Distance: 130.31 km
Average: 23.2 km/h
Total distance: 10646 km
I woke up feeling more excited about the day than I have been doing for a long time. This would be my first day cycling on Sumatra. Actually neither my road map, nor Google Maps showed any road from Tungkal to Jambi, but I thought there was supposed to be one. Asking the locals confirmed that there was a road, but opinions about the state of it were different. Someone said it was great, someone said it was uncycleable.
As it often goes in life, things are not as bad as expected. Based on the warnings I had got, I was pretty much expecting to cycle through a jungle on a dirt track without meeting people for 100 km. In reality there were plenty of small and charming villages with small shops to by food and drinks. As Indonesia has 250 million inhabitants it was perhaps I bit naive to expect to be left alone here. On the other hand the road was very bad at times. After 25 km I got my first flat tire which was somehow disappointing. I plan to cycle 2000 km in Indonesia, and a flat tire after every 25 km would make that very difficult. But, nothing is a bad that it isn’t good for something. While fixing the tire I had a nice chat with the beautiful girl taking care of the shop where I had borrowed a chair.
Back on the road, avoiding the potholes was like playing a computer game, but luckily no more flat tires. Later in the day the road got better and the sun came out. It was fantastic cycling through the small villages with smiling kids.
Before reaching Jambi I was hit by some rain. I decided to get the cycle cleaned before going to my hotel. The easiest way to do this is to stop at one of the several places that specialize in washing scooters. They are happy to give the bike a quick shower as well.
I cycled into Jambi with a big smile on my face. The Indonesian adventure is on!