Climbing Story: Gunung Bunder

Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride. — John F. Kennedy

What is an activity that you can safely do alone, less torturing, equally fun as running, but do not involve running? If you ask me, i’d say Cycling. In this particular writing, with a road bike.

It is a bit expensive to boot with, namely you have to have a road bike, a set of cycling (cleat) shoes, a helmet, and a pair of jersey. Okay maybe there is more, but you can easily find that through Google.

Cycling is, in my point of view, is a bit similar to running –which i used to do–. There are  several ideal cadences to pedal with, pretty similar to pace in running. The ability to do it alone. Cycling doesn’t require you to sit in a confined place. And it doesn’t involve submerging yourself into water, since i can’t swim. The only downside is that your thigh muscle will become a bit bigger than normal people, but you can still use your slim-fit pants. Don’t worry.

Here, in Bogor, there are three places (that i know of) where people usually visit when they want to do a climb with a road bike. Puncak, KM 0 (Bojong Koneng), and Gunung Bunder. In my opinion, KM 0 is like the entry level of climbing with short climbs, Puncak the usual route if you want to do a climb plus culinary and sight seeing, and Gunung Bunder is the route you choose if you prefer a less crowded area with forest on top. What is it like to go through the Gunung Bunder route, you ask? Well.. For starters..

The Climb

Horizontal View and Route of the Climb
Horizontal View of the Climb

It consist of at least 20 km of climbing with 4% average gradient. It sounded like a friendly climb, yes. To get here is actually pretty easy because there are nearby landmark that most of people in Bogor know, Bogor Agricultural University, or Institut Pertanian Bogor (IPB). If you are in town and want to enjoy this climb, you could easily plan your trip via Google Maps. The road is forgiving, most of the time. But there are several places with heavy traffic before you get here, unless you start early.

The View, Tarmac, and Fresh Air. Serenity

The Opening

The first 15 km is forgiving. I mean, you get to enjoy every scene this climb offers you without pushing your heartbeat rate to the limit. 3-4% average gradient is no sweat to pull. You can easily pull this stage with proper gear selection and cadence. You won’t want to rush things, though. You will want to have your every strength and breath available for the next stage. Plus, why you want to speed with these scenery, right?

Nice and Slow

The False Goal

See that? That is your future. LOL.
See that? That is your future. LOL.

After the descent in the 14km (or so), all the peace, love, and everything beautiful about this place is going to vanish. No, there is nothing beautiful about sudden short climb with 7% gradient or cursing when you find slight -5% gradient just to face another steep climb. Well, this is why i suggest you to enjoy the scenery. Because you’re gonna pay for everything you’ve seen. There is also this hairpin with modest gradient waiting for you.  This segment finish just about in front of the Gunung Halimun Salak National Park, a serene Pine forest await. Don’t give up just yet. And no, that gate is not even close to the peak.

Final Torture

Just a little bit more
Just a little bit more

Last two kilometers of this climb will involve swearing, climb, pot holes, more swearing, slippy tires, and more swearing. The pines inside the national park is amazing, not to mention the number of waterfalls that you can visit while you’re here. But first, you have to finish this climb, or you’ll be curious for the rest of your life. A short 10% gradient (maybe more, seriously) is the usual climb you’ll get here. With wet road (by natural springs, from somewhere in the forest, most of it), pot holes, and bad road, will get your tires easily slipped. I accidentally pull my rear tire upward in some part of the road because of wrong weight distribution.

Curses inside the pine forest
Curses inside the pine forest

Anti-Climax

After you finish all that climb, bad roads, and your thighs are getting weak, you can pick one of two alternatives: (1) you can continue further and enjoy the descend, since you’ve passed the peak, or (2) enjoy one from many waterfalls this national park offers. Before entering the waterfall area, you might need to pay some money, about Rp7.000 if i remember correctly. I choose the latter.

Tips

Pacing, don’t get over yourself just because the early stage are forgiving. What awaits you is not even close to friendly. Bring plenty of water, there are minimarkets available along the road. Make sure you brought enough for yourself. Spare yourself from dehydration. If you visit this route on the rainy season (last 4 months or so of the year), be alerted. The road is slippery.

Have fun and happy climbing!
PS: You can visit my Strava here

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