Bali Mountain X Deus Boys
The Deus Australia boys have just returned to where they came, taking with them an experience im sure they wont forget any time soon. Their final days upon the island were spent climbing and bombing the more mountainous regions of Bali.
Stefan, Piero and of course Theo returned with sore legs, happy faces and stories to tell…Stefan has spent most of his life upon the saddle of a bicycle, but had never experienced something quite like that of the Indonesian Mountains. This is Stefan’s account of his first trip to ‘The Island of the Gods.
Bali comes with its many stigmas. Being a split American/Australian national I see Bali through two different eyes. The American view, the distant remote far off island in the Indo archipelago filled with tropical fruit and epic barrels. The Australian point of view is the complete opposite, Bintang singlets, drunk expats puking in the gutter of Kuta and mushroom milkshakes taking you to places far from tropical. In this trip I saw something completely different form both of my preconceptions…
(story continues after the jump)
Piero and I were invited by our fellow Deus ex Machina alumni based in Bali to partake in their first ever serious bicycle event, Paths of Pain Jewels of Glory. It was a full weekend event that lived up to all the ins and outs of a true blue underground cycling event; epic races in sweltering heat, skid, trick and wheelie comps and of course more than your fair share of beer and tequila shots to make the early morning starts always interesting. If you licked our sweaty arms I am sure you would get a buzz.South East Asia at the moment is seeing a massive boom in the alternative single speed and fixed gear culture. I spoke to a friend from Chinelli the other day and they reckon South East Asia is the largest growing market in the globe at the moment for this style of bike and all they want is the latest and greatest. From the moment I got off the plane and jumped straight into a late night group ride I saw some of the most beautiful bikes I have ever seen. How the hell do you get a mint 1980’s vintage Poliagi in the middle of Bali.
The event was epic and was based around the amazing Deus Compound (Temple of Enthusiasm) located in beautiful Canggu, Bali. The building is filled with amazing people both Indo and expat that froth on everything from cold steel lugged track frames, surf resin fumes to benzine puking 200cc rocket ships that they are crafting by hand in their workshop.
Of the many characters we got the opportunity to hang out with two in particular. Theo, our semi-local Javanese hipster/cultural tour guide and Dustin Humphrey who is heading up operations at Deus Canggu. Dustin is known around the world for capturing surfing unlike any other photographer and documenting the nomadic surfing lifestyle to a T, so it is quite funny to see him frothing heavily on everything “Fixie”. After riding with him and all the locals all over the lower lying regions of Bali on one of the hottest days and in two feet of standing water you quickly realize he has a new hobby. He had this grandiose plan of taking us two domesticated western kids with our Javanese sidekick Theo into the depths of the Balinese volcanic mountains to see what Bali is actually all about. He even went as far as sending out his trusted right hand man Monty to scope out the biggest hill possible for us to bomb and see if he could crack us and lets just say Monty cracked us.
We got up super early and started climbing up this hill that went on for ages. Beautiful traditional houses to the left and right with epic views of terraced rice paddies and kids ripping on scooters off to class. At moments the hill was too steep to climb and we had to walk. Monty lead us to the biggest one of them all and Dustin in his professional Photog way said “ride it!”, “and again”. Easier said then done as this hill has no run out. It just kept dropping and dropping and dropping through turns named devils bend, it was hectic. Only one other time in my life on a bicycle have I felt like my life was threatened, but this experience blew that one away. We continued on from there into the epic cycle playground that was Bali, riding over decomposing bridges, helping the local duck herders heard their ducks, showing some local kids on their way to an afternoon Hindu temple sesh how to ride backwards and chilling out smoking clove cigarettes with the locals waiting for sunset by the stunning crater lake of Bedugal. Working with Dustin you learn quickly that the experience isn’t about the riding, but instead it is about where you are riding. Escaping the luxury of Canngu and getting into the hills where life has been frozen in time was an experience. You learn quickly the contentment of the Hindu way of life and it all slows down for just one second. The Balinese have one of the best smiles in the world, I think this is because they are genuinely a happy people and they get to live in such a beautiful place.
This was an unforgettable experience getting to meet and see something that I would have never expected. Seeing a cycling culture that I am so familiar with interpreted in such a passionate way by the local shredders, seeing the people up in the hills of Bali living on their wheel of life happily watching on as we cruise on through and getting to experience this all with some new amazing local friends will be something I will carry with me for a long time to come.