Travelsonabike2 Indonesia This Day 1st-March-2012

Small island in the sea

This week’s Travelsonabike2 bicycle touring on this day post comes from Indonesia on the 1st-March-2012, and I’m in Indonesia again this week on my way to Australia. It was one of the toughest days of the whole trip.

Thursday, 1st March 2012. Manna to Krui 118 miles.

It was a long day today, thirteen hours peddling and sixteen hours on the road. And not by choice. The day started okay, and I even thought I might have a short day. The roads were being kind to me, with only gentle hills. It was midday, and I’d stopped for something to eat. While eating my food, I noticed a road sign. Krui was only 100km or 60 miles away. That’s good. I thought that might be my overnight stop, and with only sixty miles to go, I’d be there by six o’clock, not quite the short day I’d imagined, but hey, six o’clock is okay.

It started to rain around two this afternoon, which was okay. It cooled me down. But as the rain began, so did the hills. And they got steep, very steep! So steep that I had trouble keeping my front wheel on the ground. And that’s with my front panniers weighing nearly twenty pounds. I had to lean forward over my handlebars just to keep the wheel on the asphalt. It was ridiculously steep.

Not Just Me

Even the trucks couldn’t make it up the hill on their own, and there were plenty of trucks stopped with rocks wedged under their wheels. Preventing them from rolling back down the hill. There was quite a tailback of traffic. The lorries were even doubling up to get to the top of the climb. One lorry would get to the top of the hill. Unhitch his trailer and go back down the hill. He would then hook up to the following lorry in the queue, and together, they’d crawl up the hill.

At the top of the hill, the trucks would part, and the leading lorry would hitch his trailer back up and be on his way. The other truck would then unhitch his load and head back down the hill to help the next truck in line. And so on. I watched this on my many stops as I drudged up this ridiculously steep hill. I certainly couldn’t see it when I was cycling. I was too busy trying to keep my front wheel on the ground.

I struggled past the stopped lorries, zig-zagging up the hill to lessen the incline. As I cycled past, the lorries stopped on the hill some would offer me water. One even offered me a cigarette! I’m not too sure how long the hill was, but it was getting dark by the time I’d reached the top.

Smiling children
Happy children taken in a cafe a few days earlier
Finally

It got dark very quickly, as it does in this part of the World. The road had also deteriorated and was now full of potholes. And in the dark, they’re hard to spot. That slowed me right down. Coming down one hill, I missed a pothole, or rather I didn’t. I hit it with such force my rear panniers came off and bounced across the road. I hope my laptop is okay. That was in one of the panniers. I guess I’ll find out the next time I try to use it.

I passed through several villages but no accommodation. Everybody kept saying Krui. There was no choice; I’d have to push on. Camping was out of the question; there wasn’t anywhere to pitch a tent. I was either surrounded by thick jungle or rice fields. And I couldn’t just stop and lay down somewhere it was still raining; the roads resembled rivers more than roads. There was no choice but to push on.

It’s Cold Now

With all this rain, I was soaked through and felt pretty cold. I found a café that was open and decided to stop, on the off chance that they might have some accommodation. Or at least get some hot food to warm up. I got the same reply from the café as I’d got from everywhere else. I needed to get to Krui for somewhere to stop. Still, at least I got something to warm me up. I had a bowl of soup and two or three cups of coffee. I hoped the café owner would pity me and let me sleep in his café. He didn’t. So I set off once more into the dark of night, with the rain still coming down.

I reached Krui just before eleven o’clock and managed to find a hotel. Being so late, nowhere was open, so I had to break into my emergency beer supply tonight. A bottle I’d carried since Malaysia! It’s been a long day; I’m soaked through and worn out but still smiling. Cheers.

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Garry McGivern’s February-2024 Update

Blue sky over a beach with the tide out

February-2024 Garry McGivern’s regular monthly update. What a wet month. I had hoped to go away again in February, but the weather has been pretty awful; it seems to have been constantly raining. I’ve also been waiting for another MRI scan after I was told that I needed one fairly urgently. Not that urgent, then. I’m still waiting. Although I knew that if it was that urgent, I would have been sent straight to the hospital. But when somebody says urgent, you tend to think it will happen quite quickly.

You may remember that at the end of last month, I returned home from Kent for a batch of hospital appointments. Well, one of the three went really well, the other two not so good. My first appointment was for my hip, which now shows no signs of infection and hasn’t come loose. And I could have been discharged from orthopaedics. But Mr Wakeling, my surgeon, said he would still like to keep me on but doesn’t need to see me for a couple of years. Unless, of course, I have a problem.

Mr Wakeling was, however, extremely worried about my neck and back (even though it’s not his department) and is still convinced that I should be talking to a neurosurgeon. But that’s in the hands of the MSK team, who I’m currently under. And they are the ones who decide when I see a neurosurgeon.

Mr Wakeling has also asked me to keep him informed of any updates on my back/neck, which he doesn’t need to. But how good is that, showing a personal interest in my well-being away from his field of expertise. What a lovely chap and a great example of the wonderful people who work in the NHS.

It’s Complicated

My next appointment was with the MSK team, which didn’t go quite so well. After talking to Will, who I was there to see and giving him a list of my latest symptoms, he was unsure what to do. And went and got his boss. There then followed a debate about what was worse and what was causing my new symptoms. Was it my neck, or was it my lower back? After much discussion, they decided that they needed me to have an urgent MRI scan. Which, as I’ve already said, hasn’t happened.

