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Diary of the World Record: Day67

  • By Vin Cox

14th April. 59.5 miles cycled.

[1 mile already taken off for getting lost and back-tracking as per Guinness World Records rules]

Hotel too posh… Expensive and very small portions [in restaurant]. Gave them some stick at dinner for tiny fish and chips.

Roads busier, dirtier, but smoother than Sumatra… Main roads anyway.  I tried some back roads and got very wet in some deep muddy puddles filling the many potholes.  Have to stay on the main roads.

Traffic has attitude here; there’s some ‘drive by horn’ pulling out, but mainly right of way is a matter of faith – whoever believes the strongest goes through!

Java more expensive than Sumatra, or maybe it’s just this bit.

‘Donkin Dohnuts’ for lunch and free wifi, but email won’t send.

59.5mi @ 14.3mph

Sumatra and Java are two islands of the same country – Indonesia.  It’s a big country with four times as many people as the UK, but no-where near as wealthy (average person makes about a tenth of a UK worker).

I was encouraged to see these bicycle rickshaws lined up - for a race I thought?

I was encouraged to see these bicycle rickshaws lined up – for a race perhaps?

I’d arrived in Jakarta, capitol of Java and all Indonesia.  By the time I’d got the bike ready to ride it was already early afternoon, so I just wanted lunch and then to get some miles done and settle in to the new road conditions.  The city is a beast, and I had to cross it because I’d arrived into the airport on the west and needed to get out the east.  Cities like this have signs which would lead cyclists onto motorways, and hundreds of intersections which therefore all require good luck, judgement, and occasionally checking the maps.  They also have crazy traffic and jams.  Even by the end of the day, I only cleared Jakarta in name, I’d yet to see any break in the built environment for nature.

A guy on a moped said hello at a traffic light in the evening.  He had a guitar and made friendly conversation.  When I told him I was looking for a hotel he was pleased and proud to guide me to the nearest nice one he knew of.  That’s reliably how I find myself at expensive rather than adequate hotels, but I do enjoy letting people help me.

That was my diary from precisely four years ago.  I’m writing up each day on it’s fourth anniversary as a motivation to get this long overdue task done.  These days I’m to be found spending my working days at a brewery, my leisure time cycling, and my family time with my wife and baby daughter.  I hope this entertains, informs, or motivates you.