BANDUNG, INDONESIA - It was before midday on Saturday when Aryo Bimo and his friends from the Dog Dog Cycling Club Bandung reached Warung Punclut in the Ciumbuleuit area.
Aside from enjoying the refreshing air of Bandung's highlands, they also savoured a traditional treat from a humble warung stall after cycling all the way up from Dago.
The group was halfway to Lembang, on their regular weekend cycling expedition.
"Cycling in Bandung is both fun and adventurous," said Mr Bimo, who took up the sport around two years ago.
He said this was because Bandung has many cycling tracks that are unique, challenging and enjoyable.
"So you get everything from smooth streets to steep hiking roads. You will also get to see a beautiful view along the way," he explained.
Mr Bimo shared some famous cycling routes in Bandung: heading to Lembang via Dago Bengkok, or via the main road, Jalan Raya Lembang, or via Cijengkol, and finishing at Warung Nining Lembang or Cikole, or on the Maribaya track to Warung Bandrek at Dago Pakar, or on the track to Warung Nining Dago Bengkok and the Dago Bengkok tracks.
"The toughest ones I think are the Lembang track via Dago Bengkok 0 and via Punclut because they are very long and steep routes, really exhausting and challenging," he said, adding that such challenges are also what keeps him and his cycling buddies going.
According to Mr Bimo, the cycling routes in Bandung are suitable for everybody, from beginners to serious road, cross-country and downhill athletes, who will find the tracks enjoyable and packing enough challenges to keep them interested.
"You can start anywhere, basically, but our club usually meets up around Dago or Dayang Sumbi at 6.30am," he said.
He added that bike-sharing booths are located along Jalan Dago. Visitors can rent bikes for 100,000 rupiah (S$10.60) to 150,000 rupiah per day.
The rides will usually pass through or end in the mountainous area. Cyclists often take a break or finish at one of the warung establishments that offer an array of traditional treats, such as bandrek (traditional warm ginger drink), kue balok (block cake) and freshly brewed tea.
According to Mr Bimo, these treats are something to look forward to during a cycling trip.
"When you cycle in Bandung, make sure to savour the treats, such as the kue balok at Warung Nining, rosella juice at Warung Herbal, steamed tofu at Warung Tahu Tauhid Lembang, or warm lemon tea from Warung Bandrek," he recommended.