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Photo by Bettina Hoebenreich, At the foot of the Bear Glaciers, eternal ice, British Columbia, Canada

Adventure is what you make it

Photo by Bettina Hoebenreich, at the foot of the Bear Glaciers, British Columbia, Canada.



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  #31  
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More beautiful photos! It looks lovely there, I have to admit with twisty roads I'd want to be a bit naughty in the corners if it were me For what it's worth a lot of Chinese restaurants in Europe give crackers with every meal too ... it's always a good idea in my opinion

How many kilometres were you doing on a normal day? Did you find it physically tiring? (I've only ever ridden one modern shaped scooter, it felt very vulnerable compared to a motorbike and while the seat was comfy I found I couldn't move around as easily when my backside started going to sleep)
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  #32  
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Parapat

My boat was the one on the right hand side of the picture.
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  #33  
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29th January

Parapat - Sidamanik

A short 3 hour ride. Sidamanik is around 800m above sea level.

Tea plantations and Google maps took me on a circuit loop offroad around the tea plantation.
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  #34  
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30th January 2024

Sidamanik - Padang Sidempuan

A long 7 hour ride. Padang Sidempuan is around 320m elevation and I am now taking the long way back to Medan over the next few days.

As I left Sidamanik in the early morning, I never realized how chilly Northern Sumatra can be at the higher elevations. I had to close the chest and arm vents on my Clover jacket.

Last edited by 9w6vx; 2 Weeks Ago at 14:17.
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  #35  
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I was doing from 120 to 250kms per day. The reason I did not put the distances per day but duration of ride was that the road conditions differs..... Some days my average speed was faster but some days was much slower.

Yes it was physically tiring and I had to stop between 1.5 to 2 hours to pee, drink some water & coffee, have a smoke and stretch as my ass was hurting! LOL!
Another factor is that I found myself concentrating and constantly scanning the road and rear view mirrors for cars as they are very aggressive in overtaking bikes. Mentally tiring!

Could not really relax unlike in other countries in SEA where the roads can be deserted for a stretch and less traffic and less aggressive drivers.
I kept my stops for the most part to less than 10 minutes unless I stopped at a roadside coffee stall for hot coffee. Most of my coffee was the bottled type from the ubiquitous Indomaret convenience store (similar to 7-Eleven).



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Originally Posted by Turbofurball View Post
More beautiful photos! It looks lovely there, I have to admit with twisty roads I'd want to be a bit naughty in the corners if it were me For what it's worth a lot of Chinese restaurants in Europe give crackers with every meal too ... it's always a good idea in my opinion

How many kilometres were you doing on a normal day? Did you find it physically tiring? (I've only ever ridden one modern shaped scooter, it felt very vulnerable compared to a motorbike and while the seat was comfy I found I couldn't move around as easily when my backside started going to sleep)
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  #36  
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Interesting topic that you brought up: scooter vs motorcycle

I love the scooter for it's low weight, automatic gear, ample under seat storage, your boots won't get dirty/wet when it rains.

I dislike the scooter for it's lack of engine braking since you can't select gears when going downhills. One has to be cautious of overheating the front & rear brakes.
Short suspension travel makes you feel the potholes. Not a comfy ride as compared to long travel suspension ADV or dual sport motorcycle.

Is there a bike that can do all?
The only one that I can think of is the Honda X-ADV 750 which has a 6 speed DCT transmission, 6 inches of suspension travel front & rear, won't get your boots dirty/wet when it rains, under seat storage.
However it won't be light as it's a 750cc 2-cylinder and curb weight is 236kg.
It's also expensive.

It would be great if Honda had a X-ADV in 350cc with DCT transmission which would bring the curb weight down and also the price.

That would be a dream bike for me!

Last edited by 9w6vx; 2 Weeks Ago at 13:56.
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  #37  
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There's some people who delight in doing 700km in a day with as few breaks as possible, but you were going at about my usual pace

In your photos it all looks tranquil, but the roads were more busy?

As for a Honda X-ADV 350 ... well, there's this
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  #38  
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I am not a fast rider and I prefer to ride slow. ha...ha....

I don't have a GoPro or Insta 360 mounted on the helmet but yes, the road is busy & narrow and there are lots of big heavy overloaded trucks going slow and cars/SUV's competing for space to overtake.
The cars overtake on blind corners too and opposite lane vehicles including trucks will also overtake on straight roads even though they see you coming!
It forces you to go to the extreme left to avoid them with inches to spare!
Size matters and bikes are at the bottom of the food chain!

