Friday, 6 January 2012

Bali Biker…Chop What Ya Got!

As we were supposed to be having a holiday and a break from everything, I wasn't allowed to take my camera with me on this trip.  I usually holiday with about 30-50kg of camera equipment and it is at constant risk of being damaged, stolen etc. Not to mention I get obsessed about getting to locations, dangerous places/situations to get that shot!  So I was banned from taking any, since the lil lady was paying for the trip I had to oblige so we both could have a relaxing time.

So as with most of the shots in this section of the blog they are shot with my Iphone.  I didn't take as many photos as I normally would or get some of the thing I would love to have recorded.

Bali isn't coping so well with the influx of people, and the roads certainly aren't handling the extra vehicles. 40% of Bali's population are transient tourists. A lot of these come from indonesia and bring their cars by ferry.  The locals have 3 types of vehicle, Mini Van for work as a personal tour driver, Taxis (legit 20% & scammers 80%) and the majority are what they refer to as motorbikes (to us they would be scooters).  Not much of the two wheeled transport is over 200cc most much less.  Also not much is manual, most of the scooters are automatic and having ridden both in their traffic, see good reason why.  I had a regular cramp in my left hand from pulling the clutch while riding the Tiger.

There are some cool shed built creations to be seen and some marvellous feats defying all  laws of physics to saty in one piece!  I wonder if you could get away with riding one of these to school under the motorised push bike regs???

Here are some pics pinched from the net to show what some of the contraptions are like as I didn't manage to snap any.
There are no road rules as we know them.  Basic rules:
1.  If a car hits a bike, the car is at fault
2. If you run into the back of a vehicle you are at fault. This leads to people pulling onto the road in front of you without looking.
Typical intersection everyone just creeps in until you can navigate out the other side.
Law is only 2 people allowed on a bike. This doesn't appear to be enforced on the locals.

They carry anything and everything on these babies!  A regular sight was a 6ft A frame ladder sitting between rider & pillion,, pointing straight up.

I saw these amazing Rat Bike Vespas with side cars these things were so low the would regularly shoot sparks from the undercarriage. The photos below are the closest I can find from Bali that are even close to what I saw.  These are way more conservative than the ones I saw.  Really wish I had gotten a shot of them.  They always passed going the opposite direction and fast!

Petrol is cheap at approx $0.50c/Litre and usually sold in Absolute Vodka bottles.  As the scooters only have about a 2l tank it tends to go a long way.  Locals warned me however the stuff sold on the side of the road everywhere can often not be pure and bad for the engine.  Still it is sold on every block and people use it, partially because with the traffic you might have no choice.

Back to my photos………...
One of the locals…..This is the one of the biggest and closest I have ever been one on of these monsters.  It was well over 3m long and about the same distance away.  I have seen bigger possibly in Africa but they were always a good safe distance from being able to snack on me.  Not sure if this is a Croc which are local to the region or an Alligator?? Has kind of a rounded snout. 

Being the wet season, and having been soaked to the bone we decided to copy the locals and get some of these cheap ponchos. They are also good bike covers to keep the rain off the seat. I must say they don't breath and with the hot weather and humidity I reakon I got just as wet under it from sweat as I would have most of the time in the rain.  I ended up only wearing it for the monsoons.

Also it was quite liberating riding in just a T-shirt and runners, much more enjoyable than in full safety gear.  I don't know how  guys ride in thongs though. I had a raw toe where the gear shift had worn the skin right through in one day. Bandaid & a sock fixed it.  Also open face helmets, speed & heavy rain are not a good combo……Stinging Blindness it how I would describe it!

What the miss'us wore on the bike…Some time shorter skirts, she had fun using me as a shield to get of the bike so she didn't give a free show. Her feet didn't touch the ground and I had to lean the bike over for her to get off.

NYE Gatorade for me Smirnoff for her!

Ubud, first bike. Automatic Scooter. Great for traffic jams, and can store a lot of shopping between your feet, a bit wobbly at slow speeds and not really quick.

Upgrade to Honda Tiger.  Very torquey, quick of the mark. Was great for cutting up the foot path, gutter hopping. Did have a tendency to get airborne as potholes were little jump ramps for it. I also was known to raise the front wheel and do the occasional unexpected mono.  I felt much more comfortable and at home on the bike as opposed to the scooter.  In the constant gridlock, weave, nudge, stop, push shove style of traffic I did mis the Auto though.

In Bali when traffic gets too heavy and you can't ride on the wrong side of the road into on coming traffic or split lanes. Where do yo go?? Well all the bikes just join the pedestrians and ride down the foot path.

In amongst all the chaos and craziness I only saw one accident and that was a girl who tried to go around a stationary car too sharply and tipped her self over into traffic. The major difference about here and there is not the lack of rules, but the awareness of what is going on around you constantly.  Here we live in such a nanny state, bound by so many rules and structure. People switch off, go into auto pilot and stick between the white marks and move forward with tunnel vision. Often totally oblivious to all other vehicles around them certainly M.Bikes.  As such we also have road rage, how dare someone interrupt my daydream state, or trespass on my perceived ownership of the road around me.  Over there it is much more courteous as everyone pushes in and jostles about. The smaller vehicles weave through and the larger ones make space or wait for them to pass, before ploding along. No selfish attitude why should you move while I'm stuck here with no where to go.  I have seen cars in bumper to bumper traffic here is Aus see  bike in the mirror splitting lanes and nudge over to block the bike from passing….Why?  We are less protected & exposed to the elements, while your safe in a cage, with a climate controls and favourite tunes blaring.  Simple because society deems you be selfish and only see that someone might be gaining an advantage you don't have.

So despite the what appears to be chaos on the roads. I actually felt safer riding in Bali with no leathers, proper helmet etc than I do here in Aust with full gear and strict rules.

Lots of old VW combis, 60's stlye fibreglass dune buggies and little jeeps.  

Street Art…….Reminded me of our Husky.

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