The whole touring team arrived at the branch office of Bank Mandiri in Bintuni town at around 7 p.m. We spent the night sitting and watching the nightlife of the small town at the front stairs of the Bank Mandiri office. We had to unload the bicycles and reassemble them again. Mr. Sugeng, Mr. Bowo and Mr. Eko checked the readiness of the bikes. Some bicycles were tuned up for the syncronization of the front and rear gears - chain positioning. For dinner, we had nasi bungkus from Rumah Makan padang.
After having breakfast and receiving technical directions from Bpk. Ignatius Bowo, Bpk. Eko Hadi and Bpk. Abdul Rauf, the participants of the Bintuni - Manokwari cycling tour were released by Vice Regent of Bintuni Bpk. Haji Akuba Kaitam from the front parking lot of Bank Mandiri office. This first leg was the toughest part of the tour. When we are out of the Bintuni town, the road condition changed from the asphalt pavement to hardened gravel road. Every time a car or truck passed us, dust flew from behind covering all of us mountain bikers. The slopes began to appear when we had spent one hour riding our mountain bikes. Most often the slopes were too steep for us. We had to get off our bikes and push them up. The stamina of the bikers was worsened by the hot weather condition. Finally, we arrived in Pintu Angin. On the left of us was row of high cliff covered with tropical rainforest whereas on the right of as was a steep slope down directly to the sea. We set up camp at the beach at the Agung Mulia basecamp. We spent one night here. Our dinner was instant noodles, rice and some coffee. The distance that we reach on this first leg was around 94 kilometers.
This was the second leg of our tour. The next morning we continued our mountain biking trip from Gunung Botak. At the top of the Gunung Botak, the road was muddy slowing our speed for a few minutes. Fortunately, the muddy road was not long. The asphalt pavement appeared again after we had paddled our bikes for two or three hundred meters. Gunung Botak gave us a little downhill track. We also passed Momi Waren before entering District Ransiki. We stopped at a traditional market there and drank some water. I bought a can of Coca Cola sprite. We saw bush fire there. The weather was really hot. We stopped at a school. Some activists from Indonesian Red Cross who supported this tour gave hand washing lesson to kindergarden school children. They also gave soap and toothpaste to these nice children. In the middle of the day, we arrived in Ransiki for lunch. We ate rice and fried fish. The front part of my left shoe was broken. To fix it, I went to the nearby market to buy Castol Glue. Then we continued our cycling trip again. This time, we climbed the Gunung Ular (Snake Mountain). On both sides of the road, big trees from the tropical rainforest cover the slope of the the mountain. The zigzag route leading up to the top of the mountain was a hard route to us. However when we had been at its top, the next zigzag asphalt pavement down to the flat terrain was really a great bonus to us. We arrived in Oransbari before dark. The bikers and the supporting team stayed at Griya Alit for one night. Our team prepared grilled fish, and cooked some vegetables for us. We had very delicious meal that night. The distance achieved by the bikers for cycling the whole day was 107 km.
The next morning, we left Oransbari at 7.30 a.m. for Warkapi beach. The road condition was very good. We passed by several villages whose agricultural produce were bananas, cacao beans and ampo (an alcoholic drink from the sap of aren palm tree). We stopped at the beach at the foot of Mount Syoribo. After taking a rest for a few hours and eating lunch which were rice, instant noodles and canned beef, we rode our mountain bikes again climbing Mount Syoribo and Mount Acemo. These were the last two mountains that we had to overcome before arriving in Maruni Batu Kapur. This third leg was 53.5 kilometers. Tomorrow, we would enter Manokwari. Here, below the Maruni bridge we take a bath. Water that was flowing through the Maruni river was really fresh. It cleaned our skins which were covered by dust.
20 May 2011
Today we entered Manokwari city. Our final destination was the governor office of the West Papua province. It was located near the ship harbor. We arrived at 5 p.m. accompanied by tens of other bikers who were coming from all cycling communities in this city. Vice Governor of West Papua province Mr. Rahimin Katjong received us. This last leg was 27 kilometers. The whole distance that we covered from Bintuni to Manokwari was 281.5 kilometers. It was not only far but also dangerous - a exhausting trip. But it is a beautiful cycling route. Along the way we met villagers who smiled and encouraged us to reach the finish line. This is really an unforgetable experience.
If you are interested in cycling from Bintuni to Manokwari, you can do that in a group of at least five cyclists. Please, contact me via my email firstname.lastname@example.org. I will arrange and organize your trip and fully support your tour until the finish line. written by Charles Roring
all photos in this article were supplied by Mr. Adi Bowo (16 - 20 May 2011)