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The small milestones with my bicycle

I would rather get up early than to face the midday traffic and scorching sun.

The traffic is truly insane, scooters, trucks, taxis and minivans everywhere. Even though it is so insane, the Balinese are chilled drivers: no road rage, no breaking of any speed limits and they are really considerate when you are on bicycle. A hoot will just be a friendly warning that they are behind you. Crazy and insane, but manageable. I prefer the traffic over the sun. The sun is merciless!

I left the Sari Sauna at 6am – put on my two back panniers, fixed my drybag with a cargo net on the back, clipped on the handlebar bag and popped my speedometer on, which read 0.00km. Ready as ever!

I cycled along the crazy Jalan Nugurah Rai Bypass, happy as ever. I conquered the early morning traffic, missed the sun, stopped next to the gazillion scooters at the Red Lights and continued with the journey. Initially I thought it would be a short 10km ride, but no.

I arrived in Sanur after about 19km (did it in just over an hour…WHOOP!) and then cycled for another 2km to find a place to sleep. I checked in while all the other guests were still sleeping, took a shower and felt a major sense of accomplishment.

I know 19km is not that much, and I know the road was basically flat and effortless, but still…I made it to my first destination and couldn’t have been any happier! I know the future roads will be more hilly, I know that I’ll deposit liters and liters of sweat on my gloves and clothes, and I know that there will be times where I would have no other choice but to push “Koos the bicycle”, but I made it to my first destination, my first little milestone!

Happy and content!

During all the excitement from yesterday I think I had something a little bit off – maybe because of something I ate – this morning I had zero energy and had this shitty feeling in the pit of my stomach. The shitty feeling is a little bit better now and I don’t feel like a zombie anymore. I’ve heard rumors of some parasite in the water…but it is definitely NOT THAT. Positive thinking ALL THE WAY.

I love my bicycle…but there is one thing I hate. The bicycle looks kind of neat and fancy, wherever I go locals want to know how much I paid for the bicycle. Not loving these questions. Fancy things are such an easy target! I think I will cry when “Koos the Bicycle” gets his first scratch, but I’m kind of hoping that the bicycle will look all dusty and secondhand soon. It’s only been a few days, but I really love Koos and can’t imagine my life without him! But I’m thinking Positive all the way…nothing will happen to dear Koos. He will deliver me safe and sound to our next destination and I’ll deliver him safe and sound to our next destination. I’m pretty sure I will have some conversations with Koos on the road very soon…at least I’m talking to “Koos the bicycle” and not to myself.

But I love my bicycle and all his gear. It looks kind of bad-ass. People turn their heads and I think I must look like a homeless person with all my belongings strapped to the back. I couldn’t be more bothered about my appearance – sweaty, no make-up and old clothes. I can get used to this homeless-thing.

Since Sanur is East I’ll be getting up even earlier tomorrow morning for my ride to Ubud to avoid the rising sun. I’m now moving away from the coast to a higher area. Ubud is about 30 or 40km away and the terrain is apparently very hilly.

I’m not a fan of hills, but I’m ready for the hills and all the sweat along the way. I’m ready for another day of conquering the traffic and the heat, I’m ready to push myself beyond my own limits and I’m looking forward to the next little milestone!


Profile photo of Anje Rautenbach

The craziness and desire to travel started from a very young age. I went from the backseat of my parents' VW kombi to leaving South Africa in 2009 to explore South Korea and the rest of Asia.I picked up the travel bug quite fast - the unknown intrigued me and I got mesmerised by different smells, cultures, food, languages and adventures. I explored beautiful places around Asia, ate delicious Asian food, got food positioning countless times, collected Asian beer cans, did a two month cycle trip in Indonesia, fell in love with bicycle touring, studied Indonesian, taught English, ticked off items on my bucket list, added items to my bucket list, filled up a passport, met locals, lived like a local, CouchSurfed, got tattoos and developed a personal mantra to "dream, explore & discover".I tried to be professional, with a decent eight-to-five job in South Africa as a copy writer, but with a serious case of wanderlust, everlasting itchy feet and an adventurous heart to explore the unknown...I quit my job. My bicycle, panniers and passport are luring me away daily from the safe and familiar into a wandering journey, never a destination.

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