Two weeks before our trip we booked the Bali Eco Cycling Tour as our main activity for Tuesday. Originally we were told to expect a a 7:30-7:45am pickup time. Since the tour also included breakfast, we skipped it at the hotel and sat in the lobby for our shuttle to arrive. And waited… and waited. Finally, I checked my email and there was a note about needing our room number so I emailed them the room number and to ask what was going on. The fast reply was that the pick-up time had changed to 8:15-8:30 and they had left a message with the hotel front desk. Who never told us. Why the tour company didn’t just send ME an email, I have no idea, but the bus did finally arrive at 8:30. We boarded the shuttle with another couple from our hotel and hit the road.
Our first stop was a Luwak Coffee plantation that was also growing other plants like vanilla and cocoa. We went through the huge coffee/tea sample again this time skipping the special coffee (10K higher here that the place we tried it). Prices in this shop were cheaper than the first place we visited but we thought their coffee was a little weaker so who knows.
roasting coffee beans; many options of flavored coffees
After another 40 minutes driving in the van we reached the edge of the crater and finally, breakfast. By now it was 10:45 and I was wishing we had just had some breakfast at our resort. Food was decent, but not that memorable– the banana and chocolate pancakes were okay and the veggie fried rice was pretty tasty. We had to ask for water as the only drinks available were a luke-warm Bali coffee and some sad looking lemongrass tea. The views of Mt Batur, however, were spectacular. It was a bit hazy so it was hard to get a good shot but the lava flow from the 1960s was clearly visible along with the cones from several eruptions over the last 100 years.
After breakfast (and sunblock application), we took the van to the bike pick-up point, about a 15 minute drive back toward Ubud. We picked out our bikes (mine from the short-person area), helmets, and water. Everyone tested their brakes, since the ride was almost entirely downhill after all, and then we were on our way. Thankfully I had a good bike, the seat was comfy and I never had to change gears on the entire ride, even on the brief uphill parts.
Our first stop was a traditional home compound (very different from the one I was in during my cooking class the day before) where we explored the family temple, along with some piglets and cows.
Next up was a quick walk through a rice field with a group harvesting rice… we were invited to jump and in and help but I opted to take photos instead.
After that our next stop was at a humongous banyan tree for a banana break. Along the way we managed several panoramic shots of rice paddies and palm trees.
One of the best things about the ride was experiencing the landscape through smell and sounds while not feeling like you were going to be run over by a motorbike.
All in all, it was about 25km of downhill riding, very easy, and the weather cooperated by affording us periods of cloudiness. Lunch at the family restaurant was very good. The smoked duck, chicken satay and tofu in peanut sauce were my favorites.
After paying and saying our goodbyes, it was a fairly quick trip, about 20 minutes, back to the hotel. We were back in our room just before 4pm. Time enough to relax around the pool a bit!