The Spoked Traveller | ...connecting cyclists to local trails, food and adventures.
Trails and advice cycling around the world as solo female cyclist and adventurer
mountain bike, adventure travel, cycling travel, bike tours, outdoor, solo travel, female mountain biking, badass female cycling, female travellers, women travel, adventurous
home,paged,page-template,page-template-blog-large-image,page-template-blog-large-image-php,page,page-id-14869,paged-13,page-paged-13,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,qode-title-hidden,qode-theme-ver-10.1.1,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-5.0.1,vc_responsive

The Spoked Traveller

…connecting cyclists to local trails,

food and adventures.

It never occurred to me to leave my bike at home on my first overseas trip. Twenty years later, nothing has changed. Whether at home, or in a foreign country, riding makes me feel closer to people and places.

I created this site as a hub for all things cycling; it’s a celebration of bike culture. Where to travel next, how to travel, where to get advice, see some cool practical bike fashion, what to eat. I’ll share what I know; and I invite you to do the same.

Over the next few months keep checking in as I’ll be adding some new menu items.

See you on the trails. Melanie

Every time I walk to town, San Juan, about 10 minutes from my cabin on the beach, I pass a host of characters. Off to the side of the mud road, before turning onto the pavement, broken tube lights hang over a dozen pic nic tables. It's Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde-ish. The roof is made from corrugated metal and blue tarps. Illegal gambling. IMG_4021 Across the mud road: a dozen or more knee-high A-frames for roosters. Illegal cock fighting. I pass the gambling, roosters, and men who watch me intently, before turning the corner on to the paved road in front of the church. And there they are: two giant white slabs inscribed with the ten commandments. See the irony? Non? ten coomands

Ok, in Philippines now for two and a half weeks; another few weeks to go. Coming from Java Indonesia, where everyone is trying to sell you something, that is not the case here; however, walking through San Juan, my little town in the north, I feel like a celebrity. All eyes watch me because I'm the only white person. But, people smile, and wave. Some even blurt out a big 'hello ma'am!' Everyone calls me ma'am. I flew into Manila and then gum booted it out of there (chaos and unsafe) on an eight hour bus ride north to San Juan City to find my cabin on the beach. Arriving around 2am, I could only hear the waves crashing on the beach. Beautiful. IMG_3527   Fishing boats outside my cabin.       If I thought Indonesia was humid, this is an entirely new level of stickiness!

IMG_9823 IMG_9848 IMG_9879 IMG_9820Four weeks and five volcanos, 'bagged.' Gunung bagging is the term for hiking as many volcanos as possible. And, Indonesia has the most active volcanos in the world. I'm writing a story about them so I can't divulge too many juicy details. But, I will post pictures of the various sunsets and highlights.           Pura Besakih Temple at Agung--the beginning.   The crater rim.

This is a non-pictoral post; random thoughts during a morning run. "But you can stand outside and sweat," said Ellen, my Dutch buddy who thought I was nuts. The looks from locals said the same. Even before 6am it's sticky. But, running clears my head and grounds me. It's also a way to feel control over your surroundings when everything is new. All you need are shoes and the will to get out of bed.

After three weeks, I have a routine in Bali. After breakfast, I walk through my neighbourhood of Nyuh Kuning. Stepping over the daily Hindu offerings and incense, offeringsrefusing the local taxi operators, and watching the kids in uniforms hop on the back of motorbikes heading to school. I often stop for a coffee at Copper Cafe while ensuring monkeys don't land on my head from the nearby sanctuary. Sometimes for a treat I have the sweet black rice in palm sugar and yogurt. The nutty rice is soaked for a day then boiled for four hours. Then after a few hours of marking assignments, a girl's gotta work, I mosie into the centre of Ubud to people-watch and have a $10 massage. Here are a few highlights from my past few weeks. Cooking class: chicken with Balinese lemongrass sauce. Many local family-owned restaurants, called warungs, offer classes ($25 for about four or five hours!) Think fresh spices like turmeric, aromatic ginger, fresh bay leaf, lemongrass. (I had no idea how to cook with lemongrass before: smash it and then stick it in the water to boil with the chicken!) The chef kept telling us (my friend Virginia and daughter Angie visited): "thinner, chop thinner!" Virginia's hand was aching from chopping! The result is a paste rather than 'chopped' veggies. IMG_3033         "Indonesian food is simple, but the process is not simple," says Kadek Suwartini who owns d'waroeng

North of Kuta, where Aussie spring breakers vomit pink drinks and make regrettable decisions, is Ubud—a slightly less busy Balinese town. Driving in late at night, flowers and jasmine overtake the air. A few snaps of the town vibe...downtown and the rice field burbs. IMG_2580 IMG_9737               My room, in a villa called Loka Pala, is one of a few rooms around a courtyard pool, a hammock with candlelight and ricefields in the backyard. Opening the glass doors, a wee kitty saunters in at my ankles and purrs. Mom: send my stuff please. IMG_9747 IMG_9746 IMG_2545

I want more time in Hobart, Tasmania's main city in the south. For a few days, I drank world-class whisky, mountain biked the north south trail that skirts along Mount Wellington, walked through a Saturday food and craft market and met some amazing people... Trying on a vintage dress. Good idea for a Tassie winter. Lots of rain and fog. Reminds me of Vancouver in the winter. IMG_2424