We’re flying to Perth tonight, we’ve very excited. We were able to pay for excess baggage in advance, so we’ll have no nasty surprises this time with baggage fees. Although it’s not a country usually associated with cool weather, we are really looking forward to getting to Australia in the winter for a break from the intense heat. While we planned this cycle trip across Europe and Asia to avoid winter at high altitude and monsoons, we didn’t anticipate that by far the hardest part of this journey would be coping with riding in intense heat every single day. That, and living without cheese.
We weren’t looking forward to riding 15km across Jakarta to a bike shop to get our bikes boxed for the flight, but yesterday our friend Aristi (an Indonesian cycle tourer) drove her car all the way to our hotel to collect us and our bikes and drove us to the bike shop. What a legend.
We’ve had a busy few days in Jakarta. We’ve washed the bikes, eaten at Japanese/Malaysian/Italian/American/Lebanese restaurants, met up with Aristi – a cyclist we met in Sumatra running the female charity bike ride, sent a parcel to Sydney (spare tyre, water filter, etc), had a massage, stocked up on some supplies ready for the next (expensive) continent, spent an evening drinking many free beers from the hotel owner who wanted to celebrate our ride from London to Jakarta, bought bike helmets to wear in Oz, tried in vain to buy a kindle, cleaned all our gear in order to get smoothly through strict Australian customs, watched hours of music videos from the comfort of our bed in our AC hotel room, bought new cycle clothes to replace the rags we’ve been wearing, and made some new friends in the backpackers street bars.
We’re thrilled to have arrived in Jakarta – our Asian cycling odyssey is over! Jakarta spans an area of 700km so it was quite a buzz to cycle into the busy centre.
Some stats from riding in Asia:
Days = 272
Distance = 9,790km
Countries = 8
Longest day = 126km
Fastest speed = 55km/hr
Punctures = 4 (all Matt’s)
Antibiotics taken = 3 (all in India)
Weight lost = 12kg (all Matt)
Saddles = 5
Biggest headache = riding in temperatures over 30 degrees every single day
Biggest mistake = sticking with my hard leather saddle for so long
Glad we’d bought = Keen’s sandles, so comfortable
Bike problems = snapped 2 seat post bolts, snapped gear cable, broken star nut
Best day riding = through the Iranian desert, with stunning scenery, little traffic and cars pulling over to give us peaches, pistachios, bread
Worst day riding = Thailand car/truck crash that narrowly missed us and passengers injured
Favourite country to cycle = Iran – great roads and mountain/desert scenery and ancient cities but mostly because of the generosity and hospitality of the lovely Iranians
Least favourite country to cycle = India – the roads are mayhem, everyone beeps with deafening air-horns and we both got sick several times