Friday, January 21, 2011


For visitors arriving to Yogyakarta or Solo in Central Java, one of the "tourism routes" that visitors can explore is this route which the BJCC Tuarers had completed. One can do SOLO - BOYOLALI - SELO - BOROBUDUR which will include Gunung Merapi and the Borobudur heritage. Taking this route will take one from the lowland of Solo to Boyolali and gradually climb to Selo. Then, it will be a descend to Borobudur. In an automobile, those climbs and descends will not be felt. On a bicycle, it's a totally different experience.

If one starts from Jokjakarta, then one can do the opposite direction.

Passing towards Selo, one will gradually experience the cool weather. On a bicycle, one will be profusely sweating in this cool climate, cycling or pushing the bike. The reward however, will be the magnificent view of the two mountains - Mt Merapi (2,911m) and Mt Merbabu (3,141m). On the map above, Mt Merbabu sits on the north and Mt Merapi on the south. The town of Selo sits closer to the foothills of Mt Merbabu

So there we were on Day 2 at the hotel that Shambo booked for our first night. It was a Pondok but of the indah variety - hence called PONDOK INDAH. Tugged 2 to a room, my roomate for the entire trip would obviously be my co-cyclist HATIM. On this Day 2, he would be playing a very prominent role.

Today's destination would be a small town aptly named SELO. No one in our group could agree more with such a name. The ride to SELO was indeed SLOW, very SLOW. It was climbing all the way. To add to the excitement, we even passed GENTING along the way. As if SELO was not tough enough, we had to have GENTING (and not just one Genting) to remind us of the climb.

From the word go at the hotel Pondok Indah, the road started to climb, albeit gradually initially. We tucked in a hearty breakfast, packaged in the night stay. First stop was planned for Cepogo. There were  however many rest stops before Cepogo though Cepogo became our first official stop. . We battled against the heart rate and stopped very often to lower down the heart rate. However, for my co-cyclist and on a kubcai, it was just "a twist of the wrist". 

The rope brought along for the trip became a life-line for most of us, in perfect combination with Hatim, my co-cyclist.  For the first time I learned the art of being "pulled" up by a kubchai. Must confess I enjoyed the opportunity! 

Cheers to Hatim

Arriving Cepogo, we were ready for lunch. Pak Karto made a roaring lunch business with the hungry cyclists having a go at the Sate Sapi. The neighboring warung also enjoyed our presence with their mie bakso. 

Sapu bersih dish after dish
Mie Bakso never tasted so good
We had a good rest, a well-deserved one at Cepogo. The final ascend to Selo was even much slower. The gradient was much more a killer and having spent a fair bit of energy cycling to Cepogo, Selo became a tough battle of the heart-rate against the mind. We often hear the saying, "mind over matter" - if you do not mind, then it does not matter!

On a uphill cycling, it does matter. The "mind over matter" needs to be weighted carefully. At the age past a century, it would be wise to monitor the heart rate against the personal desire to achieve. In my case, the kubchai became a savior on several occasions. The younger ones however, decided to stretch just a little.
The first climb after Cepogo
The signage FLYING FOX sums up the gradient. The drop from here was good enough for an entrepreneur to set up the flying fox business. 

Shambo tackling the slope

Zaba overtaking the kupchai on the treacherous slope (or so it seems)
A well-deserved rest thereafter for Shambo and Zaba
From this stop at the Es Buah 99 warong, Mount Merapi awaits at the background. It signalled another climb and for some of us, the "twist of the wrist" kubchai came handy once again. 

The upward meandering road offered some excellent views of the mountain, the valleys and the activities of the village folks that dotted the road. Maize is planted in abundance, along with vegetables, just like in Cameron Highlands.

The stops for breathers also allowed for some photo shoots

Shambo with Merapi in the background covered in mist
I recalled Selo is about 50kms from Boyolali. It was a short distance by cycling distance. However, the ride was tough and I must pay tribute to Affendi who cycled all the way up to SELO. We gladly called the climb up to Selo as doing the "Affendi Way", which only Affendi succesfully completed. Ah, the heart of a younger man!

Arriving Selo was pure joy and pure "smiles". The cycling for the day was over. The weather was getting chilly as the mist descended. Mount Merapi appeared on and off with the intermittent mist blanketing the horizon.

I should have asked the caretaker why the chalet is called BUNGALOW TERSENYUM. 

An  "accidental smile" welcome for the tired muscles

"Smile" - one for the road (Bungalow Tersenyum in Selo)
We had a good (and well-earned) rest in the afternoon but had another program of visiting the famous Ketep Pass. Ketep Pass is off our route to Borobodur, which would be our route the following day. Hence, we had arranged for a van to bring us to Ketep Pass. Googling Ketep Pass one can read numerous articles on this tourist site.

The next itinerary had to be dinner. Cold weather always enhances the appetite and the beautiful setting sun was just the right ambience for a hearty dinner in a bamboo restaurant.

Apart from the roof, everything about the restaurant was bamboo. Err...the toilet and sink were also not bamboo. However, if you expect bamboo shoots as the restaurant's specialty, you would be disappointed.

But the BJ tuarers were certainly not disappointed with the choices of menu, neither with the bills. We gladly paid the dues and after dinner proceeded on to burn the high caloric intake at a Karaoke bar. Tonight, we could sleep late.

Tomorrow's journey would be a downhiller!


June Malik said...

sigh, can only jeles tahap gaban still ...

ARZ said...

Slow...slow....a step at a time. But too slow can't finish the race eh.

Is JB making you lethargic?

Dancing Ciken said...

stomach in sir! i pun jeles jugak :D