Bali is a very special place to do the Distinguished Gentlemen’s Ride and there are a couple of reasons why. As you would expect, the most common form of transport here is two wheels in one, way, shape or form. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, there would have to be more custom bikes per capita here than anywhere else in the world. Wasn't long after the Temple opened it's doors that the people here took to bike modification. Like the proverbial, fish to water. It gave them a new form of self-expression that they hadn’t had before. Nothing was too over the top, nor no bike safe, as they chopped and changed what they had. The ability to individualise their rides isn’t restricted to the more common bikes. They will modify anything with two wheels.
Sunday last saw a whole mess of these ladies and lads put on their dapper duds, despite the tropical weather that was in full force, and pull up at a beach side bar to register and ride in a massive pack. Sure, there was some bikes there on Sunday that wouldn’t have passed the normal DGR scrutineering in other parts of the world but hey… It’s Bali, with its inclusive laid-back approach to everything, well it was all cool and smiles from the get go.
Same went for the dress code. Let’s not lose sight of the fact that shorts and a tee shirt are de rigueur here so anything up from there… It might not seem to the outside it was dapper but it did say resoundingly that they had made an effort.
The carpark was spilling out into the street by the time it came to head for the hills. And by hills, I mean the Jatiluwih rice terraces. A valley set high on the side of Bali’s second highest mountain, Gunung Batukaru. The UNESCO listed area is a hell of a picturesque place with a foot in yesteryear and the other in a bludgeoning tourist industry where people are bussed in to gaze on the photogenic tiered rice fields cascading down her gentle fertile slopes.
The ride out through Bali’s normal hectic traffic was a hell of a lot of fun with all of our new best friends. As we left town the traffic lessened and we were able to open up the throttles and as a long drawn out mobile mass we slung shot around slower traffic like an armed force on the assault. An hour and a half later and we were perched in a restaurant with either a water or a beer in one hand, gazing out over one of the most beautiful vistas Bali has to offer. The air is cooler in the mountains and over dressed as most of us were, welcomed. Our time up there flew as everyone took a drink and sat down to a buffet of chatting, laughing and being a part of an all encompassing bunch of blokes & babes. The spirits of this mystical island came forth and men spoke openly and freely with each other. Perhaps not about the days topics but there was a crossing of cultures and ideas.
We moved slowly back to the bikes, reluctant to leave, en-masse we located our rides and saddled up There was some jostling as we all maneuverer back into our previous pack formation and then we were gone. The ride down to the coast got hotter the lower we got. The traffic denser and denser until we were wrapped around the myriad of Sunday drivers. Just as it became unbearable we arrived at our destination, the Deus Temple. The front carpark was bursting at the seams with custom bikes. The Temple backyard filled with people and their chatter as the sausages sizzled and they turned to each other and mingled.
Words By Ano
Photos by Harry Mark & Ano