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To Bike or Not to Bike? By Kelly Waterhouse

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didn’t like giving up precious space on our 35-foot Dufour to our Dahon folding bikes. The only place they would fit was in the quarter berth and getting them out wasn’t easy. Pulling out world charts, life jackets, lines, spare parts and the ditch bag was the first step in excavating the bikes. Hauling them up into the cockpit and then down into a rolling dinghy was another challenge. Next was dragging the extra heavy dinghy on shore to unload and unfold the bikes. This may seem like too much of a hassle, but during our four-year world voyage, logging over 35,000 nautical miles, we found the bikes to be essential to our travels. It gave us freedom to travel away from the harbor and to get into the guts of a culture. Sure, you can hop on a bus or grab a taxi in most places, but the bike allowed us to go where we wanted and when we wanted. We were able to explore side streets and meet people at our own pace. Our bikes drew people to us and became a conversation piece for the locals. The miniature stature of our Dahons made people smile, no matter the culture we were in. In the 30 countries we visited, we had many short excursions. But our longest trip and most memorable ride was on Rote Island in Indonesia. Anchored next to the small fishing village of Nembrala to catch some waves, we wanted a break from surfing and to explore the larger town of Baa. It was 24 miles away with undulating hills, peaking at 500 feet in ele-

vation, and a rural interior. We weren’t sure what to expect for restaurants  in between the two locations, so we packed a set of clothes, food and water. Once we got to the big city of Baa, our plan was to stay in a hotel, then take a bus back the next day. On the beach, after unloading the bikes, Kelly was instantly surrounded by the locals watching him unfold

them. After closer inspection, one of the men took Kelly’s offer to ride it. We all laughed as the man awkwardly peddled around our group. On our way to Baa, we came across an outdoor market. Stopping to check it out, teenage boys crowded around us to get a closer look. They marveled over the small bikes and again, a few rode around the market. Riding on we came across three old women with tiny physiques carrying heavy sacks of produce and clothes to the market. They stopped as we greeted them, and I took their photo. As we rode onto our destination, in many of the small villages people would shout “Hello Misters!”

to both my husband and I as we peddled by. When we arrived in Baa we were a little disappointed. There wasn’t much to the seaside town. There was an old ferry delivering passengers and carrying supplies from the larger island of Kupang. There was a hardware store and a few small shops. We ate lunch in someone’s living room. This was a home where the living room was converted into a restaurant. We found a hotel and it was booked. A man staying there told us it was the only hotel in town. He must have felt sorry for us, for after he spoke to the owner, within 20 minutes, a clean room was available. We think one of the owner’s children had given up their room for the night. While waiting in the hotel lobby for our room, another man handed me a traditional straw hat and woven scarf. Handing them back, I thanked him for letting me look at his handicrafts. Robert, the man who helped us earlier, translated for the man, saying these were gifts for us. He finished his demonstration of traditional Indonesian goods at the meeting he attended and wanted us to have them. This gift was unexpected and very touching. Tired, dirty and sweaty from our long ride, Robert again must have taken pity on us and invited us to dinner. That night we were driven to a “real” restaurant on the outskirts of town. Minutes after arriving, dinner See TO BIKE continued on page 84

GOT A SAILING STORY? If you have a story about an incident that happened that was a real learning experience, or a funny story, or a weird or unusual story that you’d like to tell, send it to editor@southwindsmagazine.com. Keep them short—around 800-1000 words or less, maybe a little more. Photos nice, but not required. We pay for them. 86 February 2015

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Southwinds February 2015  

Sailing Magazine serving Florida and the Southeast United States

Southwinds February 2015  

Sailing Magazine serving Florida and the Southeast United States