Although the island is more known for their long stretch of white sand and extreme water sports, Bali is also a paradise for cyclists who want to explore its natural beauty while peddling their bikes. In fact, plenty of amazing routes are available for new and seasoned cyclists. Many said you will only be able to experience the heart of Bali if you are cycling in your own time, instead of riding the local transports available in the island.
In 2014, a cyclist documented his journey from the streets of Jakarta to the rice terraces of Bali to promote the organization AICR (American Institute for Cancer Research). He loved his experience in Bali than in Jakarta, as the latter has more busy and traffic roads. The island offered him an experience he will never forget, saying that Bali comes with amazing stretch of rice terraces, volcanic slopes, and challenging terrain – perfect for cyclists preparing for more tougher cycling routes in the future.
But, not everyone is given that much time to truly know the place. First-time visitors get overwhelmed easily by the plenty of changes and differences of Bali from their homeland. Here’s a helpful guide for cyclist planning to embark on this one-of-a-kind cycling journey to Bali.
Top cycling route
Where to go? What to see? These are the common questions cyclist would want to ask before embarking on any journey. Although Bali is known for their long stretch of white beach, the island has more to offer than their lovely waters. One of the must-visit cycling routes in Bali is the Kintamani Mountains, where you will need to cycle from the plateau of Kintamani to Pejeng which is around 40km of ground for 4 hours. It’s an exciting route as it is known as ‘Mountain Volcano Cycling’ adventure for many, as the road tracks go downhill and uphill. In here, you will see the beautiful nature situation in Bali’s rural area and the amazing Batur Lake (see image above).
A popular route you must try is the Ubud cycling route. It has the same experience as the Kintamani Mountain route, less the cold weather. In here, cyclists are more focused on viewing the rural scene in Ubud and the fresh air from the long lane of rice fields. Religious ceremonies are also common here, and tourists can even participate in the celebration. Ubud also offers travellers stunning valleys, where craftsmen make art accessories that they sell in the city. It’s best to start very early morning in your cycling journey to Ubud as you will be able to enjoy the free pollution and get more out of this experience.
- Crime: Bali is a paradise on its own, where foreign travellers would love to stay for good. But, is it safe to travel to this island? The overall crime rate in Bali is low. However, petty crimes are still apparent in the area, particularly motorcycle thefts and snatching of bags. If you will be going to Kuta area, be safe from violent crimes, such as mugging and street robbery. It matters to be alert at all times.
- Weather & Natural Disaster: Humid weather is also something you should think about first. Indonesia, in general, is a very tropical country, where it can be extremely hot in summer or totally wet during the rainy season. Since it is located in the “Ring of Fire,” many natural disasters are also apparent from earthquakes to tsunamis and volcanic eruptions – so, be wary of any government notice before you leave.
- Health: Take the necessary medication and vaccination before you leave. Bali is prone to many tropical health issues, such as measles, tetanus, malaria, typhoid and Hepatitis A. In case of any medical emergency, a guide for tourists going to Bali suggests calling the 118 hotline for ambulance or 112 for all other emergencies. The resource also said that the Balinese are always ready to help, so do not hesitate to seek assistance when necessary.
If you won’t be travelling with your bike, there are available bicycle rentals in the area. In fact, you will see plenty of them on any Balinese town offering bicycles for rent. The most common area to get great bikes will be in the major tourist spots such as Kuta, Ubud, Sanur, Legian, and Nusa Dua. Be street smart and learn how to barter for the right price. Before opting to get a bike, check the brakes and wheels before departing the area (safety first!). In general, you shouldn’t pay over $5 per day for a bike rental.
Another important tip is to get enough information about the cycling routes, especially if you will be going on a self-guided tour. Ask for a road map from your hotel’s front desk, which usually comes with top tourist places you can visit. Expect busy roads in the city and tourist areas, but the roads get quite fast here.
Lastly, learn to share the road with vehicles. Human-powered transportation is less common here, thus less respected by motor vehicles. Country roads have less motor traffic, while the major cities get chaotic with less room for cyclists. Be cautious when turning, if you do not want to be in any troubles with the locals.