cycling indonesia

I was on a cycling trip through Indonesia.

I am often being asked if I ever had any serious accidents when tour cycling around the globe. The answer is no. But I have had a few minor accidents. This is the story about one of them.


The accident happened on a bike trip I took through Indonesia, a few years ago.

One evening, as I was entering the big city of Surabaya, I was hit from behind by  motorbike. It was raining quite heavily and the road was slippery. Not a problem for me, being a very careful and slow driver.

rain Surabaya

It was a rainy evening in Surabaya.

But a local Indonesian guy in a business suit was riding way too fast on his 500CC motorbike, when a big truck suddenly drove out in front of us.

Both me and the motorcyclist pulled our brakes.

That worked well for me, who was cycling at around 15 kilometres per hour. But the guy on the motorbike behind me, who was traveling much faster, crashed.

I just heard a loud noise from behind. And when I turned my head, it was just in time to see a 500cc motorbike ramming me down from behind.

The motorbike sent my mountain bike sliding down the road as well, so that it ended up in the middle of the freeway.

I stayed in the same spot though, as the motorbike only hit my bicycle and not me.

I was literally hanging in the air for a split second, as my mountain bike disappeared under me. Then I hit the asphalt with my bum and my right elbow.

It gave me a slight scratch on my elbow. The natural padding I have on my butt saved me from any broken bones in that area.

Had I been using clip pedals, then I would probably have been pulled down the road, together with my crashing bike.

It all went very fast, but I heard people screaming as they saw me being hit. So it probably looked dramatic to the bystanders.

I spent a couple of seconds moving my arms and legs, to make sure that nothing was broken. Then I jumped up and shouted to the bystanders that I was ok.

I was so focused on calming them down that I actually jumped on my bike and started cycling around, to show them that was ok.

The guy on the motorbike was badly hurt though and bleeding quite a lot. I went over and wished him all the best, but then started cycling away from the scene, before they wanted me to go into an ambulance too.

That was something I wanted to avoid, as that would mean leaving my bike on the side of the road.

I cycled a couple of kilometers down the road, until I saw a fairly upscale hotel. Normally I would stay at a cheaper place. But I thought that it was probably time to make completely sure that I had no serious injuries.

I was totally unhurt though, apart from a small scratch on my elbow. Some of the spokes on the back wheel of my mountain bike were broken though. Later I found that the entire wheel had been damaged.

I still managed to cycle more than 1000 kilometres Indonesia with the broken wheel. It took several repairs though.

bike repair

I had to repair my bike several times after the accident.

When I flew back to Europe by the end of the trip, I decided to give the bike away to a friendly bicycle mechanic on the island of Lombok. He had repaired the bike for me and also helped me extending my Indonesian visa, without wanting any money for it. So he was the right guy to have the broken bike. Being a bicycle mechanic, he was also a person who would for sure be able to make use of a bike with a broken back wheel, as it was a fairly decent quality bike.

bike mechanic lombok

The friendly bike mechanic in Lombok, whom I gave my bike, by the end of the trip.

Have I had accidents elsewhere around the world?

I have been tour cycling internationally since I was 17 years old. And I am 52 years old now. Still never had an accident that required hospitalisation. I have come off the bike a few times, but I have never been hurt seriously. I sprained my wrists in Slovenia once, when I accidentally hit some gravel, when going down  mountain road. But I was back on the bike the same day, after being bandaged up in a roadside cafe.

A pothole in Lebanon also sent me partially off my bike. Worst thing about that was that it destroyed one of my panniers. But I suffered no physical harm from that incident.

I am also a very careful cyclist, I might add. I have absolutely no need to cycle fast and do actually not enjoy cycling at high speed.

If I wanted to go fast, then I would probably have been interested in motorised transport. I rarely cycle faster than 20 kilometers an hour. But if you do that for a few hours a day, then you travel around 100 kilometers down the road. Do that for a few weeks or a few months. And you have suddenly cycled through a few countries.

And if you are riding carefully, then it’s not really that dangerous at all, says the guy who has cycled across countries like Syria, Brazil, Albania, Mexico, Cambodia and the Philippines.

Just to mention a few of the places where I have gone tour cycling over the years.

The bike trip through Indonesia was actually a really good trip, which i finished off by climbing the Rinjani volcano. If you want to read about my Rinjani climb, then you can do so on this link


1 Comment

  1. Wow, you were lucky not to be hurt in this crash! It’s a good job the guy only hit your bike, not you. Great idea to give the damaged bike to the mechanic, I’m sure he will have made good use of it.

  2. Pingback: Cycling in Indonesia – Travelling Claus

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