Searching for the Elusive "Perfect Day" in Bali

Mar 14, 2018
by Fuji Bikes  

Words by Jimmy Smith
Photography by Ben Matthews

Back in middle school, I had this writing assignment where we were asked to describe our “Perfect Day.” Naturally, I outlined a day of shredding mountain bikes all the way down to the beach, where bikes would be swapped for surfboards and I'd finish out the day surfing into the sunset.

That idea has been kicking around in my head ever since. Once I heard about the Bali Bike Park and the Chillhouse, the wheels in my head started turning and I knew where I had to go to turn that middle school writing assignment, my perfect day, into a reality.

After an overly enthusiastic phone call to a friend, tickets were hastily purchased and we were off starting our adventure on what seemed like the very next day. After 24 hours of travel on some very cozy Hello Kitty-themed planes, we landed in Denpasar, Indonesia on the island of Bali.

The Chillhouse, an incredible yoga, surf and bike resort in Canggu, served as home base for the 7-day endeavor. After a day of hanging out by the pool, dialing in the Fuji Auric, and getting real sketchy riding scooters around, we were set for an early morning the next day. I went to bed that night knowing that after all these years, I was finally going to turn my Perfect Day into a reality.

We woke up bright and early and stoked to get after it. All the mountain bike trails on the island are quite the journey from Canggu where we were staying, so we hopped in the van with our driver Lukemon and guide Alit for a 2-hour trip. The excitement built as we kept climbing higher and higher through increasingly rural areas until we reached what seemed like the highest point on the island.

We prepared to take off, and after setting up our bikes, the Perfect Day was finally in motion! From the start, we ripped down 6000 feet of single track, dirt roads and villages to the north side of the island. The ride offered incredible views, friendly locals, farmland, and even a whole village gathered for a chicken fight! A chicken fight wasn't included in my original "perfect day" plan, but you've got to be flexible with these things.

The shredding ended at the beach where we hopped in the water and surfed the rest of the day away. A seed that was planted long ago in middle school had finally bloomed, and what had seemed like a rather unlikely dream at the time was now here right in front of me. Two of my passions came together on one beautiful island. All it took to make it happen was the motivation to just go for it, even if that meant flying to the other side of the world!

The whole trip was more fun than I could have ever imagined. Bali is incredible and if you have any interest in going there, DO IT!!

Thanks to Fuji Bikes.
Photographer: Ben Matthews
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  • 13 1
 Or you could come to Santa Cruz... just sayin’.
  • 4 1
 More new stairs at Ulu's?!?

I would really like to get some honest feedback on Bali mountain biking and how good it actually is. Indo is a LONG way to go but oh so ****in' worth it for the surf. Is it REALLY worth the hassle of bringing along a bike with the boards to what I imagine to be some mediocre trails?

Everyone of these Bali stories seems to be a Chillhouse promo.
  • 4 0
 The riding is pretty solid. The bike park is full of fun, shorter laps, around 150m vert, but there are at least 7 options down, from very easy to gap jumps, steep rooty sections, north shore features, step ups etc. They've also built the road up further so there'll be more vert now I believe. The second type of riding is to do a guided tour from the top of one of the north shore mountains/volcanos, down to the north shore. This is awesome, was around 1000m of descending, on farm/walking tracks and roads and everything in between. Here's a vid I made with a bit of holiday footage included:
  • 8 1
 I've traveled a lot of places and was happy i brought my bike...Bali is not a place to deal with your own bike, you'll need a scooter to get around, so it's definitely best to rent(when you do get to ride). And the couple/few trails aren't near where you'd probably stay
Pennyrisk describes it well and my two cents... I was there in "16 so new stuff may exist.
Bali Bike Park is a lot of fun but it isn't very big and it closes by 2ish due to rain schedules, so you pack in runs and with the crazy traffic it turns into a whole day trip.
I also did the "Enduro" guided trek, and this was one of my favorite days of the trip...the "trail" was a lot of foot paths and dirt roads from farmers, and some really sketchy spots with super dry conditions and loose rocks. But it was a pretty lengthy journey with amazing views, true Balinese culture, high five-ing little kids, that ended at a very quiet beach. Was about a 4hrs. ride(I believe), but again an all day affair.
I didn't do the volcano run(sadly)
Other than that there isn't anything else to ride, to my knowledge.
Surfing is crowded...the peninsula of crowded. I have lots of thoughts/opinions but I'll save those.
I did stay at Chillhouse(and as you said these all seem like promos), and while they do offer lots of stuff, truth is you can stay somewhere cheaper and nicer room, and still use their services. Canggu is...crowded, so there are a lot of places you can stay full of Russians, Germans, other Euros, Aussies, etc.

In my opinion if you're going to make that kind of travel investment and you want to ride...go to New Zealand! I took my bike and I rode every day...I found trails all over the place, super fun surf(sometimes alone and wishing someone was around), rode through towns to explore, etc. Magic!
Or, trek through N. America
  • 1 0
 I can't even imagine ridding in the bali heat since the early morning is for surfing but the bike park with shuttle helps rent a bike will be the best bet but ain't cheap
  • 4 0
 I live in Singapore but have been to whistler a few times for riding, so i know what good riding is. Bali being so close i feel like i can give a unbiased opinion, you can find way better stuff in Canada, Bali isn't worth it.
  • 2 0
 The Chillhouse is probably the place to go in Bali if you're after mountainbiking as there seem not so many offers for riding after all. The temperatures in the mountaneous area where the Bali Bike Park is located offers a more moderate climate than the coastal areas. Yet I was held back by the standard of medical support, just in case I might crash badly.
  • 1 0
 @GlassGuy: "I have a lot of thoughts/opinions but I'll save those"?
I imagine you're talking about Bali in general. Yeah, Bali is now only a flight hub and board shop for me and spend MINIMAL time there. It's always been busy but last trip was just too much for me. Fortunately the other islands are rad a f***!

Thanks for the info, I'll continue to focus on the surf!
  • 1 0
 @robnow: I was there a month and couldn't wait to get home!
  • 1 0
 rad story & great images! Bali is such a cool place to visit, ride, eat, surf and so much more. if any riders out there are looking for an 8-day guided trip that moves around the island, check this out
  • 1 0
 Sucks that the bike park is closed at the minute and these shuttle tours are ridiculously expensive compared to everything else on the island. I've been living in Bali for over 4 months now and was very excited to ride. Also a lot of the epic trails you see them advertising they can no longer do because of the volcano situation (totally understandable) or they just stopped doing them. Disappointed if I'm honest! Just a heads up in case anyone's planning on coming over soon.
  • 2 0
 As if you need to fly to bali to surf and ride in the same day lol... smh
  • 6 0
 Exactly. I ride bikes and surf pinkbike everyday!
  • 2 0
 jimmy smith root down is a hell of a song!
  • 3 2
 Surfing sucks, don't try it.
  • 2 0
 Oh wow I'm surprise I really enjoy surfing too bad you didn't like it... (I don't get sarcasm sorry)
  • 3 0
 @ybsurf: I'm pretty sure he wants the beaches for himself.
  • 1 0
 Tell us more about the rack on that van
  • 1 0
 its custom fabricated in Bali. Been to the park many time they rack 6 bikes and cost like nothing.
  • 1 0
 And where are the Hello Kitty photos?
  • 1 0
 Nice write up, looks like a killer destination!
  • 1 0
 Hot temperature and riding? Could be harsh
  • 1 0
 Im amazed by the picture ... what camerado you use ?
  • 1 0

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