My third hospital appointment didn’t happen. It got cancelled. It was only a follow-up to my carpal tunnel op, which to me seems fine. Apart from it hasn’t made any difference. But that was one of the objectives of having the operation. They wanted to see if the symptoms in my hand were coming from a pinched nerve in my wrist or my neck. That’ll be my neck, then!

Man standing by a flooded field
The fields have all flooded again
Looking Forward

I had planned to go away for a few days at the end of February after finding a campsite in the New Forest that was open. But after looking at the weather forecast, I decided to give it a miss. It was forecast to rain. And as I look out my window today, the 29th, it’s pouring down.

Let’s hope that the weather improves, especially as March is when many campsites open up for the season. Although, I’ve just noticed that Grange Farm on the Isle of Wight has put their opening date back because everywhere is so wet.

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If you want to find out if I’m away touring at the moment and check my location, visit the Where’s Garry web page.

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Travelsonabike2 Indonesia This Day 23rd-February-2012

A house in the mountains

This week’s Travelsonabike2 bicycle touring on this day post comes from Indonesia on the 23rd-February-2012, and I’ve nearly reached Australia, my final destination on this tour. At this time, anyway.

Thursday, 23rd February 2012. Pangkulan Kotabaru to Bukittinggi. 48 miles.

Blimey, what a noisy place the jungle is at night. And where was my air con!? I struggled to sleep last night, and I can usually sleep through anything. But the noise and heat were just too much. But it was nice to be camping again. I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed it.

I was up at first light and packed the tent away. Disappointingly, though, I had to pack it away wet. It had been very wet overnight. It’s currently draped around my hotel room, drying out. I don’t need the extra weight of a soggy tent with all the hills around here. Besides, who knows when I’ll get to use it again.

Some things just work out for the best. I’m so glad I got persuaded to stop last night. Right from the start this morning, I was peddling uphill. And as I was told yesterday, it was a 17km climb, which took me three hours. And that was on fresh legs. God knows how long it would have taken me last night. There was also no sign of a hotel for several hours afterwards.

I’m In The Southern Hemisphere

I’ve now crossed the Equator. Well, I think it was the Equator. There was a white ball beside the road, and knowing the Equator was somewhere around here, I took that as the marker.

I got invited to a girl’s house today, ding dong. Not for that. As I was cycling along, two girls pulled up alongside me on their scooters. After stopping and talking to them, I was persuaded to follow them to their house, where I drank coffee with one of the girl’s dads and his friends. I spent a good hour chatting to them before setting off once more. The people are so friendly and welcoming here. I like Indonesia.

Man abd girl by a bicycle
With Any
Back To The Hills

After leaving Any (that is the correct spelling of her name) and her dad, I had another 30km climb. This is worse than Laos. I now remembered why I was dithering so much the other day about which route to take, wondering which one had the least hills. I’d like to think I made the right choice. But I suppose I’ll never know.

I reached Bukittinggi, saw a hotel, and debated whether or not to cycle on. I had hoped to get a bit further today. After all, it was only another sixty miles to the next city, Padang. Sixty miles! What was I thinking about? It was already 4 o’clock, and the last fifty miles hadn’t been exactly easy. In the end, I stopped and had a short day.

There have been plenty of monkeys around today, particularly when I was near the Equator. There has also been an alarming amount of mosquitoes. I hope my anti-malaria tablets work.

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If you want to find out if Garry’s away touring at the moment and check his location, visit the Where’s Garry web page.

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Travelsonabike2 England This Day 16th-February-2019

A bridge over water with a boat in the background

This week’s Travelsonabike2 bicycle touring on this day post comes from England on the 16th-February-2019, and this is my first time away on my bike since recovering from sepsis the year before.

Saturday, 16th February 2019. Salisbury to Bognor Regis. 78 miles.

I didn’t get very far today before I suffered yet another puncture. I’d only gone about 2 miles. I’ll order a new tyre first thing tomorrow morning. I’m too tired tonight.

It’s been a good ride today. It’s felt like I’ve been going downhill all day, which, if you look at a map, it is: Salisbury is above Bognor Regis, right?!?

I’ve been a good boy today and have stuck to cycle routes all day, route 24, Salisbury to Eastleigh. From Eastleigh, route 23 took me to Southampton, which followed the river Itchen. It was then the familiar route 2 Southampton to Bognor Regis. I even went on the ‘Pink Ferry” from Hamble to Warsash, and the tide was out. Thankfully, I never slipped over on the slippery stones getting off the ferry. That might not have ended too well.

Miniature steam train
Miniature steam train in Eastleigh

It’s been a good few days away, getting around and seeing some of my regular haunts. I’ve really enjoyed myself. And I hope to do a few more trips before I have to go back into hospital to have this hip replaced permanently.

Subscribe to my blog and follow me as I travel around on my bike. Plus, as a subscriber, you’ll be among the first to receive news and updates on future tours. And, of course, you can always follow me on social media: Facebook, X, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest. I’m also on Flickr, where photographs from all my tours are.

If you want to find out if Garry’s away touring at the moment and check his location, visit the Where’s Garry web page.

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