Cycling through Bali’s lush grenery in Bali bike park...
Paradise beaches, tropical heat and dream waves – those are probably the first pictures you have when you think about Bali. However, Bali is much more than just white sandy beaches and bikinis. If you go to the inland regions, you will discover a whole new world where active volcanoes, rice fields and lush forest become incredible playgrounds for the adrenaline seekers. And that is what Austrian Alexander Springenschmidt, creator of the Bali Bike Park and successful entrepreneur, had fully understood. Two years ago, he opened the first and only bike park in Bali. Originally established for the expert riders, Bali Bike Park also gives a sensational experience for beginners and those who are simply curious to discover downhill, a discipline that is closer to an extreme sport than to an easy ride!
Heart of Bedugul
Armed with my heart and basic cycling skills, I decided to give up my beach time for a day full of adventure. Bali Bike Park, here I come! My day began early in the morning at an area next to Chillhouse, a meeting place for surfers that Alexander created when Canggu was still undiscovered. With the help of the staff and Victor, my boyfriend who loves to ride a bike in France, I chose my bike and my helmet. Elbow pads and kneepads are optional but highly recommended, even for the most audacious. Considering I had no idea what to expect, I decided to wear all of them for safety. I mean, we never know, right?
Then, we moved further to reach the basecamp located in the heart of Bedugul. During our journey, we went beyond the touristic areas and discovered the Balinese daily life – we encountered farmers and school children with smiles you can only find in Bali. Lye, my guide for the journey, is proud of “his” bike park which is a windfall for local employment with close to 20 employees – Bali Bike Park has workers to handle the maintenance of the tracks, shuttle services and of course, marketing and sales. Mahesa Pratama, the co-managing partner of Bali Bike Park, defined the park as “a way to incite people to work together, federated by this project.”
Down the Hill
After a quick briefing, it was time for me to go up in one of the pick-up trucks that brought me to the starting point of the tracks, around 1400 meters above the sea level. The way up was an experience on its own, and already I was enjoying big thrills – and I could see the importance of being fully equipped!
Before I knew it, I had no chance to escape: I must go down on my bike. Bali Bike Park offers seven different tracks for riders to tumble down the 200 meters drop. The two blue tracks are the easiest level, then there are four red and one black tracks. There are also jumps for the experienced riders and the hotheads. Judging by my boyfriend’s look, we decided to start with the “Berm line” and the “Hipsta”, the two smooth and family- friendly tracks... as it says on paper. That morning, due to the rainy season, the soil was slippery, and I literally spent my first run on my bottom, enjoying memorable cold sweat and an astonishing quantity of mud on my trousers.
Determined to have the best experience, I tried again. This time, I was more confident and getting used to my bike. I was beginning to feel the ground. Slowly but surely, I could feel the excitement and started to understand why Victor left me every summer for a ride week in the French Alps to enjoy some thrilling bike riding.
While Lye and Victor were racing in the red tracks, I decided to take a break to catch my breath and captured some nice photos. I realized that everyone went at their own pace and the staff was available to make the day a the real custom-made experience. After a well-deserved one hour break and against all expectation, I was ready to try again – and this time, I was fully energized as I was surrounded by kids in the pick-up area who were even more excited than I was! Bali Bike Park is open to all – there is no age limit and no fun limit. However, the guides are more advisers than professors.
By the time I reached the finish line, I defi nitely had a lot of fun – the sensation of speed and adrenaline rush were truly exhilarating. I was tired but happy. It was 2 p.m. already, and it was time for the bike park to close for the day. After a full day of new experience, I was ready to head down to one of Bali’s beautiful beaches again.
After riding with Bali Bike Park, I could understand more clearly what Victor, Lye and Mahesa have been telling me; that riding a bike gives you a sensational feeling of being free, even more so when you’re surrounded by nature. You feel the pleasure of the present moment and enjoy some adrenaline surge and speed. Yes, I agree, but please, let my legs and arms rest for a few days before I get on another bike again. I feel carried away by the sensations and... aches. This is maybe the price to pay to participate in this new amazing experience!
By Anaïs Amans and Victor Jeoffre
Contributor : Anaïs Amans
Magazine issue > Action&Attraction