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Bali Tour 2019 – Perth Adventure Riders

This entry is part 10 of 21 in the series Adventure Rider Issue #38

According to Colin Bayman, the Perth Adventure Riders had a great time acting their age on a recent ride through the Aussie holiday Mecca of Bali.

Perth Adventure Riders

Perth Adventure Riders

The volcano lava field at Kintamani.

Most Bali dirt rides involve extreme, hard-core enduro, riding 450s on the rev limiter through local villages, wheelying past farmers quietly working on their crops or on a single trail high in the mountains where only someone with Toby Price’s talent could launch an enduro rocket into second gear.

The Perth Adventure Riders (PAR) approached Motor Adventure Bali, located in Seminyak, and described the experience the group wanted. The predominantly mature-age riders wanted an adventure ride with a few challenges, quality accommodation and some decent bikes. Coffee-and-cake stops were mandatory.

The word went out and 16 riders expressed an interest. With the chaotic roads and crazy drivers on the island the tour company advised splitting the group in half and doing two separate tours a week apart.

A cheap Air Asia flight was booked for around $230, including enough luggage to transport a full riding outfit.

That’s right. Take all your own stuff and wear what you would wear at home. Falling off in Indonesia hurts the same as falling off in Australia.

Perth Adventure Riders

Perth Adventure Riders

After dozens of trips to Bali and plenty of sightseeing the author found a new appreciation for the beauty of the island.

Eyes wide open

After a bloody long wait in immigration at Denpasar airport we finally made it out of the terminal where my trusty Bemo driver of 20 years took three of us to our hotel. Others on the tour came on different flights. On arrival we found the bikes neatly lined up, prepped and ready to roll, for the next morning.

With eight on our tour we had six late-model CRF 250 Rallys and two KLXs, all in good nick and well-presented. The Taman Ayu Hotel in Seminyak, while not high on the star rating, was perfect for a bunch of guys riding bikes. There were ample rooms, a pool and a good restaurant. The road outside had several other eateries to choose from, along with pubs, coffee shops and all the standard Bali stores. All in all, it was a very good location.

After a swim and a few Bintangs it was into the restaurant for dinner and an early night in preparation for the four days of riding.

It really doesn’t matter how many rides or tours I’ve done, I still get excited the night before and have trouble getting to sleep.

The older Kwakas were better than the flash CRFs.


My mate Pete and myself decided to take the KLXs on the first day and give them a whirl. We’d ridden the CRFs the previous year and knew how they performed, so after a run on the KLXs we could decide if the bikes were to rotate through the group.

By the end of the day we realised the older Kwakas were better than the flash CRFs. The closer gaps between gears made it easier to ride up the very steep switchbacks and there were some brake-fluid boiling issues on the Hondas on a couple of the long, steep downhills. My only complaint on the KLX was a sore bum, but that’s what you get when you ride a trail bike with a standard seat for 660km over four days. Next time I’ll bring an AirHawk or lambswool cover.

At the close of the first day we were high in the mountains.

Accommodation was in a different location each night, and we all had a small, soft bag strapped to the back of the bikes to carry our shorts, T-shirts and toothbrushes. Wearing the same riding outfit for four days did get a bit on the nose, but hanging them on the balcony each night helped.

High in the mountains.


Dinner was down the road at a smaller restaurant and from memory cost around $15 for an entrée, main course and a couple of beers. Breakfast was included in the tour so we were up early, fed, booted-up and ready for day two in plenty of time.

PAR has a cornerman system which allows riders to be spread out over a few kilometres and still not get lost. Our tour leader may have shown us the way, but we had our own lead and sweep rider and took care of the pack ourselves.

The four days riding saw us criss-crossing the island from east to west, from the mountains to the beaches. After dozens of trips to Bali and plenty of sightseeing I hadn’t seen most of the trails we rode and found a new appreciation for the beauty of the island.

Once you’re away from the tourist spots…oh, the serenity!

We rode through the volcano lava field at Kintamani, alongside the beaches, stopped at some unbelievable lookouts and even visited the Besakih Temple to see why 5000 tourists visit it every day. We swam in some thermal pools and ate satay from street vendors.

The tour leader may have shown the way, but PAR lead and sweep riders took care of the pack.


The final day brought us back to our original hotel where we’d left our suitcases for safe keeping. It was a hot day so a few more Bintangs were required to flush the system and a swim in the pool helped lower core temperatures.

There was a flash restaurant across the road and after some overindulgence we paid the bill for the most expensive dinner we had on tour. An absolutely fantastic three-course meal with drinks delicately served by professional wait staff in amazing surroundings was just over 500,000 rupees each (AUD$50.00).

The Balinese really do know how to do it well.

Once you’re away from the tourist spots…oh, the serenity!

Cost effective

The following morning we transferred for a night at the old Casa Padma and hooked up at Naughty Nurries for pig and beer with riders from the next week’s tour. We spent the day doing the obligatory full walk of Kuta, buying a few cheap trinkets and a nice lunch at my old favourite, Mama’s German Restaurant in the main drag of Jalan Legian. I walked past guys I had never seen to be told, “I know you from before,” and Bemo drivers asked if we would like some Viagra.

I declined on the Viagra as well as the offers of hash, but did pick up a pair of cool sunnies for $3.00 which lasted until I reached the airport. Then the lens fell out and broke.

A few Bintangs and a swim to lower core temperatures.
Criss-crossing the island from from the mountains to the beaches.
The obligatory full walk of Kuta.

Still the same

Bali doesn’t change much really. I have a long history visiting the island and although someone has always found a new way for you to part with your money the people are much the same.

Any bad behaviour from a local is usually bought on by some bad behaviour from a tourist.

AUD$800.00 will get five nights’ accommodation with breakfast, four days on tour riding most of each day, and a tour guide.

We each kicked in $20.00 and that covered the fuel for the entire trip.

We also paid for our lunches, dinner and road snacks. Add a cheap Air Asian flight – mine was crazy $230.00 – and I only withdrew a couple of million rupee ($200) for the week’s spending. My total was far less than $1500, and that included transport and a night at the Casa Padma.

Where’s your next adventure?

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