The Travel Dispatch

How Not To Ride A Bike Through A Balinese Village – Part 2

This post was born 26 Nov, 2014 9 Comments
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If you’ve already read Part 1 of this epic saga, we had left off with me flailing about in the bushes trying to untangle myself from a bicycle. For those of you who live life on the edge and want to start halfway through this story, the gist of Part 1 is – I can’t ride a f****** bike.

So when my friends finally stopped laughing long enough to help me back up onto the devil’s seat, we continued on cruising the streets of our guide’s Balinese village and learned more about the daily lives of his community.

Everywhere we had been in Bali had multiple shrines along all the streets and backroads (imagine replacing every Starbucks in New York City with a shrine – then double it – that’ll give you an idea of how many). In Balinese culture, stone carving is an intricate skill passed down from generation to generation. We were able to watch a newly married couple shaving and shaping volcanic rock (maybe from Mount Batur) to form sacred shrines to sell to local families and communities.

Making Shrines in a Balinese Village in Bali
This is their job day in and day out.
Shrines in Bali, Indonesia
Finished shrines hot off the press.

As we moved on through more areas of the village, we passed schools with children out front waving erratically and yelling “hello! hello! hello!”. Some even ventured to the side of the road with hands outstretched to try and give us high fives (I wasn’t falling for that trick – I’d already fallen off my bike once).

We pedaled on past other community houses, shops, and shrines and ended up at a rather large communal temple. We weren’t able to enter since we weren’t a part of the Hindu community but we did stop for some photographs when someone pointed out a sign informing us that menstruating women were not aloud in the temple. Turns out that it makes them ‘impure’ and ‘unclean’ (as if we undergo this monthly torture by choice).

Hindu Temple in Bali
Rather imposing isn’t it?
Hindu Temple in a Balinese Village in Bali
And a tad scary, maybe?

After more temple spotting, we started to veer towards narrower streets that eventually turned to complete dirt roads. We had been on the bikes for quite a while now and my sides were starting to stitch up with cramps as I started panting harder and harder (I had run a half marathon 8 months before so had already checked off my yearly exercise). I mean I knew I was a bit out of shape but this seemed rather extreme. No one else was struggling.

When I mentioned something to my friend Tricia, she said, “Shift your gears.” I’m sorry – my what now? You mean I didn’t have to spend the whole ride feeling as though the past 2 years were devoted to continually rolling a stone up a hill? After I made that life saving adjustment, we moved on to the ‘agricultural’ part of the tour to something I had been stereotypically dying to do since reading Eat, Pray, Love – wander through the rice paddies.

Riding bikes through a Balinese Village in Bali, Indonesia
Passing through to the rice paddies. This time in the right gear.
Fruit grove in Bali, Indonesia
Fruit groves and for those who read Part 1 – more cocks.
Fruit grove in Bali, Indonesia
Yummy Indonesian fruit.

‘Favorite’ is probably the number one most overused word in the world so I won’t use it here but I thoroughly enjoyed this part of the tour as we were able to really connect with our environment and feel as though we were the only ones around (sounds super cheesy but it’s true).

We were able to come up close and personal with the locals while winding through paths that I’m not entirely sure were actually paths. I’m not going to type here and bore you by describing everything I saw (if I had a nickle for everytime I read the phrase ‘lush and vibrant’ in a blog post, I’d be writing this on my gold-leaf dusted computer) but rather let you see for yourself…

Rice fields in Bali, Indonesia
$100 to anyone who can guess how many times I fell on this particular narrow path.
Rice fields in Bali
And another $100 if you guess this one right too.
Riding a bike through rice fields in Bali
Ok so I voluntarily got on the ground for this shot.
Riding a bike through rice fields in Bali, Indonesia
This was just to prove that I was actually there.
Biking through Bali
And then the rain came (I do love me a good poncho).

After a few hours spent sloshing through villages, fields, irrigation systems, and plenty of mud, we came to our end point and were relegated back to the van (upon which I endured an uncomfortable ride thanks to my freshly bruised cycling rump).

The day was rounded out with a traditional Indonesian meal (and of course a cold beer) at a charming place overlooking (surprise surprise) a rice field.

View in Bali looking out over rice fields
Once again ladies and gentleman – my extremely poor photography skills.
Traditional Indonesia meal
Yummy. Food gods please take me back.

Luckily I survived this harrowing bike trek and surprised myself by telling my friends it was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had. Not to mention I was able to take home some free souvenirs – purple and black bruises from my many bumps and falls.

Ever ridden a bike in Bali? Let me know in the comments below!

Why Suffer From FOMO When You Don’t Have To?

Taking on the classic “round-the-world” route, the next Travel Dispatch journey kicks off Nov 15 as I travel east to west, looping the globe over a period of 12 months with $25,000. Now’s your chance to get in on it from the very beginning!

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9 Comments on "How Not To Ride A Bike Through A Balinese Village – Part 2"

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Sand In My Suitcase

We too enjoyed biking in Ubud, Bali. (And not to worry, George toppled over on his bike on the VERY narrow path through the rice fields.) Loads of fun though… even if the bikes were a bit rusty :-).

Anne Klien ( Meanne)

I love bike rides and seeing this beautiful place… Those photos are cool I feel that i want to be in that place. Those inticately designed shrines I want to see and yummy food I want to try 🙂

Ryan Biddulph

Hi Kristen,

Very cool recount!

We left Klebang Moding – about 15 minutes north of Ubud – about the day this post went live. We walked everywhere, but biking would have been fun too. Of course, “everywhere” means around the Balinese hood, as we did the motorbike into Ubud bit.

We’re heading back in a month. 4 month house sit in Jimabaran, woohoo!

Enjoy and thanks for sharing 🙂


bali prefab villa

Thanks for finally talking about > How Not To Ride A Bike Through A Balinese Village – Part 2 – I’m Not A Tourist, I Swear!
< Liked it!


Love your humour and gotta give it to you for going on a bike tour when it’s not one of your skills! I love this review, thanks for it!