Bali is a biker’s dream. Experiences seldom available to motorized travelers: being surrounded by a kaleidoscope of colors and the infectious rhythms of the gamelan gong orchestra in the midst of a procession; the warmth of the tropical sun tempered by a refreshing mountain breeze; a bewildering succession of fragrances while passing through a village; the explosion of flavor and relief after biting into a juicy mango following a grueling hill climb, await the cyclist on the roads of Bali.
Unfortunately, the road itself can turn this dream into a nightmare. Whether on major highways, where gross vehicular weight is often the sole determinant of right-of-way, or city streets, where a cyclist must contend with motorcycles darting blindly from all sides and mangy dogs barking at his heels, the Balinese “garden paradise” more resembles a jungle.
However, any jungle has paths, which a traveler can follow safely. Bali’s dense network of village roads and rice-field shortcuts provide numerous options for riding between any two points of interest. This website recommends those routes most suitable for cycling: having little traffic, but in good condition and with sufficient roadsigns and landmarks to permit a visitor to navigate easily.
This being Bali, the level of comfort and service you will enjoy off the bike is entirely your own choice. Elsewhere, long-distance touring generally involves sleeping in a tent, eating out of cans, and wearing the same clothes for a week. In Bali, a cyclist on the tightest budget can sleep in a comfortable bed, dine in a good restaurant, and even have a change of clothes sent ahead to the next destination. Whether spending lavishly or frugally, the level of hospitality is exceptional. Sweat-streaked bikers stumbling into the lobby of a luxury resort (if only to ask directions) can still expect a warm welcome and a cold face towel, while cyclists wolfing down nasi goreng in roadside stall might be given an extra helping in appreciation of their efforts.