The Heroes Of Enduro took a flight to BROMO, Indonesia for a fun and “relaxed” ride as requested by a few friends from another cycling group. They wanted to experience riding like the locals as well as enjoying the food, culture and local attractions hence there was no mainstream travel and tour trip. Then again, what is mainstream when it comes to the Heroes of Enduro?
Travelers come from all over to come to Indonesia for its cheap flights, cheap shopping, and pretty great food.
Though that may be true, did you know that they have a pretty impressive list of mountain biking activities where you can tailor your tour according to your need? Months before the trip, they liaised with the MTB tour guide on the type of trails, riding style and environment that we were looking for to experience. The main attraction was to ride from the top of the Tengger Caldera down to the Mt Bromo and riding through the Savanna, Sand Sea, Mt Batok and up to Mount Bromo, which is still an active volcano, last eruption in November 2015.
Mount Bromo is in Bromo-Semeru-Tengger National Park, a massive 800sq km, the largest volcanic region in the province. There are 3 ways to get to the park. Tourists usually come from the main entrance in the northwest, Probolinggo. We chose the southeast entrance Ngadas-Jemplang, the most difficult entrance and then took a backcountry road and single trail down overseeing the majestic view of Sand Sea aka Pasir Berbisik, Mt Batok and Mt Bromo.
The group stayed in a nice homestay in a small village, Gubug Klakah, at Poncokusumo district. The village of Gubug Klakah is one of the apple producing villages in Indonesia. Harvested apples are processed into various types of food, some of which are apple chips, apple nests, and apple cider. Staying at Ibu Lilis Homestay of apparently known as Bu’ Lis Homestay was an experience as one of the riders, and avid cook got to cook along and share recipes with Ibu Lis.
“ We were served with pure Indonesia local food and it was awesome. Finger licking good especially the sambal. The owner of the homestay Ibu Lis also taught me how to cook her signature sambal. About 7 dishes of java and sunda origins were prepared by Ibu Lis daily in order to serve our big group of ever-hungry riders” – Liza Tahir.
The first-day ride covered the Gubug Klakah-Belung-Masjid Tiban trails which offer a nice cross country rides in the apple farm, paddy field, sugar cane, vegetable farm and motocross trail which took us to a river crossing and secluded waterfall visited only by the local villagers. It was a good warm-up ride to prepare the group for the second and third-day rides in the Mt Bromo area.
On the second day, we took an hour drive up from Gubug Klakah to Jemplang via Ngadas. This park entrance was the most difficult because the road is only 3m-4m wide with a gradient up to 30 degrees and a lot of corners to negotiate with other local vehicles transporting their local produce.
The drive was as breathtaking as the view of the farmers farming on the steep terraces farms between the volcanic ridges. The MTB ride started from Jemplang at 2,300 meters above sea level via a hardpacked volcanic terrain of Mt Ijen, where eye protection i.e. goggles and riding glasses were required as the tiny sands would get in your eyes during high speed descending.
Riding down from an old volcanic crater of Tengger to Mt Bromo, a new volcano formed inside Tengger’s larger and more ancient caldera, was a unique experience. The original plan to ride up Mt Bromo to the staircase was hampered at the last 1.5km as the dry ground condition loosen the sand.
They opted for the horseback riding up Mt Bromo with their MTB full attires! After peering inside the smoking Mt Bromo volcano and inhaling the sulfur and dust, the group upload the bikes and drive-thru Sea of Sand, or locally known as Pasir Berbisik as one heard the whispering sounds of the dry sand blown by the wind.
To add to the adventure, the group camped inside the volcanic park, nearby Teletubbies hills. The night was memorable because they were not the usual campers, except one of 2 of them, so the sight of millions of stars and Milky Way sitting next to a warmth of fire and sipping coffee was a novelty.
The third day we got an early start. After subuh prayers and breakfast, the group headed up to Penanjakan viewpoint and slipped into the offroad trails to the best-secluded lookout spot of Bromo-Semeru-Tengger. This was where Kurt Sorge, Red Bull Rampage champion, filmed his “Trail Eruption: Seeking Mount Bromo” with Polygon Bikes.
If you haven’t seen this video, drop what you are doing and google the video! After the jaw-dropping views and endless photo actions at the 2,700m elevation’s spot, the group descended down to New Dingklik trail that was very narrow, steep. Those adrenaline junkies ride with the front pack closely drafting behind the speedy local guide, imagining them as Kurt Sorge. The newbie, on the other hand, enjoyed the trail leisurely and hike-and-bike when the trail got technical and gnarly.
The group spent the rest of the trips riding at other local attractions namely Tutur Welang Bikepark, Jajang and Lereng Semeru’s trails.