Friday, May 11, 2012

TOUR de FLORES


There are few things I would like to leave with you if you want to do this ride. From Labuan Bajo to Larantuka via Trans Flores highway 724,1km. I was in the saddle for 39 hours 54 minutes and ascended 9.885 meters.
Each day take at least 3 litres of water and drink constantly. There are numerous little stalls to buy Aqua, but if you are running low, buy your Aqua at the next stall, do not wait until all your water is gone. The next stall could just be 30km away. You also need to take energy bars even if you are only riding 60 km. The stalls may have Aqua and hot bottles of Coke, Fanta and Sprite but they seldom have any energy food.

They do have biscuits and sometime packets of noodle. You can buy bananas from the locals. They come in all sizes and colors but they taste like bananas used to when I was a boy. They will have them hanging from something near the road. They sell them by the large hand, so if you only want a few, buy the whole lot and give the others to the kids. You can also buy pineapples but unless you get them to carve it up, they are not much use.



Travel from west to east, especially if you decide to go from Larantuka to Kupang West Timor. As the sun rises in the east, start early on most days so you maximize the amount of shade you encounter.
The roads are very good and you could in fact complete the ride on your carbon fiber road bike with skinny slicks. There is absolutely no reason to fit knobbly to a MTB - slicks will do fine.

If you like to take in the scenery, stop your bike, as you need to concentrate with the windy roads. The local bus and bemo drivers treat you with some respect and keep to their side of the road but beware of people driving cars or SUVs, as they really don't give a shit. They will be the ones that cut corners or who want to drive in the middle of the road.

Be brutal with the amount of gear you take as you have to drag it up nearly 10,000 meters.
Try to stay in the larger towns as you can get better meals and other goodies like Pocari Sweat and Potato chips. Even though Labuan Bajo to Ruteng was very hard, it was still better than staying at Lembor for the night. Unless you are very fit, do not try to make it from Ruteng to Bajawa in one day, as the last 39 km is mostly uphill when you are low on energy. It would be a challenging ride without carrying any gear.
If you get stuck and need a ride, don't panic, as there are passing bemos, cars and buses that will give you a lift, even if you have to pay for it.
Above all just relax and enjoy the ride; it may be the best ride you ever have.

                                         Smooth road


Derek Nicholson


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