His sarong, blouse, and turban-like hat were white as fresh snow. A slightly off-white fragile beard drooped on his chest. Incense spiraled about his meditative figure as fog kisses the morning air.  He blessed a bowl of water with an upward wave of his hand through the incense and transformed the liquid’s worldly nature to holy. He rang a tiny silver bell in his left hand for each lotus blossom that he took from a tray on his right. The bell tinkled again as he dipped each blossom in the holy water. A mantra flowed from his lips like a slow meandering river. Pilgrims dipped flowers petals in the holy water and offered prayers to the gods. They stuck rice grains dipped in the holy water to their foreheads and around their eyes. The glue-like starch held the grains in place for days.”



We spent a month bicycling Bali

Enchanted by the people and the joyous culture, we savored each day as special…never hurrying…but flowing within the current of everyday Balinese life. It was to be the most peaceful experience of our entire journey. When we arrived in Gilimanuk and boarded the ferry to Java, the tenor of our trip changed from peaceful contemplation to challenging mayhem.


Bicycling Bali-Bali Bicycle Route Map


Our route Bicycling Bali


On Our Own A Bicycling Adventure in South East Asia

On Our Own A Bicycling Adventure in South East Asia

On Our Own A Bicycling Adventure in South East Asia

On Our Own A Bicycling Adventure in South East Asia




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