In Thailand I rented a Forza 350 for 3 weeks and it was very nice. Powerful single cylinder 330cc. But it still uses the CVT transmission though so that means no engine braking going downhill.
The X-ADV 350 also does not have the DCT found on the Africa Twin and X-ADV 750.
Well, we can dream ...............

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Originally Posted by Turbofurball View Post
There's some people who delight in doing 700km in a day with as few breaks as possible, but you were going at about my usual pace

In your photos it all looks tranquil, but the roads were more busy?

As for a Honda X-ADV 350 ... well, there's this
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  #39  
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31st January 2024

Padang Sidempuan - Rantauprapat

A 4 hour plus ride and I stayed here for 2 nights to relax.

My initial plan was to ride from Padang Sidempuan to Bukittinggi, West Sumatra but that required 13 hours of riding so it would have to be done over 2 days with a overnight stay along the way.
Then I would have to ride all the way back to Medan which would take another 17hours.
I did not have much time left on my Sumatra tour so West Sumatra will be on another tour in the future hopefully.

Starting from Padang Sidempuan, it started to rain 10 minutes in my ride and I stopped to put on my rain jacket and pants.
One thing I liked about my rain pants was that it had zips on both legs that allowed me to quickly put om the rain pants. My previous rain pants only had a zipper on one leg and it was frustrating to put on the rain pants beside the road when it is starting to rain.
It rained for about 2 hours during the ride. Google maps also took me on a little adventure on a unpaved road and I had to backtrack after realizing that the road was bad and i was getting lost.
I stopped to remove my rain gear as it had stopped raining after the little adventure.

Then it started to drizzle and again I had to stop to put on my rain gear. Today's route was bad with broken asphalt and potholes and this was the time I wished I was on a long travel suspension ADV bike to soak all the potholes and rocks.
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  #40  
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1st February 2024

Rantauprapat (40m above sea level)

Scored a deal for the cheapest hotel I stayed in Sumatra.

Went to the mall and walked around.
Interestingly Indonesia will be having their presidential and local elections on 14th February and you see large billboards all over the towns and cities.
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  #41  
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2nd February 2024

Rantauprapat - Tebing Tinggi (elevation 14m)

Another 5 hour ride bringing me closer to Medan and almost at the end of my tour.

Weather was fine during this ride.
As I am now no more at elevation of around 1,000m it's hot and humid.

The hotel is nice and roomy. Nice to chill and relax in the room.
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  #42  
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3rd February 2024

Today is the last leg of my tour.

Tebing Tinggi - Medan

Today's ride is slightly over 2 hours and I chose to stay at Tebing Tinggi as it's closer to Medan so that my final day of riding is short.

The weather was fine and the plan was to ride back to the bike rental and then go to the hotel I booked at Kualanamu which is about 15 minutes away only from the KNO airport.
I chose to stay closer to the airport as my flight leaving Medan was early in the morning and the airport is about 1.5 hours away from downtown Medan.

Along the way I saw a signboard saying Kualanamu which meant I was going to be close to my hotel on the way to Medan. I re-routed Google maps and went straight to the hotel to dump my luggage first and only then return the bike.

All in a total of 22 days riding with a distance covered of slightly more 3,000 kms for North Sumatra.
Returned the bike and then took a Gojek (similar to Grab/Uber) back to the hotel. Celebrated with a for completing bike tour #7.
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  #43  
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4th February 2024

Kualanamu airport - Penang, Malaysia

Took the complimentary shuttle van to the airport at 0600 hours.
Goodbye Medan and North Sumatra. Great memories and looking forward to my next bike tour.

Flight to Penang is about 50 minutes. Upon arriving at Penang, I took a Grab ride to Georgetown to check in at my hotel.
Went for lunch at my favourite coffee shop and then to Decathlon to return my down jacket which had a tear.

Next morning went to the airport early as I was having lunch with an airline cargo manager.
In my previous life I was based at Penang airport and was the Air Import manager for a MNC logistics company. I worked at Penang for 5 years.

Then final flight from Penang to Kota Kinabalu.

END
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  #44  
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So you've been back home for a few days now ... are you craving any of the foods you ate on your trip that aren't usually found at home? Or maybe just the extra crackers?

Thank you for posting up your whole trip, it's nice to read more than "I went here, then I went there" with only two photos and North Sumatra isn't a place I've ever read about before.
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Yes, I've been back home for a few days already.

To be honest, my favourite food is still Vietnamese and Thai food.
Crackers ..... ha....ha...... a unique thing about Sumatran food!

Thanks for reading my ride report and I did not meet any foreigner on a bike tour in North Sumatra. It's definitely not as popular as Thailand or Vietnam.

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